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Original Scholarship Racism
Anthony L. Schlaff
Ndidiamaka N. Amutah-Onukagha
Fernando F. Ona
The Future of Population Health
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Context: Since the beginning of COVID-19 and the rise of social justice movements sparked by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the summer of 2020, many medical schools have made public statements committing themselves to become antiracist institutions. The notions that US society generally, and medicine, are rife with structural racism no longer seems as controversial in the academic community. Challenges remain, however, in how this basic understanding gets translated into medical education practice. Understanding where the profession must go should start with understanding where we currently are.
Methods: Prior to the events of 2020, in the spring of 2018, we conducted nine key informant interviews to learn about the challenges and best practices from schools deemed to be positive deviants in teaching about structural racism.
Findings: Our interviews showed that even those schools deemed positive deviants in the amount of teaching done about structural racism faced significant barriers in providing a robust education.
Conclusions: Significant structural change, perhaps far beyond what most schools consider themselves willing and able to engage in, will be necessary if future US physicians are to fully understand and address structural racism as it affects their profession, their practice, and their patients.
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