As a leader in Global Health education, MSIH is constantly re-evaluating our curriculum to ensure it continues to adapt so that we educate future physicians on how to best address the impact of cultural, economic, political and environmental factors on the health of individuals and populations worldwide. In Spring 2022, MSIH debuted a new Global Health Module: The Impact of Racism on Health and Medicine, taught by both our faculty and members of our esteemed alumni community.
After graduating from MSIH, alumni embark on careers as highly-skilled physicians with expertise in global health. MSIH alumni make a difference in the lives of their patients and local communities, and they also share their knowledge and experience with current students.
Racial discrimination and systemic racism are key social determinants of health, and further racial and ethnic health inequities. In the U.S., people of color experience health inequities such as higher rates of poor health and disease, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma, and heart disease (CDC). Effectively addressing disparities in the quality of care requires a comprehensive strategy that incorporates initiatives to train healthcare professionals on how to combat systemic racism in medicine.
Three MSIH alumni, along with veteran MSIH faculty member Prof. Shimon Glick, led the four-part Zoom lecture series on racism in medicine. First and second-year students learned about the effects of racism on health outcomes and racialized reproductive rights as a core component of human rights. They reviewed strategies to mitigate the influence of bias while co-creating safe/brave working and learning environments. Additionally, they learned about racism in clinical research by examining case studies of research on vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.
MSIH alumna Dr. LaShawn McIver (‘04), Director of the Office of Minority Health at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, lectured students on the intersection of racism and social and political determinants of health. She shared, “It was a true delight to jump start the course… The questions that the students asked and some of the things that we discussed are so critical for being able to deliver equitable care in the US. I think by giving students a safe space to unpack what the intent of this course is will be another powerful tool to add to their clinical toolbox! It was a wonderful experience being able to give back to MSIH through this forum. Understanding what it felt like sitting in their unique shoes helped me frame a learning experience that I hope was meaningful and impactful.”
Second year student Allison remarked, “The diversity of guest lecturers and lecture topics has been amazing, and it’s really great to hear from physicians and alumni who are doing really great work advocating as well as working clinically. Even as someone who has made a concerted effort to learn about this subject on my own, I have still learned so much in this class.”
Bogdana, a second year student enrolled in the course, shared, “I am happy to see MSIH making an effort to continuously revamp the global health curriculum to keep it relevant to the changing times. Many friends I spoke with at other medical schools were impressed with our school offering a racism in medicine course – as their schools have not yet done so.”
Students grappled with the course content, made connections to their own personal experiences and joined small group discussions to identify and mitigate racism in the healthcare field.
By sharing their breadth and depth of knowledge and experience with current students, MSIH alumni are training the next generation of global health physicians.
We thank our amazing alumni community for paying it forward and educating future MSIH physicians!