July 29, 2015

Diversity boot camp prepares MS-1 students for medical careers

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bootcamp1Last week, 48 first year medical students at the School of Medicine’s first annual Diversity Boot Camp learned about how a thorough understanding of diversity and health disparities can make a positive difference in patient care.

The two-day boot camp, hosted by The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center and the Department of Medical Education, consisted of various presentations and discussions on topics like “Unnatural Causes- In Sickness and in Wealth” and “Collaborating with Communities.”

All discussions were facilitated by leading voices from the Birmingham area on health disparities and cultural competency, most speakers hailing from UAB.

 “There is a lot of health disparities research going on at UAB,” said Nadia Richardson, Ph.D., associate director of the ODMA. “We have a lot of in-house passion and expertise here.”

This faculty passion is matched by the incoming MS-1 students.

“We have one third of the incoming first year students here attending this event as an elective,” Richardson said. “They’re taking the initiative to come here pre-orientation to learn about cultural competency and health disparities.”

This group is reflective of the incoming students and current medical students’ demand for curriculum about these topics.

 “I like the panel discussions with real life examples of patient encounters,” said Catherine Brown, a first-year medical student who attended the boot camp. “I like hearing the honest perspectives of physicians at UAB.”