Medical Education Diversity and Inclusion Effort Gets $400K Shot in the Arm

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — Leading internal medicine organizations recently announced the awarding of grants designed to improve the quality of education and training to build a more trustworthy health system.

The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the ABIM Foundation, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation have awarded a total of $400,000, split among 24 projects at medical schools and training programs.

Grantees will use this funding to support programs that incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into internal medicine education and training. Selected projects emphasize inter-professional projects that incorporate members from across the care team.

Grants will be distributed at the $20,000 and $10,000 levels, depending on the scope of the program. Examples of funded projects include:

  • Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University will launch a mentorship program for Northeast Ohio high school students from communities that have been historically marginalized considering a career in medicine or health care. Students will participate in career exploratory panels, plan their undergraduate education, and prepare for a career in health care while learning techniques to foster resilience, overcome barriers, and seize unique career opportunities.
  • Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Stockton, California will use didactic education and experiential opportunities with community-based organizations and opportunity youth to enhance internal medicine residents’ understanding of the relationship between social determinants of health and the importance of health equity. Black, southeast Asian and Hispanic community members’ trust will be measured, and medical residents will follow a cultural competency/sensitivity curriculum to increase their awareness of the beliefs, values and biases they bring to patient encounters, and improve their ability to interact effectively with individuals different from themselves.
  • Advocate Aurora Health will create a focused project devoted to environmental health, a root cause of inequity, through (1) establishing an environmental health elective for the residency, and (2) hosting two interprofessional grand rounds accredited continuing education sessions focusing on the intersection of climate and racism. In the elective, residents will work with community partners to achieve a targeted environmental health goal and rotate with community health nurses to assess environmental barriers to health.
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“The Alliance is thrilled with the growth of this grants program through collaboration. Advancing DEI in undergraduate and graduate medical education is critical to our mission and funding these innovations will continue to move the needle in building an equitable and trusted health care system,” said Shobhina G. Chheda, MD, MPH, Chair of the AAIM Board of Directors, Professor in the Department of Medicine and Associate Dean for Medical Education at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.”

“We must intentionally increase diversity, equity and inclusion perspectives and learnings within medical education and training as a fundamental component to improving medical efficacies for all populations,” said Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP, president of ACP. “Through these grants, ACP is proud to further stimulate and accelerate activities across the nation toward advancing equity.”

The first round of grants in 2020 brought in 170 applications, from which 32 projects at medical schools and training programs were selected. This round received 116 applications from health systems and universities across the U.S.

“Reversing decades of grotesque inequity will require medical schools to reevaluate their curriculum and training programs until we have a system that is truly diverse and inclusive. It will also require persistence and a ton of patience,” says Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation. “We will stick with it until we get a system of care in which all Americans can participate equally.”

“For far too long, patients and health care professionals from groups historically underrepresented in medicine have not felt as if they belong in our health system, hospitals, clinics, training programs or medical schools,” said Holly J. Humphrey, MD, MACP, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. “These grants, by focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in internal medicine, are one way to stimulate change so that all who seek care, along with those learning to provide care, feel they belong and can trust the care they receive or are learning to provide.”

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Organizations receiving grant funding include:

  • Advocate Aurora Health
  • Allegheny Health Network
  • Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
  • Columbia University
  • Cooper Medical School at Rowan University
  • Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Stockton, California
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Geisinger
  • Honor Health
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Lankenau Medical Center
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Temple University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of California-San Diego
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Texas – Houston
  • University of Texas Medical Branch
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • University of Washington
  • Yale University

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