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Publication Date

11-6-2017

Keywords

health care disparities, graduate medical education, knowledge, attitudes, behavioral change

Abstract

Purpose: Health care disparities are an important but sometimes underrepresented topic in graduate medical education. In this study we measured the impact of educational and behavioral interventions on resident knowledge about and attitudes toward health care disparities.

Methods: Faculty from 6 residency programs designed and presented an hour-long educational intervention to emphasize the importance of and increase resident knowledge about health care disparities. Selected residents then helped design a month-long behavioral intervention to engage their peers in conversations about disparities with patients. Surveys were administered pre- and post-educational intervention as well as post-behavioral intervention in order to measure the impact each intervention had on resident knowledge and attitudes.

Results: Paired-samples t-tests showed that residents were more knowledgeable about health care disparities issues following didactic teaching (P < 0.001) and felt such issues were more important (P < 0.001). Furthermore, presence of these feelings significantly predicted the frequency of engaging in the behavioral intervention (r = 0.44, P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Two brief, simple interventions produced significant changes in resident knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding health care disparities. The educational intervention was most effective at increasing knowledge of disparities in general and encouraging participation in the behavioral intervention, while the behavioral intervention was useful in increasing knowledge of specific patients’ barriers to care.

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