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When Collin Tran, Class of ‘25, took over as president in his fourth semester, he and his fellow executive board members set out to transform the conversation around LGBTQ+ representation in healthcare education and clinical practice.

For a student organization that re-established themselves on campus less than one year ago, they have already made significant strides toward providing club members and the Ross Med community a more inclusive experience in the classroom and through extracurricular opportunities. One of Tran’s biggest goals for his tenure began with continued LGBTQ+ representation in the medical sciences curriculum.

“We had faculty members approach us with digging deep into the curriculum and suggesting ways to improve LGBTQ+ representation,” he shared. “Professors have been very willing to ask for our input to eliminate negative stigmas about LGBTQ+ individuals in exam questions and presentations.”

A Lifelong Advocate

Leading by example is something Tran has championed since well before his tenure as president of the LGBTQ+ Doctors Association. When he was an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University, he volunteered with student government as a student senator and spearheaded legislation in support of gay and transgender communities on their campus. “I always had a passion for trying to push for visibility, inclusion, and diversity within the school,” he said.

In his third semester at Ross Med, Tran and his friends noticed the former LGBTQ+ Alliance was inactive and wanted to bring back the student club as it’s known today to restore that sense of community. “We felt like we had to insert our own voices and develop a platform where we could be heard,” said Tran.

Tran served as the social media chair for one semester before the inaugural president, Dannie Sieben, Class of ‘25, transitioned leadership of the club to Tran. As he saw it, it was a natural fit to continue his personal passions advocating for representation and inclusion for everyone while he is at Ross Med.

“The platform I have as president allows me to have a higher and louder voice for LGBTQ+ individuals who, no matter where they are in their journey, can still be struggling to find acceptance,” said Tran. “We want the club to be there creating an inclusive environment and make sure that everybody feels comfortable reaching out to us to have those conversations.”

Putting Inclusion into Practice

Recently, the club collaborated with Ross Pediatric Interest Group to invite pediatricians to campus to present on LGBTQ+ children and how medical care can be catered to their needs at a young age. This summer, the club will be bringing in another speaker to present on transgender health.

Within the club’s leadership structure, a new clinical skills chair position has been created to provide advice for LGBTQ+ students as they prepare for clinical rotations and adjust to life in a new city and area that might have different views on LGBTQ+ individuals than what students are used to.

Off campus in Barbados, the club partners with Equals Barbados, an organization striving to educate and empower the LGBTQ+ community to foster unity by providing a safe, discrimination-free environment. The club hosts fundraisers year-round to help Equals Barbados provide access to services in areas such as sexual health, general health, mental health, and work to improve the quality of everyday life for the LGBTQ+ community.

Leaving a Legacy

The Summer 2023 semester will be Tran’s last as president of the LGBTQ+ Doctors Association. As he prepares to transition leadership to the next group of student advocates, Tran hopes they will carry the same ambitions he and his friends did in restoring the influence LGBTQ+ students and organization have as members of a larger community.

“I want to see the club continue to push for progress and acceptance,” he shared. “Change is a progressive and sometimes slow-moving process, but little changes here and there start to add up in the end and I hope the new group of leaders pushes for what they truly believe needs to be changed.”

To find out more about how you can get engaged with student groups and organizations like the LGBTQ+ Doctors Association throughout your journey at RUSM, visit our Student Life page.

In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2022-2023, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 98% first-time residency attainment rate* thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.