HSC Education Days

Integrating DEI into the SOM Quantitative Medicine Block

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Background: School of Medicine (SOM) block chairs and course directors seek to find opportunities to integrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion elements in their sessions. Some subject areas such as the Health of New Mexico Block provide plenty of opportunities whereas blocks such as the Quantitative Medicine offer fewer opportunities for DEI integration. We resolved to do better at DEI integration, regardless of the challenges. Methods: Case study. The Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) segment of the course focuses on many of the details of this study design. The instructor informed students that many RCTs often fail to recruit participants from diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, racial, educational level, or self-identified gendered backgrounds. This didactic also described the lack of generalizability from RCTs due to the participation by only thin segments of the US population. Around the studio classroom students saw on flipcharts the names of groups underrepresented in US RCTs: Hispanics; Native Americans; Women; certain Age Groups; lower socioeconomic groups; and, an open-ended category for “Other.” Students were asked to gather around the flipchart of their choice. They were asked to brainstorm on barriers facing these groups and ways that they, as future physicians might recruit patients from these underrepresented groups. Results: We were surprised by the enthusiastic and creative responses of most students to this exercise. Student strategies focused on outreach to underrepresented communities and finding ways to overcome the logistical barriers to participation. We will share some noteworthy students’ suggestions. Conclusion: Faculty members’ commitment to find ways to integrate DEI even in the most unlikely segments of the SOM curriculum can yield surprising and gratifying results.


This presentation was presented during the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Education Days.

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