Diversity Means More: Team implements initiatives that integrate health justice, intersectionality into education and clinical practice
The Anti-Racism Oversight Committee’s Education and Clinical Practice subcommittee has created an action plan that addresses several key areas. The subcommittee is focused on implementing short- and long-term initiatives in each of these areas that help to address their overarching goal — to ensure learners and educators have access to education on the concepts of health justice and intersectionality and that they can competently implement these into clinical practice.
Health justice is about closing the equity and equality gaps that may exist as it relates to access and care.
That’s why it’s so important to provide learners have an in-depth knowledge of intersectionality, health justice and critical race theory. By doing so, the organization aims to prepare the next generation of health professionals with best practices and expertise to demonstrate equitable patient care.
The first area of focus is related to including intersectionality and critical race theory concepts into curriculum and design work for students and graduate learners.
Intersectionality tackles the complexities of discrimination and the cumulative way an individual may be impacted when experiencing an overlap of multiple forms of discrimination, such as sexism, classism, and racism.
Critical race theory, meanwhile, is defined as an intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings, but instead a socially constructed (and culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color.
Understanding intersectionality and critical race theory as it impacts health justice and health care is key to dismantling health disparities and the inequities that many communities of color may experience. Insight into the varying trials of systematic racism, the intersections of discrimination, unique experiences of underrepresented communities and more will allow health care professionals to be better equipped to serve all patients.
In support of this work, the Education and Clinical Practice subcommittee has secured funding to hire and support faculty experts in these topic areas. This fall, a course entitled “History of Race and Racism: Understanding the Intersection of Systemic Racism and Inequity in Health Care” will be introduced for third- and fourth-year medical students that will teach these concepts.
The subcommittee has also implemented additional educational action items and opportunities to expose medical students to underrepresented or underserved patients.
Clinical measurement tools
The subcommittee is also working with the Clinical Practice Committee on stopping the use of national or standardized clinical measurement tools in patient care with the goal of providing more equitable counseling and treatment to all patients.
These clinical measurement tools used race in its calculations, which may have changed what type of care was given. Eight of the measurement tools that included race in its calculations are now no longer in use after being reviewed. An additional four are being researched and discussed by their national societies for removal from use.
If you want to learn more about these concepts, including critical race theory, check out these valuable resources:
- U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Critical Race Theory, Race Equity, and Public Health: Toward Anti-Racism Praxis
- Columbia University, Columbia News: What is Critical Race Theory and Why is Everyone Talking About It?
- The Conversation: What is Intersectionality? All of Who I am
For continued updates from the Education and Clinical Practice subcommittee please visit the Education and Clinical Practice website.