Creating opportunities to engage with prospective historically marginalized trainees with clinical simulation

J Natl Med Assoc. 2023 Jan 25;S0027-9684(23)00006-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2023.01.005. Online ahead of print.


Background: Recruiting a diverse group of medical students, house officers, and faculty in medicine is challenging-particularly for predominantly white, midwest institutions that may not be racially or ethnically diverse.

Purpose: To evaluate a novel clinical simulation program, SiMfest, for recruiting house officers from historically marginalized populations to our institution to demonstrate our leadership's commitment to high-quality education and recruitment of these students to enhance diversity in academic medicine.

Methods: The Office for Health Equity and Inclusion, institutional leadership, and clinical department chairs developed a novel and engaging series of clinical simulations, SiMfest, to engage the pipeline of historically marginalized trainees and demonstrate our leadership's commitment to high-quality education. SiMfest is a two-hour simulation session presented annually (2017-2019) by our institution at the Student National Medical Association Annual Medical Education Conference.

Results: Over 800 students participated in SiMfest sessions over three years. Of the 461 participants who completed a survey after participation, 301 identified as female, and 382 indicated a racial category considered as historically marginalized in medicine-91% of whom identified as African American or Black. Thirty percent (n = 125) of respondents identified as pre-medical (e.g., undergraduate, post-baccalaureate) students and 69% (n = 289) identified as current medical students. Over 80% of students would recommend SiMfest to others. Additionally, 73% (n = 87) of pre-medical and 54% (n = 143) of medical students reported exposure to a previously unknown specialty. Thirty-three department representatives reported their SiMfest experience revealed new information about historically marginalized applicants that they may not have engaged with through the traditional application process but would be more likely to engage with in future diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Conclusion: SiMfest harnessed our institution's high-quality training, personnel resources, and diversity, equity, and inclusion values to bring historically marginalized students in medicine and department leadership together to learn about one another and offer experiential learning. SiMfest may serve as a model for other institutions to draw on their strengths to develop innovative recruitment programs that promote the education and engagement of undergraduate and medical students from historically marginalized populations while simultaneously promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion culture change.

Keywords: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color); Clinical simulation; Historically marginalized (Black/African American, Latinx, Native American/Alaska Native); House officers; Medical students; Recruitment pathway; Recruitment programs.