Experiencing racism within medical school curriculum: 2020 ICCH student symposium

Patient Educ Couns. 2022 Jul;105(7):2599-2602. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2021.12.018. Epub 2021 Dec 31.


Objective: To explore student experiences relating to racism, microaggressions and implicit bias within healthcare communication and medical education in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement METHODS: Students and faculty from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, medical schools, countries, and levels of training shared their perspectives with a multi-disciplinary, international audience at the 2020 International Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH).

Results: We highlight experiences shared at the symposium and demonstrate how the student voice can help shape the medical school curriculum. 3 main themes are discussed: 1) Institutional bias and racism, 2) Racial discrimination during medical training and 3) Recommendations for curricula change.

Conclusion: Racism influences many aspects of student experiences and often appears in covert and institutional forms. These shared experiences reflect a common problem faced by ethnic minority medical students.

Practice implications: Student experiences provide thoughtful recommendations for educators regarding incorporating anti-racism teaching into their curricula. It is essential that this teaching is collaborative, non-tokenistic and implemented early in the syllabus. It is beneficial for educators to build on the various existing approaches demonstrated by other institutions.

Keywords: Black Lives Matter; Communication skills; Curriculum; Discrimination; Educators; Healthcare professionals; Medical students; Racism.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Racism*
  • Schools, Medical
  • Students, Medical*