Health Equity Scholars Program

An Online Learning Community and Course (October 2015 – April 2016)


The Health Equity Scholars program explores being active within the context of a systems-oriented approach to enhancing people’s status to address health inequalities and injustices in the United States and abroad. The program is based on the principle that differences in status generate differences in health outcomes, unlike the conventional view of health disparities that points the finger at access and personal behavior. Along with building an argument for this perspective, the Program will provide Scholars with practical skills and tools to educate their peers and organize initiatives to address health disparities in their communities by studying current initiatives around the country addressing health inequity and hearing from experts on the subject.

Course Structure

5 modules total (October 2015-February 2016)

1 module/month with weekly assignments

Each module will cover a different topic. Each topic will relate to inequity and each will focus on health –outcome, delivery, lack of access, etc.

Each module will involve the same routine:

Week 1 = reading assignments (articles, studies, etc.) and videos (such as Ted Talks) for background info

Week 2 = answer questions written by me and submit them to me via email

Week 3 = respond to additional questions written by me in response to classmates’ anonymous  responses

Week 4 = webinar discussion with expert

During Week 4, I will post ideas regarding ways for scholars to become involved with specific issues. I will list organizations and their missions, websites, articles for additional reading, expert contacts, and relevant state/federal legislation. Scholars will be encouraged to choose at least one such “activity” for each module.

Examples of Module Topics and Descriptions

Introduction to health equity

The primary purpose of this module is to introduce the topic of health inequity. I’d like to provide a framework for how to think about inequities as they apply to healthcare and to argue why it’s critically important for (all) healthcare professionals to think about inequities. How do we define inequity as it pertains to healthcare? What are some examples? How can we develop a systematic/reproducible/teachable method of thinking about health-related inequities? These questions (and others) will shape our discussion. Information from the Millenium Development Goals ( will provide some module content. I will introduce Michael Marmot ( and The Status Syndrome.

Syringe exchange Programs

This module will focus on how harm reduction programs relate to healthcare inequity. Specifically we will be discussing syringe exchange programs. I will be working with Jean Lee and Mary Beth Levin to provide module content and a direct connection to their work with AAN.

Housing is health

This module will focus on how housing insecurity affects health. We will be investigating trends in housing (as they pertain to health) in a historical context. We will also discuss efforts currently underway to combat housing injustice. I will be working with Jackie Britz to provide module content and a direct connection to her work with CPH.

Ebola This module will explore several health-related inequities as they pertain to the Ebola outbreak that began in March 2014. I will be working with Isaiah Cochran and Britney Howard to provide module content and a direct connection to their work with GHA.

Reproductive health

This module will focus primarily on women’s rights – how they relate to reproduction, contraception and abortion in contemporary America. I will be working with Katie Grosh at Medical Students for Choice and with Amanda Allen at the Center for Reproductive Rights to provide module content and a direct connection to their work.

Session Schedule

*All sessions will be held at 8:45 pm EST

Date Session Title
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 Introduction to Healthcare Equity
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Ebola
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Harm Reduction Program
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 Housing Insecurity
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Reproductive Justice

Learning Objectives

By the end of the program, students should be able to:

  • Understand Health Equities Theory. This includes an understanding of the social determinants of health and why health disparities exists.
  • Understand how specific topics such as food deserts, transportation issues and environmental factors and how they contribute to health inequity.
  • Have the skills needed to successfully design and execute a project related to the field of Health Equity which is encouraged to be presented at the 2015 AMSA National Convention.

Participant Expectations

Medical, premedical, and public health students who are interested in topics related to health disparities, public health, and addressing the underlying causes of inequalities in health are encouraged to apply. Each Health Equity Scholar must be a member of AMSA at the start of the program. Information about registration and membership is available here.

In order for a participant to effective learn and apply the skills presented in this program, it is crucial that each participant is present for all aspects of the program.

The expectation is that each participant will complete all the mandatory assigned readings before the session, participate in an hour to hour and a half long group topic discussions, and attend all the webinars. In total, we expect that each month will require approximately 4 hours of webinar time plus outside preparation time. Participants will also be expected to design and implement a project related to health equity). Participants are encouraged to attend the AMSA National Conference in for a program graduation, but attendance at Convention is not mandatory to participate in the program.


Program Registration Fees
AMSA Student Member $40
Non-Member $140*

* Non-member fee includes AMSA membership, if applicable

For More Information, Contact

Alison Case, MD, Education and Advocacy Fellow, AMSA
Alexander Curtis, Scholars Program Coordinator