Developing a medical school curriculum on racism: multidisciplinary, multiracial conversations informed by public health critical race praxis (PHCRP)

Rachel R Hardeman, Diana J Burgess, Katy Murphy, David J Satin, Julie Nielsen, Teddie M Potter, J'Mag Karbeah, Makeda Zulu-Gillespie, Antonia Apolinario-Wilcoxon, Christopher J Reif, Brooke A Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: To fight racism and its potential influence on health, health care professionals must recognize, name, understand and talk about racism. These conversations are difficult, particularly when stakes feel high-in the workplace and in interracial groups. We convened a multidisciplinary, multi-racial group of professionals in two phases of this exploratory project to develop and pilot an intervention to promote effective dialogues on racism for first year medical students at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Methods: Informed by a Public Health Critical Race Praxis (PHCRP) methodology in Phase I, initial content was developed by a group of seven women primarily from racial and ethnic minority groups. In a later phase, they joined with five White (primarily male) colleagues to discuss racism and race. Participants met monthly for 12 months from Jan 2016-Dec 2016. All participants were recruited by study PI. An inductive approach was used to analyze meeting notes and post intervention reflections to describe lessons learned from the process of employing a PHCRP methodology to develop the aforementioned curriculum with a multidisciplinary and multi-racial group of professionals dedicated to advancing conversations on racial equity. Results: Participants from Phase I described the early meetings as “powerful,” allowing them to “bring their full selves” to a project that convened individuals who are often marginalized in their professional environments. In Phase II, which included White colleagues, the dynamics shifted: “…the voices from Phase I became quieter…”; “I had to put on my armor and fight in those later meetings…” Conclusions: The process of employing PHCRP in the development of an intervention about racism led to new insights on what it means to discuss racism among those marginalized and those with privilege. Conversations in each phase yielded new insights and strategies to advance a conversation about racism in health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Ethnicity & Disease Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Medical education
  • Multiracial conversations
  • Public health critical race praxis
  • Racism


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