Achieving Health Equity Through Medical Education
Joedrecka S. Brown Speights, MD, Florida State University
Achieving health equity through medical education presents a tremendous opportunity for academia to impact the barriers to health and improve the health of all. Health is not merely the absence of disease, but the opportunity to be well physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially in an environment free of pollution, toxic stress, food insecurity, and the consequences of discrimination, racism, and poverty. While some individuals have the opportunity to live their healthiest life, others suffer preventable and unjust differences in health outcomes. Family physicians are the cornerstone of providing primary care to all that is preventive, holistic, culturally responsive, and patient-centered care across the life course. Family medicine educators are particularly well situated to address the health needs of populations, impact the health care workforce, engage community, and attend to personal health and wellness. Family physicians and future physicians are well positioned to eliminate health disparities through awareness and action, curricular design and implementation, scholarship and innovation, and community engagement.
This session will share a message of hope and lend an opportunity for participants to explore some of these examples and discuss strategies as to how they can contribute individually, and as a part of systems to attain health equity. Health equity can be achieved in our lifetimes if we are intentional, value all people, rectify injustices, monitor progress, learn from exemplars, work collaboratively across disciplines, and model methods to address health inequities for our students.
Teaching Implicit Bias in Medical Student Education
Danielle Jones, MPH, American Academy of Family Physicians' Center for Diversity and Health Equity
The academic medical community recognizes that to limit the impact of implicit bias, medical education and training must develop approaches that are rooted in both theory and research to produce change in students’ and residents’ knowledge, behaviors, and practice. This training is especially significant for primary care specialties such as family medicine, as family physicians provide a greater volume of care for populations most likely to be vulnerable to implicit biases based on race/ ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Evidence describing implicit bias education interventions draws primarily from the fields of medical sociology and social psychology, fields where most clinical faculty may have little to no experience. As a result, many implicit bias training programs focus solely on raising participants awareness of their implicit biases without providing the skills needed to take action. While this strategy may provide motivation, it is insufficient in reducing implicit bias.
This session presents an evidence-based framework for delivering effective implicit bias training that increases physicians’ skills in mitigating bias. Participants will learn how to facilitate training activities such as creating safe and inclusive learning environments, identifying privilege and the social perspective of marginalized populations, and the collection of counter stereotypical information in the clinical encounter.
Equity for Addiction Starts With Students
Rebecca Cantone, MD, Oregon Health & Science University
Although the opioid crisis in the United States has started to show improvement, treatment of all addictions needs to continue to improve. Primary care providers can provide a pivotal role in decreasing hospitalizations, overdose deaths, and health care utilization by offering resources to patients who are ready or willing to engage in their recovery. However, many practicing physicians lack the training on the medications and treatment approaches, making assisting this population particularly challenging. We therefore need to educate our future providers and give them experiences to interact with these patients and also help train people already in practice on these successful treatment approaches.
Medical students may feel unprepared to provide addiction care or daunted by the task and failures in the media. Specific training and experiences may make substance use disorders less mystifying if learners knew what options existed to help their patients in concrete ways. We need to destigmatize addictions and enable our medical workforce to become comfortable with the trauma informed care, harm reduction, and evidence-based approaches to improve care of this vulnerable population. Classroom learning remains important, and real-world experience with stories directly from patients may help influence the likelihood of future family physicians to provide compassionate and quality care to improve health care equity for patients with substance use disorders.