A qualitative study to explore experiences of anti-racism teaching in medical residency programs across the United States and subsequent creation of the SPOC (Support - Pipeline - Outcomes - Community) Model to guide future curricula design

BMC Med Educ. 2024 Apr 8;24(1):382. doi: 10.1186/s12909-024-05305-5.


Background: Racism contributes to health disparities and is a serious threat to public health. Teaching physicians about racism, how to address it in medical practice, and developing high quality and sustainable curricula are essential to combating racism.

Objective: This study aimed to (1) describe the experience of racism and anti-racism teaching in residency programs, and elicit recommendations from key informants, and (2) use these data and formative research to develop recommendations for other residencies creating, implementing, and evaluating anti-racism curricula in their own programs.

Methods: From May to July 2023, 20 faculty and residents were recruited via convenience sampling for key informant interviews conducted via Microsoft Teams. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded. An initial list of themes was developed using theoretical frameworks, and then refined using a grounded-theory approach. A brief online optional anonymous demographic survey was sent to participants in August of 2023. RESULTS: Eighty percent (20/25) of participants approached were interviewed. Seventy-five percent (15/20) answered a brief optional demographic survey. Seven themes emerged: (1) Racism in medicine is ubiquitous; (2) Anti-racism teaching in medicine varies widely; (3) Sustainability strategies should be multifaceted and include recruitment, resource allocation, and outcome measures; (4) Resources are widely available and accessible if one knows where to look; (5) Outcomes and metrics of success should include resident- faculty-, patient- community-, and system-focused outcomes; (6) Curricular strategies should be multilayered, longitudinal, and woven into the curriculum; and (7) Self-reflection and discomfort are necessary parts of the process. CONCLUSIONS: This study is one of the first to qualitatively examine perspectives of key stakeholders invested in anti-racism teaching for residents. The Support - Pipeline - Outcomes - Community (SPOC) Model, that was developed using information collected during this study, can be used in the future as a guide for others working to design and implement sustainable and high quality anti-racism curricula for residents.

Keywords: Anti-racism; Community; Curriculum design; Medical education; Residency; SPOC model; Systems thinking.

MeSH terms

  • Antiracism
  • Curriculum
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Public Health
  • United States