The Health Equity Pathway in the University of Wisconsin internal medicine residency program 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 experiences that empower you to advocate for your patients and promote health equity for all members of the community.
The Health Equity Pathway emphasizes local and domestic health equity. It's a sister program to the Global Health Pathway.
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
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.
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 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.
Share the Health
- Provides free gynecologic care to underserved women in Dane and surrounding counties.
- Interested residents can volunteer to gain practice with colposcopy, vulvar/vaginal biopsy, endometrial biopsy, and IUD placement.
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.
- Healing House, located in Madison, is a residential facility providing 24/7 recuperative care for families experiencing homelessness to go when a member of the family needed to prepare for a medical procedure, or to recuperate after hospitalization.
- Residents provide general education on medical topics like medical expectations in the postpartum period and chronic disease pathophysiology
- Solace Friends is a community-based project looking to offer housing and comfort care to individuals experiencing homelessness at the end of life.
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.
More Ways to Engage on Campus
Trainees can also pursue research opportunities with campus partners, including:
- Cancer Health Disparities Initiative (CHDI)
- Center for Health Policy Research
- Center for Patient Partnerships
- Center for Women’s Health Research (CWHR)
- Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE)
- Institute for Research on Poverty
- UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (CTRI)
- Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI)
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."
How to Participate
To participate in the Health Equity Pathway or for more details, contact the program coordinator.