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University of Missouri

Mizzou MedPride

John Cummins develops student group Mizzou MedPride to raise awareness of LGBTQ health issues.

John Cummins

Photo by Nicholas Benner.

John Cummins spent five years educating and researching as an HIV counselor in inner city Chicago before becoming an MU medical student in 2010.

“One thing that I think is missing from medical education is a deep understanding and appreciation of difference as something other than, ‘Well, this group of people gets this disease,’ ” Cummins says.

He developed Mizzou MedPride, a student group that raises awareness of health issues facing members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. The organization hosts panels and educational events at MU and throughout Columbia. Cummins says LGBTQ people often endure discrimination when it comes to health and medical care.

“I have been really lucky,” he says. “What opened my eyes was meeting people who haven’t been as lucky as I have been.”

Cummins says many LGBTQ teenagers feel forced to leave home, which makes them susceptible to greater health risks.

Mizzou MedPride is an attempt to help.