Through this elective, participants can take a deeper dive into health policy. “The Larger Context: Health Systems, Policy, and Public Health for Clinicians” is a collaborative effort that will bring residents, students, and policy makers together to experience and learn the health care system through lectures from national experts and site visits. The course will illustrate how the patients you have been caring for in your clinical rotations in the hospital and in the community are affected by the larger health care system. Our faculty lecturers, as well as invited outside experts who work in health policy and public health organizations, will speak to the students about important health system issues and how to incorporate public health and public policy knowledge into their future careers. We will take advantage of our training location in the nation’s capital and have the students visit various health policy and public health agencies and institutions. The course is a four-week elective for medical students, the first two weeks of the elective are open to residents.
The Social Medicine & Health Equity (SMHE) Track aims to provide a multidisciplinary and longitudinal opportunity for MedStar residents and fellows to explore the social, racial, cultural, and historical forces that shape health and illness as well as gain an understanding of U.S. health policy, community engagement, and advocacy, and their implications for medical practice and health care delivery.
These areas are explored through monthly touchpoints, quarterly half-day site visits, and an asynchronous curriculum curated using Canvas. Participants choose at least one local or domestic elective in the spirit of the track or have the opportunity to work with a community site throughout their two years. Each participant works closely with a faculty mentor to complete and present a capstone project.
Applications will be accepted each winter for the upcoming academic year. Residents may apply during or after their intern year, with at least two years left in their residency, so that they can complete the two-year track. Residents must be in good academic standing and receive approval from their program director. Fellows may also apply, however residents will be given priority in the application process.
Applications for the July 2024-2025 cohort will be available January 2024.
Below is a sample of topics covered during our two-year didactic curriculum:
Participants in the Social Medicine & Health Equity Track are expected to dedicate at least two weeks of their elective time to a rotation in the spirit of the track.
Testimonials for the Social Medicine & Health Equity Track
“The Social Medicine and Health Equity Track is easily my favorite component of residency. The monthly meetings consistently provide the knowledge and nuance needed to understand topics such as homelessness, the opioid epidemic, refugee health, etc. I particularly love the academic half days, because they feature vastly different models of how we as physicians can address disparities. Although the track is designed to provide a broad understanding of social medicine and health equity, I have also been able to deepen my interests in teaching social medicine, disparities among the HIV/AIDS population, and health policy through the electives and capstone project.
The SHME community has also been extremely important to me. It consists of colleagues from different residencies across the MedStar system, and I feel comfortable reaching out to the group to get dinner, share articles and discuss current events, go to conferences, advocacy events, etc. I love hearing and learning from my co-resident’s perspectives. Furthermore, the leadership is very intentional about finding mentors to help us with our projects and overall professional development. I am grateful this track was created and the opportunity to be part of its inaugural class, as it has catalyzed my personal and professional growth.”
“I was so excited when the Social Medicine Health Equity Track became available to residents at the end of my intern year. Not only have I become a part of a group of residents that share the same passion for advocacy, but I have learned to incorporate social determinants of health into patient care.
The connections I have made through this opportunity have opened the door to several electives in homeless and social medicine. Even more, the mentorship and guidance have encouraged me to pursue fellowship training. I am confident that with the information I have gained from this experience, I am providing more inclusive, patient-centered care to the most vulnerable.”