Medical students, residents, and faculty have begun to examine and grapple with the legacy and persistence of structural racism in academic medicine in the United States. Until recently, the discourse and solutions have largely focused on augmenting diversity across the medical education continuum through increased numbers of learners from groups underrepresented in medicine (UIM). Despite deliberate measures implemented by medical schools, residency programs, academic institutions, and national organizations, meaningful growth in diversity has not been attained. To the contrary, the UIM representation among medical trainees has declined or remained below the representation in the general population. Inequities continue to be observed in multiple domains of medical education, including grading, admission to honor societies, and extracurricular obligations. These inequities, alongside learners’ experiences and calls for action, led the authors to conclude that augmenting diversity is necessary but insufficient to achieve equity in the learning environment.
In this article the authors advance a 4-step framework, built on established principles and practices of antiracism, to dismantle structural racism in medical education. They ground each step of the framework in the concepts and skills familiar to medical educators. By drawing parallels with clinical reasoning, medical error, continuous quality improvement, the growth mindset, and adaptive expertise, the authors show how learners, faculty, and academic leaders can implement the framework’s 4 steps—see, name, understand, act—to shift the paradigm from a goal of diversity to a stance of antiracism in medical education.