Inaugural National Health Equity Grand Rounds Addresses Root Causes of Health Inequity

February 8, 2023

February 7 marked the inaugural session of the National Health Equity Grand Rounds, founded by the ACGME, American Medical Association (AMA), National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, and RespectAbility and supported by numerous organizations. The event, titled “History of Racism in US Health Care: Root Causes of Today’s Hierarchy and Systems of Power,” is the first of four events scheduled for 2023. It explored how health care can perpetuate discrimination and the history of racism in health care, and identified opportunities to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the individual, institutional, and structural levels. The event was free to the public and had more than 4,500 .

The event was headlined by keynote speaker Harriet A. Washington, MA, a widely published science writer, editor, and ethicist. In her talk, she explored the history of structural inequities and medical experimentation. A panel with leaders in health care, including Rupa Marya, MD; Jack Resneck Jr., MD; and David Ansell, MD, MPH, followed her.

Introducing the event and speakers were Emily Cleveland Manchanda, MD, MPH, director for Social Justice Education and Implementation at the AMA, and William A. McDade, MD, PhD chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at the ACGME.

“When I was a first-year medical student in 1980, 50 percent of Black medical students came from [Meharry Medical College and Howard University]. The rationale to train Black physicians was to ensure there would be a physician mass to take care of a population that probably would be undertreated by white physicians. We have not graduated enough Black, Latinx, Indigenous physicians over the last 40 years to satisfy the demand for concordant care so all physicians must learn to embrace cultural humility,” said Dr. McDade as part of his introduction.

Future events in the National Health Equity Grand Rounds series include:

  • Leadership Engagement & Organizational Change: Follow the Money! Understanding the Structural Incentives for Inequity in Health Care and Beyond – May 9, 2023
  • Education/Training for Workforce: Academic Elitism: Exclusivity and Dominant Culture in Health Education and Training – August 8, 2023
  • Data and Community Accountability: Making the Invisible Visible through Data: From Racism, Neglect, and Exploitation to Transparency, Accountability, and Repair – October 10, 2023

The recording of the event is available  on the National Health Equity Grand Rounds website. Continuing medical education (CME) credit is available at no cost to event participants; CME information is also available on the website, as is the opportunity to register for the next event in the series.