Category Archives: Health Equity

Addressing unequal and unjust health outcomes across different populations.

Race and Racism in Medicine

Watch “The Biology of Race in the absence of Biological Races” by Dr. Rick Kittles

Watch video or read transcript:

Race: The Power of an Illusion – Episode 2

Read:

Goal for these activities:

  1. Recognize why using race in biomedical studies can be problematic.
  2. Recognize how and why race is a social and political construct and its current function in society.
  3. Recognize how race is still used in medicine, and “pros” and “cons” to using race as a social identifier.

Interrupting Bias

Required:

Cultural Context of Pain

Objectives

  1. Recognize and discuss factors leading to pain treatment challenges, variability, and access due to race, gender, ethnic, social and economic disparity
  2. Describe unique pain assessment and management needs of special populations
  3. Describe the role of the clinician as an advocate in assisting patients to meet treatment goals
  4. Explain how health promotion and self-management strategies are important to the management of pain
  5. Describe patient, provider, and system factors that can facilitate or interfere with effective pain assessment and management
  6. Design an individualized pain management plan that integrates the perspectives of patients, their social support systems, and health care providers in the context of available resources
  7. Reflect on the wider role of the clinician, within and beyond the healthcare system, as an advocate for patients suffering from chronic pain
  8. Describe the impact of pain on society

Before Class

1. Required reading

After reading the articles, write a short reflection that includes the following, and upload it to the pre-class quiz on Canvas.
For each article:

What is one finding in each article which surprised you? Why?
What is one thing you have a question about?
How and where will you seek answers to your questions?
One of the studies noted in the first article mentioned that some Native patients have an ‘expectation of empathy.’ The Native patients “expressed the conviction that it was the provider’s role to perceive and experience the patient’s pain in order to treat it” without the patient having to describe their pain in detail. What do you think about this? Do you believe this is possible across cultural beliefs and practices? Why or why not?

2. Required videos

Some questions to ponder as you watch:

In the field of medicine you are particularly interested in, how might historical trauma express itself in a patient’s life? What would be some possible physical, psychological or emotional manifestations?
Do you think historical trauma is different or the same as social determinants of health?

  • Interview with Chaplain Joisky Caudill: An Indigenous Perspective on Health and Wellness (12 min) 

    Some questions to ponder as you watch:
    How did Chaplain Joisky negotiate her care with her physicians? As a provider, how might you offer opportunities for your patients to negotiate their treatment with you? What would you do, say or ask?

Some questions to ponder as you watch:
What are ‘positive’ stereotypes about Native Americans/Alaska Natives? Why are they harmful?
What is your reaction when you hear Chaplain JoiSky’s definitions of medicine and health?  How would you know if your patients defined these concepts differently than you do? Why might that be important to be aware of?

There is mention that some Native people may understand illness and pain as manifestations of sickness of soul or as something which happens as a result of something a person was meant to do but hasn’t done. How would you work with patients who hold beliefs such as these? Would their beliefs change how you would provide care for them?

‘Racial Disparities in Pain Medication Use’ (10 min)

Review from EHM Cultural Humility Film (first 12 of 15 min) 

Historical Trauma: Hozhonahaslíí: Stories of Healing the Soul Wound Part III (11 min)

In Class

Students will work in small groups to discuss the case story with a community consultant.
Small groups should designate a member to write up a brief summary of their discussion with guest consultant (please include in your summary who your guest was, and the names of the people in your group).

The summary should include
1. One thing which was surprising to hear or was a new perspective
2. Two points of information you will carry forward as a future physician

We will reconvene as a large group for report out.

Please sign in for attendance of small group.

After Class

Healing the Warrior’s Heart 

 

Responding to Bias: Strategies and Skills

Start by reading this JAMA Piece of My Mind “Speak Up” which describes one physician’s experience with speaking up when witnessing micro-aggressions or biased comments or behavior in the clinical workplace.

Then read this post from STAT News that describes a medical student’s experience with racist comments during her clinical training and how it felt when no one spoke out against it.

Tools for Responding to Bias

Goal: Communicate a message of disapproval without damaging interpersonal relations

Be ready 

  • Rehearse what you would do or say in situations before they occur
  • You know what feels most natural for you
  • Remember the Bystander effect
  • No one else will probably say anything
  • Consider saying something, even if it is a small effort

Decide whether to say anything 

  • Silence is often interpreted as passive complicity
  • Consider saying something simple like “that’s not cool” or “I don’t appreciate that”
  • You don’t have to take a dramatic stand if you’re not comfortable or not able

Consider taking more time if:

  • You know you respond badly in the heat of the moment
  • You fear retaliation or mistreatment and need more support
  • The situation is not appropriate (ie during a patient care emergency)

Stay calm 

  • Try to speak calmly, or consider waiting until another time
  • Try to avoid inducing defensiveness

Clarify or Restate what was said  

  • Make sure you are understanding what was said
  • Make the speaker think about what they said
  • “So I am hearing you say….” Or even “excuse me, what was that you just said?”
  • If a joke was made, ask the speaker to explain it to you
  • When identifying the behavior, avoid labeling, name-calling or the use of loaded terms.
  • Describe the behavior; don’t label the person.

