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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Inequalities teaching

BSMS > Undergraduate > Our course > Inequalities teaching

Inequalities teaching

At BSMS, we aim to help our students develop into the best doctors they can be, working in a patient-centred, social-responsible way. We know that peoples’ health is affected by a wide range of issues and factors, some of which affect some communities more than others. These factors often cannot be addressed by our traditional clinical interventions, but we still have a responsibility to be aware of and address them.

Our approach

In 2018, our clinical and community practice modules in Years 1 and 2 were re-written, and now include a strand of teaching called 'Inequalities and Inclusion in Healthcare'. The purpose of this strand of teaching, which will continue to be developed within the Personal and Professional Development (PPD) modules throughout all years of the BSMS programme is to:

  • Raise awareness, appreciation and improve understanding of inequalities experienced by a range of people and communities
  • Develop a sense of social sensitivity and responsibility to issues faced by disadvantaged people and communities
  • Gain experience, in a safe and supportive environment, in discussing and working out personal approaches to address issues that may influence inequalities and inclusion in future healthcare interactions

In essence, we want to equip our students with the knowledge, values and skills to be sensitive to and address inequity affecting the health of our communities. This inequity usually impacts more on marginalised communities disproportionately. Because of this, we specifically spotlight the inequalities affecting marginalised groups such as:

  • People from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • People in ethnic minority communities
  • The LGBTQIA+ community
  • Migrant and travelling peoples
  • People living with disabilities, and learning disabilities

What others think

As well as raising awareness of the specific challenges faced by inequity, we also specifically draw attention to types of prejudice and discrimination, such as racism, sexism and ablism in healthcare. This is so that our learners can be aware of specific examples of inequity, but also develop a foundation of how to spot and challenge discrimination and disadvantage. We help students develop the skills to do this through the use of role-playing to develop active bystandership skills, through teaching about quality improvement processes to leverage stakeholders in achieving change, and through encouraging deep reflection on individual values and practices.

So far, this strand has been very popular amongst our students, and external organisations such as the Society for Academic Primary CareHeads of Teaching group, have showcased this work as an example of good practice. This is in part due to the comprehensive and intentional nature in which this strand brings social inequalities to the fore in medical education, but also because – by attending to these inequalities – we can not only improve the health of our communities but also improve the sustainability of the healthcare we strive to deliver.

Innovative teaching and learning

Here at BSMS, we provide our students with innovative teaching and learning practices.

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