Opinion: New competencies on diversity, equity, and inclusion for medical education across the continuum

Formally integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion competencies in medical education across the continuum of learning will help create environments in which physicians, patients, and their communities can thrive.

Turning students into competent physicians in just four years is a tall order. They have so much to learn: anatomy and physiology and genetics, disease processes, how to diagnose disease and communicate with patients, and more. It’s made even harder by the fact that medical knowledge continues to evolve at an accelerating pace, necessitating ongoing learning throughout a physician’s career.

A key part of this evolution is the growing understanding that most of individuals’ health is influenced by conditions in the neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities where they live and work. An intricate web of social, behavioral, economic, and environmental factors, including access to quality education and housing, have greater influence on patients’ health than physicians do, even when we can offer the most groundbreaking scientific offerings.

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