Bridging the Disparity Gap

Within the first week of medical school, students begin taking part in the Health Care Disparities in America course, an innovative learning experience where medical students learn first hand about the disparities within the US medical system. Under the direction of Dr. Monica Vela, Associate Professor of Medicine, students visit community sites to learn how race and culture, ethnic biases, language barriers, and a general lack of resources can impact health.  The course is funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change program.

In partnership with the Urban Health Initiative, student projects developed during the course have led to free breast and pelvic cancer screenings for uninsured women in the area, and the creation of a food program that provides free meals to low-income families whose children are being treated at the Medical Center.