Behind the Poster: An Interview with Tina Simpson, MD, MPH and Latesha Elopre, MD, MSPH

April 8, 2021
Dr. Tina Simpson presented her team's work in the poster, Implementing an Anti-Racism Workshop at an Academic University in the Deep South for Graduate Medical Education, at the 2021 ACGME Annual Educational Conference.

At the 2021 ACGME Annual Educational Conference, Dr. Tina Simpson presented her team’s work in the poster Implementing an Anti-Racism Workshop at an Academic University in the Deep South for Graduate Medical Education.

Primary Author(s): Tina Simpson, MD, MPH; Latesha Elopre, MD, MSPH
Co-Authors: Justin Evans; Alice Goepfert, MD

ACGME: Tell us about your academic and professional roles.

Simpson: I serve as the Adolescent Medicine Fellowship and Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Training Program Director, as well as the Vice Chair for Faculty Development for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

ACGME: Can you briefly describe your project for us?

Simpson: During the summer of 2020, we developed an interactive anti-racism workshop for graduate medical education faculty members, trainees, and staff members at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Content included an explanation of race as a social construct; manifestations of racism to include definitions of microaggressions, colorblindness, tokenism, and stereotypes; levels of racism (i.e., internalized, personally-mediated, institutionalized); the impact of racism on health; and concepts of anti-racism. The workshop also included facilitated small group discussions related to witnessed racism, and how to use anti-racism principles to dismantle racism.

ACGME: What inspired you to do this project?

Simpson: The COVID-19 pandemic and the social justice movement in early 2020 awakened many Americans to the health disparities and health care inequities affecting Black communities. This heightened awareness strengthened the call for health care organizations to better address social determinants of health, like racism. Because physicians can play an important role in dismantling racism and advancing the health of Black communities, anti-racism curricula are crucial for graduate medical education programs.

ACGME: What did you discover?

Simpson: Between July and August 2020, four workshops were delivered to 131 attendees. Sixty participants completed post-workshop surveys. The majority or participants, 95%, agreed they could apply knowledge to their work and found the workshop useful. After the workshop, 76% thought differently about the health care impact of institutionalized racism. Over two-thirds reported being able to better identify disparities and better identify and communicate about racism.

ACGME: What was the main takeaway?

Simpson: Participants were eager to see an interactive longitudinal curriculum with a series of lectures and discussions to build momentum around culture change.

ACGME: Who could benefit from this?

Simpson: While our project was designed for the GME community, it is our hope that the true beneficiaries would be the patients and communities we serve.

ACGME: Any additional follow-up plans?

Simpson: There are ongoing plans to develop a longitudinal anti-racism curriculum.