Teaching Racial Affinity Caucusing as a Tool to Learn About Racial Health Inequity Through an Experiential Workshop

Fam Med. 2020 Oct;52(9):656-660. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2020.596649.

Abstract

Background and objectives: In its landmark report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, the Institute of Medicine concluded that unconscious or implicit negative racial attitudes and stereotypes contribute to poorer health outcomes for patients of color. We describe and report on the outcome of teaching a workshop on the tool of racial affinity caucusing to address these issues.

Methods: Applying the framework described by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training, we developed a 90-minute workshop teaching racial affinity caucusing to family medicine educators interested in racial health disparities. The workshop included didactic and experiential components as well as a panel discussion. We administered pre- and posttests.

Results: Participants' (n=53) impression of and confidence in implementing racial affinity caucusing significantly increased following the workshop from a mean pretest score of 5.40 to a mean posttest score of 7.12 (P<.01) on a scale of 1 to 9. Ninety-two percent of participants indicated that the workshop made them more likely to think about implementing this tool at their home institutions (P<.01).

Conclusions: This study demonstrated the first exploration in medical education of racial affinity caucusing and illustrated that it can be easily implemented in residency programs as an effort to address racial health inequities. Though the participating educators were mostly unfamiliar with it, the workshop was an effective introduction to this tool and by the end, educators reported increased comfort and enthusiasm for racial affinity caucusing, regardless of their preexisting levels of knowledge of or comfort with the tool. In addition, the overwhelming majority of the participants felt they could implement it at their respective institutions.