University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Health Equity Pathway

The Health Equity Pathway within the Department of Medicine helps trainees understand the interconnectedness of social, environmental, health, and personal factors that impede health equity and how to mitigate the effects of inequity. The curriculum focuses on social justice, health disparities, cultural humility, social determinants of health, and care to individuals with limited resources and those living in resource-limited settings. The overarching goals are to empower residents to advocate for their patients and promote health equity for all members of their communities.

To do this, the pathway provides engagement in clinical, research, simulation, community and educational experiences to promote the achievement of health equity in practice. This is a sister pathway to the Global Health Pathway. The Health Equity Pathway emphasizes local and domestic health equity.

Curriculum

The goals and objectives of the Health Equity Pathway are to provide trainees with 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)

Opportunities within the Pathway

Curriculum

  • Residency Health Equity and Advocacy Lecture Series (available to current residents)
  • Curated collection of on-line learning materials that support each of the pathway competencies
  • Implicit Bias Training during PGY2 year (required of all residents)
  • Facilitated antiracism workshop and UW Diversity forum
  • Global Health in Wisconsin cultural competency modules and discussion session  (led by Farah Kaiksow, MD, MPP)
  • Book club

Service

  • 2-week Health Equity elective block
  • 4-week Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) clinic elective (PGY2 and/or PGY3 year)

Advocacy

  • Wisconsin Doctor Day for advocacy experience at the Wisconsin State Capitol
  • Project opportunities and mentors listed below in Advocacy section

Research

  • Present equity/advocacy topic at residency Advances series, a Grand Rounds-like lecture where residents present a coached and evaluated systemic literature review of primary evidence that they undertake with support of faculty and library sciences.

Program Leadership

Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD

Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD

Pathway Director, Vice Chair for Research

Victoria Gillet, MD

Victoria Gillet, MD

Chief Resident, Pathway Founder

Hannah Bell, MD

Hannah Bell, MD

VASH Clinic Coordinator 

Dawd Siraj, MD, MPH, MD

Dawd Siraj, MD, MPH&TM

Director of the Global Health Pathway

How do I participate?

To participate in the Health Equity Pathway, indicate your interest through the senior schedule request survey and arrange block elective time. We hope to accommodate all residents who are interested in participating. If you have questions, please contact the program coordinator, Abby Mapes, at acmapes@medicine.wisc.edu.

Service

The HUD-VASH clinic at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital is the main clinical site for the Health Equity Pathway. Senior residents can elect to do one-month VASH rotations during their second and third years. There are 13 slots and priority will be given to pathway participants. Hannah Bell, MD, coordinates the VASH clinic.

The pathway also facilitates service to the local community through medical care to underserved patient populations and community nonprofit partnerships. Participation will depend 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.

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

  • Community Connections Free Clinic is a free clinic in nearby Dodgeville, Wisconsin, that 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.

Advocacy

Trainees in the Health Equity Pathway have the opportunity to partner with faculty to advocate for patients, healthcare, and workforce diversity. Faculty mentors are listed below.

Diversity in the Workforce

Transgender Health

Smoking Cessation

Needs of Veterans

Pro-Patient Medicare Regulations

Women and Diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

    Research

    Numerous faculty members in the Department of Medicine are actively engaged in research geared toward improving health equity and health disparities. Faculty mentors include, but are not limited to:

    Aging and/or Alzheimer’s Disease

    Global Health

    Health Disparities

    Jennifer Weiss, MD, MS

    Jennifer Weiss, MD, MS (Colon Cancer)

    Public Outreach

    Rural Health

    Tobacco Research and Cessation

    Women and Diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

    Other Ways to Engage on Campus

    Department of Medicine Grand Rounds and Recorded Lectures

    Relevant Department of Medicine Grand Rounds

    Relevant Intern Lecture Series Talks (available to current residents)