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VUSM student elected to board of nation’s largest LGBTI association

Mar. 13, 2014, 9:09 AM

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine student Kristen Eckstrand, Ph.D., was recently elected to the board of GLMA, the largest and oldest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health care professionals in the world. She is the first student to hold an at-large board position since the organization was founded in 1981.

Kristen Eckstrand, Ph.D.

Eckstrand, an M.D./Ph.D. candidate, has been involved in LGBT initiatives on both the national and local levels. At Vanderbilt she is the founder and co-director of the Vanderbilt program for LGBTI Health, an innovative effort to improve the care of LGBTI patients.

She will serve a three-year term, which will further expand her knowledge of how best to train providers to meet the needs of the LGBT community, she said.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me to learn from the nation’s experts. I will also be able to bring that expertise back to Vanderbilt. The emphasis that academic medicine has placed on providing comprehensive and patient-centered care to LGBT patients is phenomenal. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this growth,” she said.

Eckstrand leads LGBTI curriculum reform at the Medical Center and oversees LGBTI quality improvement efforts through Vanderbilt’s LGBTI Leadership Committee and Cultural/Linguistics Council. In addition to her work at Vanderbilt, Eckstrand chairs the Association of American Medical College (AAMC) LGBT Patient Care Advisory Committee.

“Her election to the board is national affirmation of what we already knew at Vanderbilt,” said Andre Churchwell, M.D., senior associate dean for Diversity Affairs at VUSM. “Kristen is a leader and is trailblazing a path in this area of LGBT health.”

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