Jessica Herling, MS
Research Program Manager
PhD, 2021 Candidate | Virginia Tech | Sociology
MS | Virginia Tech | Sociology
BA | West Chester University | Sociology; Women's and Gender Studies
Jessica Herling (she/her) serves as a Research Program Manager with the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) initiative at the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. She is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Virginia Tech. Jessica earned her MS in Sociology from Virginia Tech in 2016 and her BA in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies from West Chester University in 2014. Her research interests include medical sociology, medical education, LGBTQ health, and feminist science studies.
- 'Oh you should talk to...': The Implementation of LGBTQ Health Curricula in Medical Education | Purpose: This chapter examines the implementation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) health curricula in medical education, focusing on how this content is presented to students to understand if these curricula can fulfill goals of achieving healthcare equity for LGBTQ populations. Methodology: This research draws on data from six months of participant observation of an academic medical center and school and 28 interviews with medical faculty, students, community members, administrators, and LGBTQ Health Center employees. Findings: This research has three findings: (1) this medical school has variable definitions for LGBTQ health, making it a hybrid form of knowledge based in (a) understanding the unique health needs of; (b) being culturally competent to; and (c) being a (structural) advocate for LGBTQ patients; (2) LGBTQ health is integrated into multiple courses in the curriculum; and (3) LGBTQ health is becoming a medical specialty frequently delivered to students by LGBTQ health experts. Research limitations and implications: This research used snowball sampling to recruit participants engaged in LGBTQ health at the institution; it therefore risks self-selection bias. Findings from this study are not generalizable. Originality: This research argues that LGBTQ health experts engage in a new kind of diversity and inclusion work because (1) these health experts are not always LGBTQ identified; (2) this work is not necessarily unpaid or involuntary; and (3) it involves a hybrid knowledge requiring an understanding of LGBTQ identity, medical knowledge, and social science. Because these LGBTQ health experts opt into this work, and broadly define it, a message available to other physicians and students is that LGBTQ health remains elective.