Who’s in Our Neighborhood? Healthcare Disparities Experiential Education for Residents

Language, culture, and community can have a significant impact on the delivery of care to patients and on clinical outcomes. Because of the way the residency matching process works, many residents are matched to hospitals in communities that are unfamiliar to them. Consequently, when residents begin their training, they are disconnected from the communities they serve. An innovative program report in the Spring issue of Ochsner Journal explores didactic models that used experiential education—an educational philosophy that infuses direct experience with the learning environment and content—to bridge the gap between residents and their communities.

In their contribution to Ochsner Journal medical education issue, Patow and colleagues describe nine training models designed to engage residents in community activities and promote understanding of cultural preferences for healthcare. One model engaged residents in a community treasure hunt that led teams to local historic and cultural sites, while a house-call model required residents to visit and interact with patients in their homes.

The authors conclude that although experiential education programs appear to be a promising avenue for training community-conscious physicians, more research is needed to determine their effectiveness. Read about the other seven innovative training models here.