Residents Assess Antiracism/Social Justice Program

By Dennis Archambault

On June 9, the first group of “COVID-certified” residents completed their training at Authority Health. This group not only endured the pandemic, but they were also sensitized by the cumulative effect of police killings of African Americans – to the degree that they called on Authority Health leadership to do something. Loretta Bush, president and CEO, together with Dr. Ernie Yoder, director of Medical Education, established an antiracism curriculum to enhance residency training and improve our organization’s understanding and commitment to social justice. The program complements the population health and trauma informed care training that residents receive, in addition to their residency work. We asked both departing and ongoing residents to comment on their experience after two years into the program. Here are some comments:

Jermaine Hogstrom, Internal Medicine:

This was an effective way of addressing the concerns expressed during the summer of 2020 because it allowed the residents to come together and understand each other’s perspectives on the social injustices that were occurring. I believe it was very engaging because it provides a safe environment for residents of all backgrounds to discuss social issues and to voice their opinions which brings understanding from a broader perspective. This program has had a significant impact on me as a physician by allowing me to understand social injustices from different perspectives. It has also helped me develop a plan on how to combat racism as I move forward in my career.

Jeremy Hogstrom, Internal Medicine:

I think this was an effective way of addressing the concerns expressed by our residents because it brings us all together to have an open discussion and to express our concerns and opinions in a safe place. I think the content was very effective and well thought out. The fact that there were people from different backgrounds and cultures was eye-opening to different types of  biases and issues that exist. As a physician, this program has made me more in tune with a variety of biases that exist especially within the field of medicine. It has given me a foundation of how to proceed forward in addressing biases in my own workplace.

Ariela Alonso, Family Medicine:

I feel in the current social climate going on in the nation, it allowed us to have conversations that were needed. Authority Health has a very diverse staff including residents but there is so much to learn about our different cultures and how to handle certain situations in not just our field but in the environment. We have been able to have hard conversations that are uncomfortable but needed to be had. The content is very informative and allows you to open up and explore a new way of thinking and approach with something you may have not had put focus into prior. It was interactive and thought-provoking, allowing us to reassess our words and actions toward others and how it could impact them as a person. Coming from a low-income population and being Hispanic, I have experienced my fair share of microaggressions and racism, but it has changed how I treat others especially treating patients of different ethnicities. There is still a lot of room to learn, and I consider every day a new day to reassess my actions and provide a safe place for my patients. I’ve learned that sometimes my perceived thoughts or stereotypes can affect a physician’s goal of treatment, but I want to break that barrier. This program has given me the tools.

Anthony Adetomiwa, Pediatrics:

Provocative, engaging, and effective. We thoroughly enjoyed the interactive and brainstorming sessions in the breakout rooms, I wish there was a way to still have the items for discussion open on zoom even while in the breakout rooms… It forces me to continue to be introspective on my means of practice and how to embark on a life-long journey of touching patient lives especially by the means of being culturally appropriate.

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