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Diversity & Inclusion

Antiracism Initiatives at University of Rochester Family Medicine Residency

In 2018, residency administration began efforts to explicitly combat implicit bias. Our approach draws on both a tradition of social justice initiatives at the residency and our acknowledgment that a formalized approach to countering systemic bias in medicine is long overdue. We are focused specifically on anti-racism, though our efforts apply to other kinds of bias as well. Below is a brief summary of our multi-pronged, ongoing interventions. Please feel free to contact any of us on residency administration if you need more information on any or all of these domains!

  • Recruitment - Research shows that one of the key components of residency applications, the Medical Student Performance Evaluation or Dean’s Letter, is measurably biased in the descriptors that evaluators use for people of color and people who identify as female. Additional research has shown that virtually every step of the educational process is also subject to implicit bias. One of the most evidence-based ways to decrease implicit bias in our residency recruitment process is to implement structured interviews. Our interview questions reflect the main values of our program and are edited each year based on feedback from residents and faculty.
  • Curriculum/Didactics- In addition to integrating anti-racism elements into all didactic teaching using a validated bias checklist, we have dedicated teaching on anti-racism skill-building and lectures on racism in medicine.
  • Resident-Led Initiatives - Despite the intense responsibilities of residency, several residents identified the need for additional opportunities to develop a personal approach to antiracism and founded an Antiracism Learning Group. Residents coordinated discussion groups attended by both faculty and residents.
  • Department-Wide Initiatives - Our department has engaged two community experts, Maisha Enaharo, MS, MPH, and Kit Miller, Director Emeritus of the M.K. Ghandi Institute for Nonviolence. They facilitate regular affinity groups for departmental leadership, as well as department-wide trainings for staff, faculty, and residents. We currently have a “Change Team,” with staff, resident and faculty representatives, who meet regularly to advance our anti-racism work in the provision of clinical care. Areas of focus have included identifying and eliminating sources of bias in our process for patient warning and dismissal letters from the practice and for prenatal drug screening.
  • Institution-Wide Initiatives - The Association of Minority Residents and Fellows is a community dedicated to the creation of safe spaces for University of Rochester Medical Center under-represented in medicine (URiM) minorities. Our residency provides protected time for our URiM residents to attend monthly meetings, except during obligatory inpatient service rotations where coverage may not be available.
  • Community Participation - Our residency partners with two community groups to help increase the number of under-represented in medicine physicians and the entire healthcare workforce. We host a chapter of, a program originally created by the Boy Scouts of America that is devoted to providing immersive experiences and mentorship in different careers. The program is open to all youth between the ages of 14-21 and included many young teens from under-resourced backgrounds in the communities that we serve. We also have a partnership with the University of Rochester’s Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS). Part of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), we serve as a shadowing site for undergraduate students aspiring to careers in medicine.