Confronting Racial Inequities in Medical Education

VUSM Office of Health Sciences Education: Confronting Racial Inequities in Medical Education


As outlined in the broader Confronting Racial Inequities plan, the VUSM Office of Health Sciences Education (OHSE) will work closely with VUMC leadership to participate in medical center-wide activities to develop a comprehensive strategy for confronting racial inequities. Students, staff, and faculty will be members of the workgroups and will provide input via surveys, town halls, and other engagement activities. In addition, OHSE will collaborate with the Associate Dean for Health Equity in the Office of Health Equity, and the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs and Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs in the Office for Diversity Affairs to take the following immediate actions:


1) Prepare OHSE leaders to facilitate discussions on race, racism, and racial equity, and critically review curricula for stereotypes, misinformation, and race-based medicine;

  • Develop an anti-racism curriculum/journal club for the education leadership team (including the Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences Education, Associate Deans for Student Affairs, UME and GME, Assistant Deans, admissions leadership and the SOM Office of Enrollment Services leadership, CBO and her leads, MSTP leadership, etc.). Implementation will include an initial intensive with facilitated discussions through the Fall; with antiracism content embedded in OHSE continuing education. The goal is multi-fold – 1) to educate the team on anti-racism and racial equity, and 2) to have discussions about how to move learning into action steps to improve the School of Medicine.


2) Engage students, faculty and staff to identify opportunities to make the learning environment more inclusive, specifically for racial minority groups, and embed additional content on racial equity and health inequities


3) Provide anti-racism education to all incoming first year medical students. Integrate content on racism and racial equity into the medical school curriculum.

  • Utilizing the book, “Black Death at the Golden Gate,” as a platform for facilitated discussion among the incoming first year students about the parallels and the role(s) of physicians in healthcare, discovery, advocacy, anti-racism, and public health in their Learning Community sessions during the Foundations of the Profession course of the first week of medical school.


4) Perform a systematic look across the Foundations of Healthcare Delivery and Learning Communities core content areas for opportunities to broaden incorporation of racial equity and health inequities content into those courses.


5) Consider the formalization of a racial equity and health inequities thread across the entire UME curriculum to accomplish true integration of the confrontation of racial inequities into the MD curriculum.


6) Incorporate curricular components on confronting racial inequities across all three phases of the medical school curriculum (Foundations of Medical Knowledge, Foundations of Clinical Care, and Immersions), including the creation of a half-day session on confronting racial inequities within the Foundations of the Profession course.