Appeal to principles 

  • “I’m surprised to hear you say that.  I think of you as more… (egalitarian, open-minded, etc).”

Change the subject (more effective than it sounds) 

  • You may not change beliefs but you may change behavior

Reflect on what happened 

  • Journaling or meditation
  • Debriefing with a peer or college mentor

It’s never too late to bring it up 

  • Defer until later: “let’s talk about this when we have more time”
  • Bring it up later: “I’ve been thinking about what you said last week…”

Don’t get discouraged 

  • You won’t know the lasting impact you’ll have later on, both for the speaker and those who were present

Know your resources 

  • College mentors and college heads
  • Other trusted faculty
  • Student Affairs office

Traps to Avoid

Avoid making light of any comments, making jokes (which often backfire!), or getting defensive

Honoring the Individual: Narrative and Cultural Humility

This New York Times article, written by Harvard Professor of Economics Sendhil Mullainathan discusses how our identity shapes how we think about inequality and our advantages and disadvantages.

To Help Tackle Inequality, Remember the Advantages You’ve Had, by Sendhil Mullainathan

This PBS Newshour video and brief accompanying article by Kamaraia Roberts about young Black Republicans suggests that individual identities can be challenged by society and peers.

The stigma of being young, black and Republican, by Kamaria Roberts

Watch this compelling YouTube video by Director Vivian Chavez.  Melanie Tervalon, a physician and consultant, and Jann Murray-Garcia, a nursing professor at UC Davis, thoughtfully discuss the philosophy and function of cultural humility and the need for cultural humility to improve provider to patient interaction and care.

Cultural Humility, by Vivian Chavez

Introduction to Healthcare Systems

Review:

Review the fact sheet. Arrive to class familiar with content.

Fact Sheet on Healthcare Financing and Reform

Watch:

Search the Khan Academy website (khanacademy.org) and create a log-in. Locate the “Health Care System” modules.  To do this, first select the “Science” category, then “Health and Medicine”, then “Health Care System”.  All students should arrive to class capable of quickly accessing the Khan Academy website.

View Khan Academy Modules as necessary. Three Khan academy modules are listed below.  The content of these modules is summarized.  Students with background knowledge in the listed content and fact sheet content are NOT required to view the modules.  The modules are a supplementary assignment and should be completed as necessary based on student background and understanding of the US healthcare system and payment systems.  Note: students may need to access Khan Academy modules for small group work during the breakout session.

Module 1: Health care system overview (8 minutes)

Explains how patients/populations, providers, and payors interact.  Introduces government insurance, direct payment of patient to doctor, HMOs and PPOs.  Explains the rationale for insurance to mitigate risk and discusses the need to manage “moral hazard” as well as over-utilization of services when not directly responsible for payment.

Module 2: Paying doctors (12 minutes)

Defines FFS, capitation and salary.  Describes the lack of cost accountability to patients and providers in the third party payor system.  Describes issues with capitation with particular attention on “cherry picking” or patient shifting.

Module 3: Medicare overview  (16 minutes)

Introduces Medicare and Medicaid.  Defines populations covered for Medicare (Elderly/ALS/ESRD) and Medicaid (low income) as well as funding source (Federal Government for Medicare and combined Federal and State for Medicaid).  Defines Secretary of HHS and CMS (Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services).  Describes Medicare parts A-D.

 

Social Ecological Model

Social Ecological Model

McLeroy, Bibeau, Steckler and Glanz are generally credited with creating the social ecological model of care.  A quick Google search for the social ecological model will reinforce how widely it has been adopted.  There are numerous community, state, national and international organizations that utilize this model in their programs.

Think back to your session in immersion on the social history.  How often do you think beyond the individual and interpersonal factors that influence you and your patients health?

Image result for social ecological model uw

 

From CDC Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP)

What is Health?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines health as “the state of being free from illness or injury.”  

The constitution of The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Fiona Goodlee, editor of the British Medical Journal and the editorial staff at The Lancet have both written editorials about the evolving definition of health.  Click on the below links to read the two articles.  Read the articles with the below questions in mind.

As you progress throughout your medical student career (and beyond) we would encourage you to return to this page to reflect upon:

  • How do you currently define health?
  • How has the definition of health changed over time?
  • Does the definition of health change by perspective?  Is health defined differently in the United States that it is in other countries?
  • Do patients define health differently than their physicians?
  • Does the public health system define health differently than hospitals?
  • How are medical schools accountable for health?