Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Dilley, Patrick


Training resources and guidelines about best practices for healthcare facilities and medical providers are readily available. Conversely, there are not a substantial number of physicians easily identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ)-friendly. For LGBTQ patients, this is particularly the case in higher education and student health services. Medicine, as a culture, has historically focused on curing sexual orientation, rather than treating LGBTQ patients, becoming one cause of many non-heterosexual patients’ experiences of compromised health outcomes, dissatisfaction, discrimination, high rates of stress, and a decrease in healthcare seeking behaviors. Another cause can be because of physicians lacking cultural competencies. LGBTQ-friendly doctors do exist, and non-heterosexual patients specifically seek them out, but scant scholarship about the progression of becoming an LGBTQ-friendly doctor is available. The researcher uses grounded theory to examine the lived experiences of five college health physicians and finds these emerging themes: Interpersonal experiences, medical education, and specialized skills. Implications of the study for practice and research include: more comprehensive medical school curriculum and clinical exposure to LGBTQ patients is needed; identifying LGBTQ-friendly physicians for patients, trainees, colleagues, and administrators is necessary.

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