Boost for 3 big ideas to improve diversity in medical education

Three ambitious “blue sky” ideas aimed at improving diversity, equity and inclusion in medical education were selected to receive AMA planning grants of $ 20,000.

The ideas were selected from an initial pool of 135 candidates from which twenty-five were selected to participate in a “Shark Tank” style presentation at the ChangeMedEd® 2021 conference.

SwitchMedEd Participants ultimately selected three ideas to be eligible for funding to support refinement, development of a full proposal, and efforts to seek additional funding.

The three ideas selected, each eligible for a one-year planning grant of $ 20,000, focus on:

  • The importance of the bridges between the community college and the medical school.
  • Scaling up mentoring for potential healthcare professionals via a virtual platform.
  • Create more equity in the scoring of internships.

In pitching his idea – “Early Assurance: Community college to medical school” – Jerrod Writt, MD, emphasized the importance of community college for historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups.

“Half of the Black, Latino, and Native American students who attend college attend community college,” said Dr. Writt, family physician with Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento and AMA member. “Medical students who attend community college are more likely to go into primary care and practice in underserved communities.”

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For this reason, he introduced Avenue M – the M stands for Medicine – which is an acceptance route for community college students to a four-year college and eventually medical school. The program aims to reduce access time to medical school, student debt and accelerate the diversification of the medical workforce.

Learn more from WADA on what is needed to improve the diversity of the physician pipeline.

In pitching her idea, Vy Tran Plata, a medical student at the University of Michigan and a member of WADA, cited her own experiences of growing up in a community without role models for physicians. The project – “DiverseCity, an innovative way to expand access to world-class mentoring” – aims to ensure that this does not happen to the next generation of potential physicians.

Tran Plata created a pilot version of its digital platform through which accomplished physicians shared the story of their medical journey. She hopes to step up efforts with the additional funding.

“There is a thirst for this resource and a thirst for collaboration,” she said. “From high school students to medical students, there is a place in DiverseCity for everyone. “

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Methods of assessing basic medical education disadvantage medical students from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups. Learning from the positives in fair scoring practices, an idea pioneered by Charlene K. Green, director of the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce, is designed to change that.

“Our diverse students have entered a system not really designed for them,” Green said. “We did them a disservice by letting them in. We need them. At least that’s what I read article after article.

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Ranking inequalities exist in medical education due to factors such as rater bias and bias in standardized exams. For this reason, non-white students receive less academic praise.

Green argued that medical education as a community can have an impact on ranking equity. To do this, she proposed a collaborative medical school effort that begins with institutional research and extends to a larger group. At least part of the result would include the creation of resources that can be widely applied to the evaluation and evaluation of internships.

WADA seeks to address the diversity of physicians on several fronts. The AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium worked with the Morehouse School of Medicine and other member medical schools to share strategies to improve recruitment, foster viable pathways to medicine, promote processes of holistic admission and to create inclusive learning environments.

The group shared an Institutional Diversity and Inclusion Self-Learning Process (PDF) and issued a statement to protect diverse learners during educational disruptions related to COVID-19.

Launched last year, the AMA Center for Health Equity has a mandate to integrate health equity throughout the organization so that health equity is part of practice, process, of action, innovation and performance and organizational results.


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