Advancing sexual health and healthcare for sexual minorities in Lebanon – LebMASH Crowdfunds with Zoomaal
The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH), a local non-governmental non-profit organization that works on advancing sexual health and the healthcare of sexual minorities in Lebanon, has announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for its Break the Silence (BTS) competition.
BTS calls on student to submit an academic paper about sexual health or health of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals. The winner will be sponsored to a trip to attend an international medical conference with full coverage of transportation, accommodation, and conference registration fee. LebMASH board will work with all participants who would like to have their paper published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
For the last three years and since its inception, BTS has been a self-funded initiative to promote sexuality research and education among medical students. The reality of sexual education in Lebanon is gloomy. Comprehensive education about sexual health is lacking in the curricula of medical schools or residency programs. There is little to no education about health disparities and needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) community. Culture and religion still overrule the healthcare of women in many aspects. This means there is a lot to be done to break the status quo.
Break The Silence aims to encourage students to design and execute research studies; this will generate data that will help fill a gap in our medical literature by homegrown research. LebMASH’s initiative hopes to break the silence around a topic that has long been a social taboo but with the emerging visibility of the LGBT community in Lebanon has now become pressing to be addressed, especially in the education of our students, our future healthcare providers.
In addition to BTS, LebMASH provides workshops in Lebanon on sexual and LGBT health in order to fill a gap that even medical schools have difficulty filling. The taboos that surround sexual health in Lebanon constitute a barrier that if left uncared for will abort any attempt of advancement in healthcare.
Education and research about sexual health and health of sexual minorities is poorly funded in Lebanon. Funding organizations usually have many restrictions. That is why LebMASH decided to turn to crowdfunding. The impact they hope to achieve through BTS is a viral one. The experience that medical students come back with is a seed that will grown and expand as the future doctors immerse themselves in their work.
Visit the crowdsourcing campaign at: http://zoomaal.com/p/bs