Health care disparities have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only recently has the medical community acknowledged implicit bias and systemic racism as a public health emergency. Graduate medical education has been slow to adopt curricula beyond lecture-based formats that specifically address social determinants of health (SDOH) and its impact on communities. Curricula addressing unconscious (implicit) biases and their influence on patient care has not been widely adopted. The emergency department (ED) has a unique role in addressing health care disparities. Approximately 69% of emergency medicine residency programs incorporate cultural competency training in their curricula. Most are primarily lecture-based without a longitudinal component, and gaps exist in content, quality, and expertise of the presenters. Lecture-based formats may not be best suited to manage the nuanced conversations necessary to dismantle biases and socialized beliefs that result in disparities for marginalized communities. Reporting little or no education in medical school related to SDOH, residents acknowledge that barriers to care exist, but have limited or no knowledge of what those barriers are or how mitigate them. To improve health equity, understanding and competence in caring for culturally and ethnically diverse populations, we developed a monthly, longitudinal, SDOH- and cultural competency–based “health equity journal club” (HEJC) for all levels of ED staff. Four educational domains were developed, and specific content within each domain was selected based on predetermined criteria. Content for each session was mapped to the ACGME program and core competency milestone requirements, ACGME Clinical Learning Environment (CLER) mandates, and The Joint Commission’s institutional recommendations for culturally competent care. The HEJC series has been successful in reducing barriers to identifying biases in health care; translating literature to clinical care; generating initiatives and interdisciplinary research; and cultivating interest in community health, health advocacy, and public policy.
Development of a health equity journal club to address health care disparities and improve cultural competence among emergency medicine practitioners
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