The Australian Lesbian Medical Association floatThe Australian Lesbian Medical Association (ALMA) has been meeting annually since 1999 and has gone from strength to strength with increasing membership and influence.

Dr Wendy Pryor advised this week that the theme for the 16th ALMA Conference will be “Medicine Women Head to the Heart”.

Born out of the need of individual lesbian doctors to find a supportive network within a medical environment that was then, often hostile, the organisation has now matured into one which supports research and contributes to medical curriculum development. The organisation has contributed to the change within a medical culture by assisting in policy development relating to sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

Each year the conference explores a different subject relevant to the work and lives of lesbian doctors.2014 will be held in Alice Springs from 7th to 10th of August and will explore health across cultures.  This year ALMA members who work in rural and remote areas will contribute their particular insight and expertise. Each year the conference program has a section for student involvement, contribution and education.

The Australian Lesbian Medical Association offers general support to members in their professional roles and workplaces and mentoring for lesbian medical students. ALMA also advances the visibility of lesbian women in the medical profession and advocates in relation to lesbian health, research and education. In 2013, ALMA made history at the United Nations when the United Nations granted ALMA special consultative status to the Economic and Social Council. This was warmly greeted by LGBTI organisations as it is the first time in many years that an openly lesbian organisation has been recommended for consultative status.