Friday, August 21, 2020

Time Is Now for Addressing Racism in Medical Education

As APA leaders continue to work to eliminate systemic racism within psychiatry, a group of psychiatry resident leaders recognized with APA/APA Foundation Minority Fellowships described an action plan they believe will reduce racism in medical education in the most recent issue of Psychiatric News.

“Many health care institutions and medical schools, including the AMA, have released statements condemning police brutality and racism. However, such statements ring hollow without action,” the APA/APAF Minority Fellows wrote. “We believe that one of the first steps in combating systemic racism in the medical field is addressing issues within our training institutions.” They outlined the following actions as key steps forward in dismantling racism in medical education:

  1. Create networks and communities that encourage open discussion for minority and marginalized providers.
  2. Support the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce through inclusion initiatives that are adequately funded, appropriately staffed, and well integrated.
  3. Support intentional mentorship and sponsorship of trainees of color into leadership positions.
  4. Support continued training for health care providers on how to productively address racist or biased behaviors as they occur in health care and educational settings.
  5. Support educational research and scholarship that focuses on identifying best practices on training in implicit bias, structural racism, and cultural humility.
  6. Increase resources including financial and protected time for research and academic endeavors around race, culture, and socioeconomic disparities.
  7. Review current medical curricula, didactic and clinical based, with the goal of better understanding how racist ideas are embedded within and using that knowledge to make the needed changes.
  8. Increase the use of holistic review processes by medical training institutions, including the further de-emphasis of standardized testing such as the MCAT and USMLE.
  9. Increase awareness and evaluation of racial/ethnic disparities in certain academic awards, such as the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, with appropriate changes or removals of these items.
  10. Support institutional systems for reporting incidents that negatively impact individuals from minority or underrepresented groups. Aggregate anonymous data from these systems should be used to help analyze, identify, and address systemic needs.
  11. Increase training opportunities in diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. We recommend the utilization of innovative technologies and systems to aid in this endeavor.

“As leaders in undergraduate and graduate medical education, our duty is to ensure that future physicians lead in anti-racist work and are aware of the biases that can affect their care to individuals,” they continued. “We believe that the implementation of these items will begin to dismantle the current racist underpinnings within our education, help to improve treatment and experiences of people of color in medicine, and consequently work to better the treatment of all patients.”

(Image: iStock/Avatar_023)

Register Now to Attend ‘Structural Racism, Part 2: The March Continues’: August 24

APA Past President Altha Stewart, M.D., AMA Chief Health Equity Officer and Group Vice President Aletha Maybank, M.D., M.P.H., and 2020-2021 REACH Scholar Kevin Simon, M.D., will join APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H., for a virtual town hall on Monday, August 24, at 8 p.m. ET to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. This is the second in a series of town halls on structural racism planned by Dr. Geller.



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