Promoting Local and Domestic Health Equity

The Health Equity Pathway helps trainees understand the interconnectedness of social, environmental, health, and personal factors that impede health equity and how to mitigate their effects.

You'll gain skills and experience that empower you to advocate for your patients and promote health equity for all members of the community.

Resident Kirsten Alman, MD, unpacks first aid kits with Christina Hughey, MD, at Healing House

Program Structure


The Health Equity Pathway provides the tools and experience to:

  • Identify social, behavioral, environmental and biological factors that contribute to specific individual and population health outcomes (Equity)
  • Provide culturally effective care in diverse settings (Humility)
  • Practice and appraise skills physicians can use to advocate for health systems change (Advocacy)
  • Identify best practices for community-engaged interventions that improve health equity (Community)
  • Produce a scholarly product that demonstrates proficiency in one or more of the above objectives (Scholarship)
  • Residency Health Equity and Advocacy Lecture Series (available to current internal medicine residents)
  • Curated collection of online learning materials that support each of the pathway competencies
  • Implicit bias training during PGY-2 year (required of all internal medicine residents)
  • Global Health in Wisconsin cultural competency modules and discussion session led by Farah Kaiksow, MD, MPP)
  • Book club
Clinical Service

Clinical Electives

Two clinical electives are available for Health Equity Pathway participants:

  • 2-week Health Equity elective block
  • 2-week Homeless Access Clinic and multidisciplinary home visits at the William S. Middleton VA Memorial Hospital (PGY-2 and/or PGY-3 year)

Homeless Access Clinic

The Homeless Access Clinic at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital is the main clinical site for the Health Equity Pathway. Senior residents can elect to rotate through this clinic during their second and third years. Priority is given to pathway participants. 

Residents rotating through this clinic can also assist with outreach to veterans experiencing homeless and review a curriculum focused on caring for patients experiencing homelessness. 

Community Partnerships

The pathway also facilitates service to the local community through medical care to underserved patient populations and community nonprofit partnerships. Participation depends on resident interest and organizational availability. Examples include:

  • MEDiC Clinics. MEDiC is a student-run program through the UW School of Medicine and Public Health that provides free health services at six clinics throughout Madison. Residents can volunteer with at the free Southside Clinic to provide medical care to a diverse population of largely uninsured, immigrant patients.
  • Community Connections Free Clinic. This free clinic in nearby Dodgeville, Wisconsin, provides basic health care for those who cannot afford or access medical services in Iowa County and surrounding areas. Residents can provide primary care and urgent care services to uninsured residents of a predominantly agricultural county, through in-person visits or telemedicine.
Scholarly Activity

Trainees will define a health equity project with a faculty mentor. This could be in the form of educational materials for their colleagues (e.g., creating a new learning activity for future Pathway participants), original research (poster, oral presentation, abstract or publication at any national or international meeting), QI project to reduce inequities, or a community-engaged project (e.g., working with a local organization to write a grant or produce a community publication). 

Health Equity Pathway participants can also gain advocacy experience at Wisconsin Doctor Day at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Health Equity Pathway participants will present an equity/advocacy topic at the internal medicine residency program's Advances series. In this Grand Rounds-like lecture, residents present a coached and evaluated systemic literature review of primary evidence.

View Health Equity Pathway participants' scholarly projects (PDF)

What Trainees Say About the Health Equity Pathway

"I loved learning from experts who work in a variety of fields inside and outside medicine… The Health Equity Pathway invited fantastic folks to lead interactive workshops throughout the year. I left each one feeling inspired and reminded of why I went into medicine in the first place: to make people's lives better."

"Advocating for patients at the capitol building during the legislative visit this past spring was really meaningful… Navigating policy reform is intimidating at any level, and this experience showed me how important it is to show up for our patients in this way. We are uniquely positioned to impact patients' lives, both inside and outside the hospital, and I appreciate the chance to develop these skills during residency."

Program Leadership

Program Director

How to Participate

Program Coordinator

Contact Abby to learn more about the Health Equity Pathway.