Addressing Race, Culture, and Structural Inequality in Medical Education: A Guide for Revising Teaching Cases

Aparna Krishnan, Molly Rabinowitz, Ariana Ziminsky, Stephen M. Scott, Katherine C. Chretien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem Sociodemographic identities, including race, culture, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation (race and culture), are recognized as important determinants of health, with significant impacts on patients' health outcomes, but teaching medical students about this is challenging. The authors sought to identify areas for improvement in delivery of critical content about race, culture, structural inequalities, and health disparities within a set of virtual patient cases used by U.S. medical schools and develop revision guidelines. Approach A workgroup (medical students and faculty) conducted a literature review in 2017 to identify challenges and best practices for teaching and learning about race and culture in medicine. Using an analytic framework informed by this review, they analyzed 63 Aquifer virtual patient teaching cases for effectiveness of the presentation of race and culture, resulting in six main themes describing common mistakes or pitfalls. They then developed an evidence-based guide for systematic case revision. Outcomes The authors present a novel, practical guide for medical educators to use to revise existing teaching cases and improve the delivery of critical concepts surrounding race and culture. This guide includes fundamental definitions and six sections to guide structured case revision based on the main themes. It includes examples of language, suggested edits, and the rationale and evidence for recommendations. Next Steps Feedback from faculty and students regarding implementation of the guide and delivery of revised content in Aquifer cases will be critical in determining the guide's effectiveness. This structured guide may be adapted to a variety of teaching modalities in medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-555
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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