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Health Care is More than Care: Preparing the Next Generation to Improve Health Disparities

Objective: Health disparities exist in many populations for several health conditions. The University of Houston Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine has developed pre-clerkship curriculum that addresses clinically focused topics, including that related to health disparities. Through project-based learning, learners integrate biomedical, clinical, health systems, and behavioral sciences, and produce a self-directed group presentation. The group discusses health disparities related to their assigned topic, create a concept map demonstrating social factors related to outcomes, discuss strategies and solutions, and identify community-based organizations that mitigate related health disparities.


Methods: Through an interactive discussion of the related health-disparity curriculum from learner and educator perspectives,  the following is planned:

 1) Discuss the value of training learners to better understand the impacts of social determinants of health and the purpose of integrating epidemiology, public health education, and the input of local community allies on key clinical topics.

 2) Analyze a curriculum created to address health disparities that involves community-based panels, faculty-guided instruction, self-directed and small group learning that culminates in student presentations concentrating on their assigned health disparity topic.

 3) Review some of the materials and proceedings of the current clinical-focused curriculum that aims to educate and propagate improvement of inequities in health and health care.

 4) Engage participants to share other curricular ideas and strategies regarding health disparity educational topics and to learn from one another about incorporating related topics into curriculum across the continuum of medical education.


Results: Attendees will actively review materials in-person that have been utilized for health disparity curricular work. A student who has been through one iteration of the curriculum as well as a faculty member who was engaged and been a small group facilitator for three years for the related curriculum are presenting together. The conference attendees will be engaged in active discussion regarding working with community members, other organizations, resources, faculty needs, and learners in better understanding and working towards improving inequities in health and health care. Some curricular guides and products will be offered and discussed, including previously utilized learner pre-work guides, learner-produced concept maps, and course director rubric content for presentation review.


Conclusion/ Discussion: There are many examples of known health disparities. Through innovative, interdisciplinary-based curriculum one of the objectives is to facilitate skills for life-long learning and self-directed learning to work in a team to educate others regarding social determinants of health that affect individual and community health issues. A course has been developed and revised that involves utilization of learner pre-work, utilization of faculty and guest speakers, case study reviews, creation of concept maps, development of AIM statements, bias discussion and reflection, self-directed work with feedback, and group presentations with peer involvement. Some of this work will be shared so that we can all learn from one another to help improve inequities in health and health care in patients and populations and \"arise smarter through curricular innovations and improvements.\" This curriculum-based session offers discussion and take-home resources for addressing health disparities and engaging learners in a project-based opportunity.

Related APGO Publications/Modules: Health Systems Science, Identify barriers to accessing preventive health care services: 1) personal, 2) provider, 3) community/local; Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that build trust by addressing relevant factors, including culture, ethnicity, language/literacy, ses, spirituality/religion, age, sexual orientation and disability; Demonstrate interpersonal communication skills to establish trust and cooperation between patient and provider and assure patient\'s comfort and dignity; Describe the role cognitive biases may play in the diagnostic process; Work cooperatively with patients, their social supports, and other members of the health care team

Topics: Faculty Development Seminar, 2023, Student, Resident, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Osteopathic Faculty, Residency Director, Residency Coordinator, Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Professionalism, Systems-Based Practice & Improvement, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, GME, UME, Quality & Safety, Independent Study, Problem-Based Learning, Team-Based Learning, Public Health,

General Information

Student,Resident,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,Osteopathic Faculty,Residency Director,Residency Coordinator,
Patient Care,Medical Knowledge,Professionalism,Systems-Based Practice & Improvement,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,
Quality & Safety,Independent Study,Problem-Based Learning,Team-Based Learning,Public Health,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Kimberly Pilkinton, MD, MPH; Adebosola Karunwi, MPH

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