Experiencing racism within medical school curriculum: 2020 ICCH student symposium

Bhairavi Hariharan, Louisa Sowah Quarshie, Christoffer Amdahl, Sandra Winterburn, Gozie Offiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: To explore student experiences relating to racism, microaggressions and implicit bias within healthcare communication and medical education in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.   

Methods: Students and faculty from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, medical schools, countries, and levels of training shared their perspectives with a multi-disciplinary, international audience at the 2020 International Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH).  

Results: We highlight experiences shared at the symposium and demonstrate how the student voice can help shape the medical school curriculum. 3 main themes are discussed: 1) Institutional bias and racism, 2) Racial discrimination during medical training and 3) Recommendations for curricula change.  

Conclusion: Racism influences many aspects of student experiences and often appears in covert and institutional forms. These shared experiences reflect a common problem faced by ethnic minority medical students.  

Practice implications: Student experiences provide thoughtful recommendations for educators regarding incorporating anti-racism teaching into their curricula. It is essential that this teaching is collaborative, non-tokenistic and implemented early in the syllabus. It is beneficial for educators to build on the various existing approaches demonstrated by other institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2599-2602
Number of pages4
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number7
Early online date31 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Black Lives Matter
  • Communication skills
  • Curriculum
  • Discrimination
  • Educators
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Medical students
  • Racism

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