Address inequality in medical training

Residency Program Insider, July 29, 2020

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Inequities in medical training for students from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds have only been amplified by the disruptive forces of COVID-19, according to the AMA.

For example, prior to the pandemic, students in under-resourced communities may have lacked sufficient access to the internet, devices, and workspaces that are essential as education shifts to virtual platforms. Underrepresented students also miss out on enrichment activities, such as research and shadowing opportunities. During the pandemic, greater burden is put on students from underrepresented backgrounds as COVID-19 disproportionately hits communities of color. As a result, these communities also face greater financial burdens from the toll taken on the economy.

The AMA recommends the follow interventions to address these inequities:

  • Increase awareness of the structural determinants to academic success. Provide students with a clear process to report challenges and seek assistance.
  • Include learners and faculty from underrepresented backgrounds when planning curriculum adjustments, as well as when modifying assessment and application processes.
  • Increase efforts for more inclusive learning and working environments across the continuum (i.e., pre-medical education, medical school, GME, and practice).
  • Increase monitoring of the well-being of learners at all levels of medical education, as well as minimizing barriers to mental healthcare.

Source: AMA

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