Social unrest is a reminder that medical education has a role in dismantling racial and ethnic division. This perspective piece aims to reorient the traditional curricular worldview.
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Explore This IssueJuly 2021
Implementing a learning model for medical education that includes the community it serves requires a new vision for how the medical education system functions as a community (i.e., academia) and within a community (i.e., the public).
Citizen engagement in learning lends itself well to education efforts simply by virtue of embracing two-way, as opposed to top-down, hegemonic, communication. Embedded in this learning-community structure is value for cultural diversity and an acknowledgment that trainees must consider the interface of science and policy, as well as be able to communicate clearly and succinctly to diverse audiences in a variety of formats.
Interdisciplinary problem-solving experiences with multicultural input serve to encourage trainees to think critically and creatively, communicate with others and be intellectually flexible.
As we embrace new notions of curriculum development we should continue to ask: Are we capturing the authentic need of the community that medical education serves, and can we demonstrate that we are truly working to overcome racial and ethnic disparities in care?
James D. Katz, MD, is a senior research physician and the director of the Rheumatology Fellowship and Training Branch for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Md.
Emily Rose, BS, is a participant in the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP), conducting research with the Grayson Lab in the Vasculitis Translational Research Program for NIAMS.
Katlin Poladian, MD, is a resident physician at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Sharon L. Kolasinski, MD, is a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Philadelphia.
Karina D. Torralba, MD, is chief of the Division of Rheumatology and the rheumatology fellowship program director for Loma Linda University Health, California.
This effort was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. This effort was made possible in part through the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program, a public-private partnership supported jointly by the NIH and contributions to the Foundation for the NIH from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Genentech, the American Association for Dental Research, the Colgate-Palmolive Company, and other private donors. The manuscript herein is not an official statement of the NIH or NIAMS. The authors appreciate the thoughtful comments of Laura Lewandowski, MD, and Robert Lembo, MD, who pre-reviewed the manuscript.
Community-Centered Medical Education How-Tos
- Involve the community in setting priorities and helping students understand the health challenges faced by the local society;
- Assess diagnostic medical skills in novel ways to illuminate implicit biases;
- Identify, record & track discrepancies in medical meaning-making to inform policymaking;
- Build time for reflection, specifically to examine human rights abuses, into curricular learning activities; and
- Pair community testimonials with expert commentaries at medical and educational conferences.
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