Advertisement

Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 1028–1032 | Cite as

Innovative Health Care Disparities Curriculum for Incoming Medical Students

  • Monica B. VelaEmail author
  • Karen E. Kim
  • Hui Tang
  • Marshall H. Chin
Innovations in Education

Abstract

Purpose

1) To pilot a health disparities curriculum for incoming first year medical students and evaluate changes in knowledge. 2) To help students become aware of personal biases regarding racial and ethnic minorities. 3) To inspire students to commit to serving indigent populations.

Methods

First year students participated in a 5-day elective course held before orientation week. The course used the curricular goals that had been developed by the Society of General Internal Medicine Health Disparities Task Force. Thirty-two faculty members from multiple institutions and different disciplinary backgrounds taught the course. Teaching modalities included didactic lectures, small group discussions, off-site expeditions to local free clinics, community hospitals and clinics, and student-led poster session workshops. The course was evaluated by pre-post surveys.

Results

Sixty-four students (60% of matriculating class) participated. Survey response rates were 97–100%. Students’ factual knowledge (76 to 89%, p < .0009) about health disparities and abilities to address disparities issues improved after the course. This curriculum received the highest rating of any course at the medical school (overall mean 4.9, 1 = poor, 5 = excellent).

Conclusions

This innovative course provided students an opportunity for learning and exploration of a comprehensive curriculum on health disparities at a critical formative time.

KEY WORDS

health disparities curriculum education medical students underserved 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, the Office of Medical Education at the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Diabetes Research and Training Center (P60 DK20595). Dr. Chin is supported by a Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-oriented Research from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (K24 DK071933).

This paper was presented in part at the 2007 Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, and the 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

The authors would like to thank Dean Holly Humphrey and the staff at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine for their generosity and active support in accommodating this course into the medical school curriculum. We would like to thank Dr. Joe G.N. Garcia, Chairman of Medicine at the University of Chicago for his mentorship, leadership, and support in the development and implementation of this course. This course would not have been successful without the passionate and inspiring lecturers who devoted hours of their time and shared their personal histories with our students.

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.

References

  1. 1.
    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2006 National Healthcare Disparities Report. www.ahrq.gov Accessed February, 2008.
  2. 2.
    Institute of Medicine. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Racial and ethnic disparities in health care: a position paper of the American college of physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(3):226–32.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    www.acgme.org/outcome Accessed February 2008.
  5. 5.
    Functions and Structure of a Medical School Standard for Accreditation of Medical Education Programs Leading to the M.D. Degree. Available at www.lcme.org. Accessed February 2008.
  6. 6.
    Flores G, Denise G, Kastner B. The teaching of cultural issues in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. Acad Med. 2000;75(5):451–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Green AR, Betancourt JR, Carrillo JE. Integrating social factors into cross-cultural medical education. Acad Med. 2002;77:193–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Beach MC, Price EG, Gary TL, et al. Cultural competence—A systematic review of health care provider educational interventions. Med Care. 43(4):356–73.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gregg J, Saha S. Losing culture on the way to competence: the use and misuse of culture in medical education. Acad Med. 2006;81(6):542–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Betancourt JR. Cultural competence and medical education: many names, many perspectives, one goal. Acad Med. 2006;81(6):499–501.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mavis B, Keefe CW, Reznich C. Summer research training programme in health care disparities. Med Educ. 2004;38:1182–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tang TS, Fantone JC, Bozynski MA, et al. Implementation and evaluation of an undergraduate sociocultural medicine program. Acad Med. 2002;77(6):578–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tavernier LA, Connor PD, Gates D, et al. Does exposure to medically underserved areas during training influence eventual choice of practice location? Med Educ. 2003;37(4):299–304.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ko M, Edelstein RA, Kevin ED, et al. Impact of the University of California, Los Angeles/Charles R. Drew University Medical Education Program on medical students’ intentions to practice in underserved areas. Acad Med. 2005;80:803–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Smith W, Betancourt JR, Wynia MK, et al. Recommendations for teaching about racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(9):654–65.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica B. Vela
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen E. Kim
    • 2
  • Hui Tang
    • 3
  • Marshall H. Chin
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Section of Gastroenterology, Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Center for Health and the Social SciencesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations