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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 13, 2006  

Contact:
Molly O’Gorman, Director of Public Relations
American Medical Student Association
Phone: (703) 620-6600, ext. 207
Email: pr@amsa.org
 

NATION'S MEDICAL STUDENTS APPLAUD CALIFORNIA OSTEOPATHIC MEDICAL SCHOOL'S AFFIRMATION OF GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE

Reston, Va. - In response to recent concerns raised by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) and Vallejo City Council members, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine confirmed on Monday that the school's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) has not been deactivated, affirming the university's adherence to nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

On Friday, Sept. 8, a school official indicated that Touro University's Gay-Straight Alliance's funding had been revoked and the group barred from using the university's name. In response to this decision, Vallejo City Council members Stephanie Gomes and Gary Cloutier contacted the Touro administration to protest the decision. On Monday, Sept. 11, these officials, along with local students and leaders from AMSA and GLMA, gathered at the Vallejo waterfront to express their concern over Touro's decision to abolish its GSA.

"The matter was never discussed and the club has not been deactivated," stated Dr. Harvey Kaye, provost and CEO of Touro University, in a letter addressed to Vallejo City Council members just hours after the rally took place. "I apologize on behalf of the university that this controversy has arisen."

Students at the school formed the Touro University Gay-Straight Alliance (TUGSA) four years ago to provide a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons and their straight allies, and represent diversity on campus and in medicine. TUGSA also strives to promote appropriate health care delivery through awareness and education.

"Revoking Touro's GSA charter would have been a blatant choice on the university administration's part to undermine LGBT persons as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity," says Aaron Centric, the vice president of the Touro Gay-Straight Alliance and president of the medical school's AMSA chapter. "We are pleased by the university's affirmation to support its Gay-Straight Alliance."

The American Medical Student Association has a long-standing history of supporting LGBT rights, and recognizes that LGBT-focused medical student groups play a critical role in supporting LGBT medical student well-being and activism. Furthermore, AMSA embraces its commitment to LGBT equality through continued support of these medical student groups with partners like the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

"We are glad Touro University has reasserted its commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality through its upheld support of the Touro Gay-Straight Alliance," says AMSA President Jay Bhatt. "As the next generation of physicians, AMSA recognizes that groups like Touro's Gay-Straight Alliance are critical to eliminating the health care disparities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations."

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About the American Medical Student Association

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), with more than a half-century history of medical student activism, is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. With more than 67,000 members, including medical and premedical students, residents and practicing physicians, AMSA is committed to improving medical training as well as advancing the profession of medicine. AMSA focuses on four strategic priorities, including advocating for quality, affordable health care for all, global health equity, enriching medicine through diversity and professional integrity, development and student well being. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at www.amsa.org/.


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