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Starting Health Disparities Education During Resident Orientation

Our Patients, Our Community

Talati, Asha Nikesh, MD; Lappen, Justin R., MD; Bondurant-Sullivan, Amber, MD; Cossler, Nancy J., MD; Wieczorek, Martin, MD; Gecsi, Kimberly S., MD

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002911
Contents: Medical Education: Current Commentary

Disparities in women’s reproductive health outcomes are persistent and prevalent. Cultural competency education of trainees is central to reducing patient-, system-, and practitioner-level factors that promote disparate health outcomes. Such issues include health literacy, access to health care, and unconscious bias. We suggest that recognizing and reducing health disparities should be a longitudinal theme in resident education, first introduced during intern orientation and continued with dedicated didactics, experiential learning opportunities, grand rounds, and journal clubs built into the residency curricula. In this commentary, we present various methods of introducing health disparities education and commencing a larger conversation about inequity and race in medicine. We hope to encourage other training programs to incorporate this important topic earlier into their educational curriculum.

Resident orientation is a favorable time to foster awareness of how structural racism and disparate access to health care may affect women's health.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Biology, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Corresponding author: Asha Nikesh Talati, MD, Department of General Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, 3009 Old Clinic Building, Campus Box 7570, Chapel Hill, NC 27599; email:

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

The authors thank the Cuyahoga County Housing Court and the Women's Health Center at University Hospitals for participating in the program.

Each author has indicated that he or she has met the journal's requirements for authorship.

Received April 26, 2018

Received in revised form July 13, 2018

Accepted July 26, 2018

© 2018 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.