Evaluating the Use of Race in Medicine and Public Health

The objective of this project was twofold. The first objective was to analyze the medical school preclinical curriculum content to characterize the presentations and discussions of race/ethnicity. The second objective was to develop evidence-based recommendations to correct inaccurate uses of race/ethnicity. We did a content analysis of the course materials within the preclinical medical curriculum at one academic institution to identify and characterize errors in the use of race/ethnicity. We searched the lecture and case-based learning materials for key terms relating to race/ethnicity. Uses of race/ethnicity were flagged as errors when content deviated from evidence-based terminology or failed to adequately reflect the current evidence base. Our analysis aimed to reveal the extent and nature of the misuse of race in a preclinical medical curriculum.

We found the common misuse of race/ethnicity in the preclinical medicine curricula and characterized five themes of misuse. The analysis of these errors and the themes generated can be applied by medical schools to evaluate and optimize their curricula. Correcting such errors may contribute to combating implicit biases amongst medical students and, as a consequence of that, potentially attenuate health care disparities. This work is now published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Click here to learn more.

Since publication, this project has inspired curriculum evaluations in other domains. CHEA was involved in evaluating how Asians and Asian-Americans are represented in the undergraduate medical curriculum. We are also currently involved in a project evaluating race in the Master’s in Public Health curriculum. 

Project Team:
  • Christina Amutah
  • Adjoa Mante
  • Sanjna Surya
  • Kaliya Greenidge
  • Jaya Aysola
Related Publications/Abstracts
  • Amutah C, Greenidge K, Mante A, Munyikwa M, Surya SL, Higginbotham E, Jones DS, Lavizzo-Mourey R, Roberts D, Tsai J, Aysola J: Misrepresenting Race: The Role of Medical Schools in Propagating Physician Bias. New England Journal of Medicine January 2021. PMCID: 10.1056/NEJMms2025768.

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