Online Program

Let justice flow on like a river

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Kawika Liu, MD, PhD, JD, Barton Community Health Center, South Lake Tahoe, CA
Kaimi Sinclair, PhD, MPH, Department of Native Hawaiian Heatlh, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Let justice roll on like a river: institutionalizing social justice into a medical school curriculum INTRODUCTION: Although physicians such as Rudolf Virchow posited physicians as social justice advocates for their patients, explicit study of social justice has not been present in the curricula of many US medical schools. Because the University of Hawai'i John A Burns School of Medicine was founded as an institution to enable students who would not otherwise be able to attend the opportunity to become physicians, it is particularly appropriate that a social justice component be integrated into its curriculum. Because of this fact, a group of students and faculty petitioned the administration to start a social justice certificate. This course grew out of that certificate. DISCUSSION We reviewed other available syllabi through a Google search, but did not find much available. As a resulted, we reviewed the history of Hawai'i and the Pacific, as well as the entirety of social justice and health. A decision was made to focus on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, although looking at all features of social justice in Hawai'i. The class was approved, but due to administrative difficulties credit could not be issued. CONCLUSION Developing and instituting a social justice course and certificate presents a number obstacles, but great opportunities. Although some faculty traditionally downplay the role of social justice and health, having departmental and administrative champions greatly assists the process. Unfortunately, if not institutionalized, the loss of key personnel can impact implementation.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify the lack of social justice topics in traditional medical school curriculum Analyze the barriers to the implementation of a social justice curriculum at an allopathic medical school

Keyword(s): Social Justice, Teaching

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am boarded in internal medicine and pediatrics, have taught clinical and population health topics, and have conducted research in the areas of indigenous health and social justice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.