The College of Medicine LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee was established to build a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ faculty, staff, and trainees. Under direction of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the committee hosts social events, creates mentorship and networking opportunities, and more.

Since its launch in 2020, the committee has started an annual Pride Week, helped establish a mentoring program for LGBTQ+ faculty and trainees, and initiated the SAFE Pledge, allowing members of the college to promise to serve as effective, supportive allies for the college’s LGBTQ+ community.

Meet two members of the committee, Patric Lowery, staff co-chair, and Taylor Bradley, new learner representative and former president of UK MedPride, a student organization.

Patric Lowery

Q: Why did you want to be involved in the committee?

A: I wanted to become involved, partially because this committee was brand new and we had nothing like it prior to that. As a staff member that is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I wanted to help shape a space in the College of Medicine for other LGBTQ+ staff members that may or may not have the availability or ability to participate. As a staff member, we may feel not as important as faculty or students since we are not doctors or training to be doctors. I wanted to ensure that the voices of other staff members were heard and that our needs as LGBTQ+ staff were being considered.

Q: What have you and the committee accomplished so far?

A: I think the committee has really accomplished a great base for the future. We’ve started an annual Pride event to engage the College of Medicine community both in an educational/informational sense but also in that social and communal sense. I tend to focus on the events side of things in my role as staff co-chair which is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. The pandemic has not made events very easy but I think we’ve adapted pretty well and will come out on the outside better. The committee has also started a medical student mentorship program that just finished up a great first year. I can only see things getting better for us. We actually just had a social gathering for the mentors and mentees with other committee members at Goodfellas Pizza, and it was a great turnout. I look forward to what the next year holds.

Q: How does this committee help the college’s goal of building a more inclusive environment for all?

A: Having an LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee allows us to see areas of the college that need improving while uplifting the LGBTQ+ people that are here studying and working. These last few years have shown that the U.S. as a nation is sorely lacking in empathy and is ignorant to many people that don’t fit into that dominant culture. Committees like this give us an opportunity to educate the community and our future doctors about LGBTQ+ people in both our health needs and just us as human beings with the hope that peoples’ biases, prejudice, and ignorance will become acceptance, advocacy, and understanding.

Taylor Bradley

Q: Why did you get involved in the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee?

A: I wanted to be an LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee member to further promote acceptance and inclusion within the College of Medicine. I hope to promote acceptance, mentorship, and advocacy for UK College of Medicine LGBTQ+ medical students and faculty.

Q: How have you been involved in the committee?

A: I helped organize the first annual HIV testing competition between UK and the University of Louisville! We welcomed AVOL, Gilead, and BlueGrass Clinic to facilitate HIV testing and promote discussions regarding prophylaxis and PrEP prescriptions. There were also two panel discussions throughout the day: a conversation on PrEP from physician, public health, and patient perspectives and a provider panel. I hope to plan to similar events in the future!

Q: What do you hope the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee accomplishes for medical students at the College of Medicine?

A: I hope to further advocate for LGBTQ+ medical students through the mentorship program. This program connects LGBTQ+ medical students to faculty and allies to enhance support and acceptance within the College of Medicine.