The AMEE Simulation Committee this month provided a brief report on the University of Toronto's Standardized Patient Program (SPP), aimed at including underrepresented gender minorities as standardized patients to ensure appropriate outreach to transgender, nonbinary and genderqueer communities.


Lorena Dobbie Standardized Patient Program MD Program, Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto

The Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto has a strong mandate related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in relation to learners, staff and faculty. In 2016, the faculty introduced a complex transgender case into the Foundations teaching curriculum for first year medical students. At the same time the Standardized Patient Program (SPP), which supports the MD program, began actively expanding our roster of Transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer identified Standardized Patients (SPs) to fulfill the requirements of this and other teaching sessions. As a result, heteronormative discourses and binary practices within programs are necessarily interrogated in order to accommodate different needs related to the evolving educational contexts.

By extending the outreach to Transgender and nonbinary people, our SP program is also adjusting and adapting protocols related to hiring documents, recruitment and Health and Safety definitions for Standardized Patients. To start, we updated our online application form to reflect the varying gender identification categories and educated our staff on pronoun usages in order to avoid misgendering of SPs. In addition to promoting inclusivity in our SP workspaces, we are also revising our Health and Safety protocols to reflect better support and advocacy for our SPs. This work engages varying teaching and assessment contexts by asking several questions:

1) What constitutes safety for genderqueer, nonbinary and Transgender bodies in medical education spaces and SP programs?

2) What practices need adjusting in order to offer safer working environments for underrepresented SPs?

This work is ongoing as we continue to learn through diversity.

Lewis, et al. (2017). The Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice (SOBP) in Advances in Simulation 2:10, 1-8.

Transgender FAQ. Accessed October 31, 2019.

University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine Diversity Statement. Accessed October 31, 2019.

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