Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Volume 17, Number 1, February 2006
pp. 17-24 | 10.1353/hpu.2006.0023
Health disparities are increasingly common and many U.S. practitioners have informal experience working in resource-poor settings. There are, however, few graduate medical education programs that focus on health equity. A graduate medical education program in health equity was developed at Brigham and Women's Hospital based on a review of existing literature and on a survey of junior faculty who have had informal health disparities experience. The Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine was developed as a four-year program to provide intensive training in internal medicine and health disparities. Participating residents are matched with a mentor who has clinical and research experience in the field of global health. In addition to a series of didactic teaching sessions and longitudinal seminars that focus on issues of global health equity, residents take graduate level courses in epidemiology, health policy, ethics, and medical anthropology. Residents also carry out an independent research project in a geographic area that suffers from health disparities. Two residents are selected for training per year. Participating faculty are multidisciplinary and come from diverse Harvard-affiliated institutions. Graduate medical education in the United States with a focus on health equity is lacking. It is hoped that the novel training program in health equity for internal medical residents developed at Brigham and Women's Hospital can serve as a model for other teaching hospitals based in the United States.