Medical Community Advocates for Representation, Equity and Social Justice (MedCARES)
Our Internal Medicine Residency Program completes an annual self-assessment and identifies areas for further exploration and improvement. We set goals for these individual areas and create working groups comprised of faculty and residents.
As part of these efforts, we created the Implicit Bias Improvement Group in 2019 under the mentorship of one of the Associate Program Directors, Bi Awosika M.D.
With the heightened unraveling of structural racism within the summer of 2020, the group led residency-wide town halls dedicated to challenging long standing structural racism within our institution. Residents and faculty provided a listening ear and shared insights and personal experiences regarding injustices while supporting each other. Subsequent efforts from this group have led to various initiatives including the implementation of an implicit bias academic half day and a departmental health equity rounds.
In the summer of 2021, we rebranded this group as MedCARES: Medical Community Advocates for Representation, Equity, and Social Justice to better encompass our vision.
Our group has now expanded to include interprofessional members across other departments. Our current global aim has evolved towards exploring and addressing social inequities as healthcare providers to provide optimal care to our patients, while fostering and supporting diversity and inclusion within the residency program.
See – We know that we cannot change what we do not see. Therefore, we aim to see at the individual and institutional levels.
Training in mindfulness and self-awareness
Implicit bias training - Academic Half Day
Facilitated discussions of racial disparities in learning environment – Sharing Communities
Use MMI format to highlight racism
Name – We recognize that naming the experiences “confirms specificity, clarity, and importance.” This allows us to “understand, rectify, and move forward.” We recognize “that we are all vulnerable to perpetuating racism and responsible for rectifying it.”
Apply framework of disclosing errors to this context -> acknowledge, disclose, apologize, and learn
Build common vocabulary
Build reporting structure
Understand – We will explore underpinnings and consequences with rigor of science.
Leverage narrative and data to deepen collective knowledge and understanding of racism
Evaluate bias and disparities in patient care, interactions, curriculum, and evaluations
Education about national and local Cincinnati context and history
Act – “Once we see, name and understand... we must act.” We must make changes in “pedagogy, policy and culture” that are grounded in equity.
Establish and disseminate intention and transparency in recruitment
Intentionality of policies
Develop standards and training around areas where bias is most prevalent such as patient and trainee hand-off
Leadership training to build safe learning environments including in retreats for residents, development of chief residents, and faculty development
Additionally, we have started developing safe sharing space which we have named Sharing Communities, offering further opportunity to continue dialogue and grow in our understanding of one another. Continued longstanding goals for sustainable change include expanding recruitment efforts, building leadership training, and implementing a new framework of see, name, understand, and act, learning to address and combat racism within the framework of our residency program and beyond.