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Research at UHEDI


This spring, the University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion office has been active in disseminating scientific knowledge around our work. In addition to working with institutional leaders to transition our offices to be in harmony with the intent and language of House Bill 261, we have had some recent additions to the scientific literature that are designed to help motivate and improve the health sciences educational experience for all.

First, there are two professional development papers that were published in the journal PRiMER—Peer-reviewed Reports in Medical Education Research. For the first one, we teamed up with the chief wellness officer at U of U Health—Amy Locke, M.D., FAAFP—who was instrumental in the publication of “Writing for Personal and Professional Wellness.” This paper uses the National Plan for Health Workforce Well-being, published by the National Academy of Medicine, as a guide to incorporate writing into the wellness initiatives included in the plan. The article focused on two of them: “support mental health and reduce stigma” and “create and sustain positive work and learning environments and culture.”

For the second one, Kendall M. Campbell, M.D., and José E. Rodríguez, M.D., FAAFP, wrote a paper on the curriculum vitae, and how it creates a narrative. The article, “Gearing Up: Accelerating your CV to Promotion and Tenure,” tackles the difficult questions of what to include in the CV and how it helps faculty members see what CV items could be important in promotion and tenure decisions. This article, and the one above, were both first conceptualized by Campbell and Rodríguez in their work with the Leadership Through Scholarship Fellowship, which is a faculty development fellowship for early-career family medicine faculty sponsored by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

Renée Betancourt, M.D., a family physician at the University of Pennsylvania, is the lead author on another publication addressing disparities in the academic space. Her article—entitled, “Minority Tax on Medical Students: A Review of the Literature and Mitigation Recommendations,”—was created with multiple co-authors, among which is Donna Baluchi, MLIS, whose outstanding literature review skills helped take this project to the finish line. It is a continuation of the discussion on faculty inequities first described as a “tax” in the article, “Addressing Disparities in Academic Medicine: What of the Minority Tax?,” published by Rodríguez; Campbell and Linda H. Pololi, MBBS, FRCP. Betancourt’s work describes the “student minority tax” addressing medical student disparities and the disproportionate uncompensated tasks that are placed upon those students from minoritized identities.

Multiple family physicians from the University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine (Erika Anne Sullivan, M.D., M.S.; Bernadette Kiraly, M.D.; Tiffany Ho, M.D., MPH and José E. Rodríguez, M.D., FAAFP) teamed up with like-minded physicians and leaders from across the nation to publish “Transgender Care is Family Medicine: A Call to Action.” This article chronicles the need for gender-affirming care and the role that family physicians play in that care. This article provides resources and opportunities for family physicians to increase their knowledge and skills in gender-affirming care.

In 2022, six faculty members and a staff member participated in the Healthcare Executive Diversity and Inclusion Certificate (HEDIC) program offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges. While the University of Utah Health cohort was the largest of any single institution cohort, the individuals who participated presented multiple projects at the end of the program. The coordination and interrelation of those projects was finally published in 2024, with multiple authors from across the nation, including the chief diversity and inclusion officer from the AAMC, David Acosta, M.D. The paper, entitled “Building an Equity-Centered Ecosystem: University of Utah Health as a Microcosm,” presents a roadmap and model for health sciences professional programs to continue to have learning environments where diversity is valued and utilized to improve care for patients.

The Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM) has created a committee to help guide family medicine chairs create learning and professional environments where faculty, students and residents can thrive. This committee has recently released “Departmental Metrics to Guide Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Academic Family Medicine Departments.” Rodríguez worked with leaders from across the country to create a model for measuring the success of equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. In the challenging times ahead, academic chairs in medical schools will likely be the ones responsible for diversity in their departments, as “titled” diversity leaders are no longer permitted in 12 states. This article provides an important roadmap for chairs of family medicine, which can be used in other specialties as well.

It has been a busy four months, and there are additional papers that have been published, but they will be discussed in a later article. In the meantime, UHEDI continues to produce the science behind our work, and we continue to run the programs that help fuel the wonderful learning environment to which we aspire.

José E. Rodríguez MD, FAAFP

May 03, 2024 9:31 AM