Harvard Medical School's gender curriculum part of DEI initiative: report

The report lists new competencies designed to 'help educators design or adapt curricula and help educators and learners in their individual professional development and DEI journeys.'

Harvard Medical School allocated $1.5 million to better equip students for situations with ‘sexual and gender minority patients.’

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published a report this summer detailing new steps to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the medical field. 

The report is a 36-page summary of a year’s worth of “extensive feedback from people engaged in health professions education, faculty development, research, direct patient care, and experts in DEI.” 

The report pointed to other universities whose medical schools successfully implemented DEI into the curriculum. 

It cited a 2018 Harvard Medical School (HMS) initiative that sought to “integrate [Sexual and Gender Minority] health content across the curriculum.”

Campus Reform spoke with HMS Professor Jennifer Potter regarding the medical school’s initiative. She told Campus Reform that “Harvard Medical School is proud to be at the forefront” of medical schools training students on this issue. 

According to the university’s website, HMS’s “three-year plan to amend the core M.D. curriculum” will equip medical students to better handle situations involving “sexual and gender minority patients.” 

A donor gift for the initiative totaled $1.5 million, according to the Harvard Gazette

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Per the report, the “extensive feedback” was then used to create a list of competencies that medical students, doctors, and university faculty should include in the medical practice to “help educators design or adapt curricula and help educators and learners in their individual professional development and DEI journeys.” 

The list of competencies is broken down into three domains: diversity, equity, and inclusion. Each domain is further divided into career stages: “Entering Residency,” “Entering Practice,” or “Faculty Physician.”

The AAMC report also recommends that educators emphasize anti-racism and white supremacy in their curricula.

One such model program cited by the report comes from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in New York City, where its Center for Anti-Racism in Practice (CAP) offers a series of workshops focusing on “confronting racism and bias.” 

Students are taught how to identify, determine the impact of, and create changes to combat white supremacy in healthcare.

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“After completing the three workshops, participants work one-on-one with CAP facilitators to implement and assess the effectiveness of anti-racist pedagogy, policies, and practices within their courses,” the report states.

AAMC directed Campus Reform to an op-ed by Preisdent and CEO David Skorton M.D. regarding the report. 

In an effort to make medical education pay more formal attention to social drivers of health and issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), with which we are affiliated, has developed and is releasing today a new set of competencies for medical education across the continuum that we believe are paramount to effectively and compassionately care for patients everywhere,” Skorton wrote. 

While the report does state that the competencies are not meant to be used as accreditation requirements or “high-stakes assessments,” it is noted that the findings of the report should be used to give “more detail and depth” to DEI curricula. 

Campus Reform reached out to AAMC, Harvard Medical School, and Icahn School of Medicine for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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