27 | Why American Medical Education Is So Bad | Beyond Flexner Alliance

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Isabel Chen and Jamar Slocum join us to discuss the history of American medical education and how its evolution has maintained injustice. They speak about prestige, research dollars, medical school rankings, race, admissions, wealth and power, health disparities, and the long shadow of the 1910 Flexner Report that laid the foundation of the current system. They also share how justice-informed movements like the Beyond Flexner Alliance are attempting to rattle the paradigm and recenter care, love, and justice as the ‘social mission’ of medicine.

Beyond Flexner Alliance (BFA) is a national movement, focused on health equity and training health professionals as agents of more equitable health care. This movement takes us beyond centuries-old conventions in health professions education to train providers prepared to build a system that is not only better, but fairer. The Beyond Flexner Alliance aims to promote social mission in health professions education by networking learners, teachers, community leaders, health policy makers and their organizations to advance equity in education, research, service, policy, and practice.

Beyond Flexner Conference 2022 (March 28-30, 2022), Phoenix AZ: https://flexnerconference.org/

Isabel Chen MD MPH is a family medicine resident and Chief of Social Mission & Advocacy at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. She is a staunch advocate for social justice through the lens of health and medicine. She performs medical evaluations for asylum seekers in Southern California and is implementing a social determinants of health curriculum and patien screening tool for Kaiser Permanente. She founded the Keep Safe Initiative, a grassroots organization that develops panic alarms for sex-trade workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and co-founded The Reading Bear Society, a citywide early education that promotes inner-city health and literacy. She has servedon multiple boards including at Yale, UNESCO, UBC, APHA, CAFP, and STFM.

Jamar Slocum MD MBA MPH is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University (GW), where he practices hospital medicine and serves as faculty for the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity and Beyond Flexner Alliance. During the course of his career, he has combined his skills and experience in clinical medicine and public health to build a healthcare system that is based on equity and prevention. He is a former board member of the Tennessee Health Campaign, one of the leading non-profit advocacy organizations working to ensure affordable and high quality health care for all Tennesseans. Jamar completed his residency training in internal medicine at Brown University in Providence, RI and fellowship training in general preventive medicine at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.

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