Health Equity Week of Action

January 16-20, 2017

Thank you for your participation! Missed the live webinars? See below for recordings of this year’s events.

The HEWA Organizing Committee is promoting the following definition of health equity to emphasize the justice we are striving to achieve:

The resolution of systematic disparities in health between social groups who have different levels of underlying social advantage and disadvantage positions in a social hierarchy (P. Braveman & S. Gruskin, 2003)

The Health Equity Week of Action (HEWA) is an annual week-long event that focuses on raising awareness about the health disparities that exist across racial, ethnic, cultural, and social groups. HEWA utilizes a variety of interactive and innovative events to inform and inspire the actions needed to eradicate such health inequities.

Day One: What is Race? – January 16

Most of us hear about race as a social construct and not a biological one, but rarely do we learn who created this idea. Why? Who does this divisive and unscientific construct benefit and why? How did the idea of race perpetuate after those people were gone? On day one, we will explore these questions in our attempt to create a shared understanding of the meaning and origins of race as a social, historical, and political construct.
Featuring: Dr. Sharon Washington

Missed the live webinar? View recording here!

Activity Ideas:
– Host a webinar viewing party with your chapter or a group on campus
– Discussing stereotypes:
– If a stereotype applies to your background, how does it make you feel? How is this feeling different from that elicited by a stereotype that does not apply to you?

Day Two: The Existence of Disparities – January 17

History has produced health disparities that disproportionately impact communities of color. This discussion will provide an overview of the social and biological determinants of health disparities as well as the interplay between them.
Featuring: Dr. Theresa Duello

Missed the live webinar? View recording here!

Activity Ideas:
– Check out this TED Talk: We need to talk about injustice by Bryan Stevenson
– Break into small group discussions then gather for a large group discussion on:
– Personal experiences: Personal encounters relating to disparities (i.e. being of a minority population and pursuing medicine), or stories that you’ve heard from friends, family, acquaintances
– Why is disparity so difficult to combat and what can we do? Compare disparities in history vs. today. What might we expect with the recent political change?

Day Three: Race & Racism in Medicine – January 18

Explore how issues of race, racism, privilege and notions of (white) supremacy are evident in medicine and medical training as well as the physician’s implicit and explicit attitudes about race.
Featuring: Dr. Jennifer Edgoose and Dr. Parvathy Pillai

Missed the live webinar? View recording here!

Activity Ideas:
– Play Sorting People game demonstrating the effect of race and privilege
– Interview a doctor on this topic
– Hold a group discussion on reflections from Dr. Jennifer Edgoose and Dr. Parvathy Pillai’s webinar


Hardeman RR, Medina EM and Kozhimannnil KB. Structural racism and supporting black lives – The role of health professionals. N Engl J Med.2016;375(22):2113-5). (Structural Racism and Supporting Black Lives)
Dorothy Roberts TEDMED 2015 talk: “The problem with race-based medicine” (14 minutes and 36 seconds)

Day Four: Talking Race, Ethnicity, and Culture – January 19

Today we will think about how to participate in tricky and intimidating conversations around race, ethnicity, and culture as well as how to ACTIVELY raise awareness about these topics.

Activity Ideas:
– Check out this TED Talk: A family tree for humanity by Spencer Wells
– Play Vantage Point game with a partner or group
– Hold a large group discussion and/or reflection about overall takeaways from HEWA
– Write your own thoughts and reflections from this week and what you think you will do differently from now on, if anything?

Day Five: Call for Action – January 20

Together we will explore action items toward moving our respective schools toward a collective vision of the institution as an anti-racist and ethnically and culturally-sensitive medical school and hospital.
Featuring: Luis Perez with Baylor College of Medicine

Missed the live webinar? View recording here!


HEWA 2016 Highlights

“Lessons from History: A Look at the Tuskegee Syphilis Study”
podcast episode from the John Cowley Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities by SUNY Downstate

Race and Language in Healthcare:The Impact on Quality of Care
Aswita Tan‐McGrory, MBA, MSPH

WhiteCoats4BlackLivesStep-by-Step Action guide–Set up a meeting with your Dean!

Follow AMSA REACH on Facebook.