According to an analysis led by Penn Medicine researchers, medical school curriculums play a role in perpetuating physician bias. The researchers identified key areas in which curriculum misrepresented race in class discussions, presentations, and assessments.
“In medical school, 20 years ago, we often learned that higher rates of hypertension in certain racial and ethnic groups, was due to genetic predisposition, personal behaviors, or unfortunate circumstances. Now we know this is not true. There are no characteristics innate to racial and ethnic groups, biological or otherwise, that adequately explains these differences. They stem, instead, from differential experiences in our society—it’s structural racism, not race,” says the study’s senior author Jaya Aysola, assistant dean of Inclusion and Diversity in the Perelman School of Medicine and executive director at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Equity Advancement.
“When we speak of dismantling structural racism, we must begin with medical education, where these sorts of race-based biases are still being reinforced in the classroom.”