Medical EducationCOMMENTARY

Addressing disparities in medicine through medical curriculum change: a student perspective

Amina Kureshi, DO; Scott Landman; Meher Ahmed; Olga V. Savinova, PhD; and Diane Becker, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 18, 2021

Accepted: March 15, 2022

Published: April 13, 2022

  • Amina Kureshi, DO, 

    New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA

  • Scott Landman, 

    New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA

  • Meher Ahmed, 

    New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA

  • Olga V. Savinova, PhD, 

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA

  • Diane Becker, DO, 

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA

Abstract

Cultural competency training has been a focus of medical schools for some time. An essential step in developing culturally competent physicians, effective cultural competency training has previously been researched at medical schools. Before forming a diversity task force to head cultural competency training, one medical school utilized medical student volunteers to review current teaching material and provide suggestions to increase cultural competency training. A study group consisting of three faculty members and 29 medical students was formed on a voluntary basis during the summer of 2020. Based on medical student opinion and reviewed teaching materials, learning tools were created to guide medical curricular updates. This experience resulted in the formation of four teaching tools: a didactic lecture checklist to include more diverse patient populations; case-based learning objectives that focus on social determinants of health; a facilitator question script to encourage group discussion and student feedback on the given clinical cases; and a student reflection form on the effects of race, gender, and socioeconomic status on patients and medical professionals in the clinical setting. Updating the medical school curriculum is a constant and ongoing process. Forming a diversity task force to guide these changes and regularly review medical teaching materials will help train physicians ready to care for a diverse patient population. In addition, the use of the suggested teaching tools may help guide the review process for such committees at other medical schools.

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