Ayesha Umrigar and Mirandy Li, Co-presidents
LGBT + Allies Organization for Cultural Understanding in the Health Sciences (LOCUS) is an inter-professional student organization aimed at advancing awareness and advocating for the LGBTQ community at LSUHSC and in New Orleans. We have had a very productive summer, with our members participating in Family Equality Day at Longue Vue House and Gardens, where volunteers conducted glucose and blood pressure screenings, handed out information on dental hygiene, and isolated DNA from strawberries. We also had several LOCUS participants attend a dinner sponsored by NOAGE (New Orleans Advocates for GLBT Elders), which provided a great opportunity for LGBTQ people of all ages to come together and share a delicious meal.
We look forward to continuing our active schedule into this coming school year. One of our goals for this year is to host more Safe Zone trainings for faculty. Safe Zone training was developed to foster culturally competent work and school environments for LGBTQ individuals. These training sessions provide participants with the awareness, knowledge, and skills to advocate for their LGBTQ peers, family members, friends, coworkers, and for themselves. To date, 27 faculty members have undergone Safe Zone training. They can be identified by the Safe Zone sticker attached to their office nameplate, as well as being listed on our website (see link below).
In addition to the Safe Zone courses, we will continue to host seminar speakers to talk about a variety of LGBTQ-related topics, as well as hosting our annual LGBTQ Symposium. The Symposium, which was initiated this past year, was the first of its kind in the history of LSU. Panelists Brandy Panunti, M.D., Jamie Buth, M.D., Chris Otten, J.D., and Sebastian Rey, Director of the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans provided their expertise in the topics of medicine, law, LGBTQ advocacy, and insightful discussions detailed the unique and powerful role that health care providers play in the care of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.
Be sure to check out our website (https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cmhe/locus/), which provides links to resources for LGBTQ students, as well as for the general community. This is also where we post information about any upcoming meetings and events. If you would like to receive emails from LOCUS, there is an option on our website to subscribe to our listserv. To protect the privacy of our members, we use the “blind carbon copy” for email correspondence, which means that you can’t see the other recipients of the email and they can’t see you.
We hope to see you at our upcoming meetings and we look forward to a great year.