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Med Teach. 2020 Mar 17:1-7. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2020.1737322. [Epub ahead of print]

Empowering future physicians to advocate for health equity: A blueprint for a longitudinal thread in undergraduate medical education.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA.
2
Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA.
3
Department of Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA.

Abstract

In light of a growing body of evidence demonstrating pervasive health disparities, medical schools are increasingly incorporating educational programs on social medicine in undergraduate and graduate medical curricula. In 2015, we significantly restructured the cultural competency instruction for medical students at our institution, focusing on achieving greater health equity through caring for vulnerable populations and acknowledging and addressing bias and stereotyping. In order to facilitate educational sustainability while students were immersed in clinical care, a key element of our approach included extending teaching into the clerkship year. The resulting longitudinal thread, Health Equity and Social Justice, empowers future physicians with the knowledge and skills to work towards greater health equity. This article discusses the lessons learned in the implementation of this novel educational program. Our approach can serve as a model for other institutions considering similar instructional reform.

KEYWORDS:

Health equity; bias; cultural competency; microaggressions; social justice

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