Leading internal medicine organizations award nearly $300K in grants to promote a more equitable U.S. health system

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Post by Building Trust

Grantees selected to rebuild trust, tackle health care diversity, equity and inclusion in medical education and training.

The U.S. health care system has fallen short in numerous aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), such as insufficient diversity among clinicians and poorer health outcomes among underserved communities. Bias and discrimination in health care have slowly but steadily eroded trust in the entire system, including in clinicians directly responsible for care. Today, several leading physician organizations announced the awarding of grants to help address the root causes of distrust in the provision of care.

The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the ABIM Foundation, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation have awarded a total of $287,500, split among 32 projects at medical schools and training programs.

Grantees will use this funding to support programs that incorporate DEI into internal medicine education and training.

Grants will be distributed at the $20,000, $5,000 and $2,500 levels, depending on the scope of the program. Examples of funded projects include:

  • George Washington University will build community trust by increasing colon cancer screening rates among Black and Hispanic patients by identifying barriers that contribute to lower screening rates among those populations. Community health advocates and physicians will also collaborate to develop and provide educational programs for colon cancer screening.
  • Hennepin Healthcare will prepare all medical trainees to incorporate trauma-informed approaches in their practices, creating a detailed curriculum and framework for competency progress in trauma-informed care.
  • Magnolia Regional Health Center/University of Mississippi Medical Center will expand the curriculum for primary care residents to include education about community-focused health topics and about patient mistrust and physician bias through a series of lectures, reflective narratives and community-based initiatives.
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) will increase internal medicine residents’ understanding of social issues faced by their patients and the local community. Residents will participate in a walking tour of the neighborhood surrounding UPMC Mercy to identify community resources while engaging in conversation about displacement and systemic racism, food access, housing and more. In conjunction with a local nonprofit, residents will also plan and give an interactive presentation on timely health topics for community members.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center will build a training program for internal medicine residents to work directly with the Hispanic community in Dallas to increase influenza vaccine uptake. Residents will participate in a year-long practicum facilitating patient focus groups about preferences, perceptions and mistrust in order to design a culturally specific, community-engaged approach to lead the vaccination program.           

“The Alliance is proud of this initiative advancing DEI in undergraduate and graduate medical education. The critical work of the 32 grant recipients will resonate throughout AAIM’s member institutions and across the internal medicine community,” said L. James Nixon, MD, chair of the AAIM Board of Directors and vice chair for education in the Department of Medicine at University of Minnesota Medical School.

“We congratulate the recipients of this grant and look forward to their efforts to advance DEI and to create more equity in health systems by incorporating DEI into the fabric of internal medicine education and training,” said George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, president of ACP. “Dedicated work in this area will benefit medical professionals and the patients they treat so that our health care system can be more just and equitable. The results of these grants will also benefit organizations, trainees, internists, their patients and their communities.”

Sponsors reported strong interest in this initiative, receiving 170 proposals from health systems and universities for programs designed to address increasing distrust and issues of bias and diversity in the U.S. health system. According to a recent survey from NORC at the University of Chicago, 59% of adults say that the health care system discriminates at least “somewhat,” and that 49% of physicians agree. Black patients say they are twice as likely to experience discrimination in a health care facility compared with their white counterparts.

“As physicians, we strive to provide every patient with the care they deserve, but there’s a long way to go before we have achieved the equitable and fair health care system that every American patient deserves,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, president and CEO of ABIM and the ABIM Foundation.

With additional funding from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, a second round of grant funding—which will emphasize inter-professional projects that incorporate members from across the care team—will be announced later this year.

“This past year has made it ever more clear that building trust with our patients is central to a health care system that will truly meet the needs and provide the most effective care for all,” said Holly J. Humphrey, MD, MACP, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. “I commend this initiative in tapping what is our greatest resource – the creativity, commitment and passion that diverse members of care teams bring to the cause of achieving equity in health.”

Organizations receiving grant funding include:

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Columbia University Medical Center
  • Community Memorial Health System
  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Emory University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • George Washington University
  • Hennepin Healthcare
  • Hofstra University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Magnolia Regional Health Center/University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
  • Mount Sinai West Hospital
  • NCH Healthcare System
  • Oregon Health & Science University Hillsboro Medical Center
  • Riverside University Health System
  • Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
  • Stamford Health
  • Stanford University
  • University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
  • University of California Davis
  • University of California San Diego*
  • University of Illinois, Peoria Campus
  • University of Maryland
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • University of Texas Southwestern
  • University of Washington School of Medicine
  • UT Health San Antonio
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center

*Awarded two grants.


About the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine
AAIM represents over 11,000 academic internal medicine faculty and administrators at medical schools and community-based teaching hospitals in the US and Canada. Its mission is to promote the advancement and professional development of its members, who prepare the next generation of internal medicine physicians and leaders through education, research, engagement, and collaboration. Follow AAIM on Twitter @AAIMOnline.

About the American Board of Internal Medicine
Since its founding in 1936 to answer a public call to establish more uniform standards for physicians, certification by the ABIM has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 21 subspecialties. Certification has meant that internists have demonstrated – to their peers and to the public – that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care. ABIM is not a membership society, but a physician-led, non-profit, independent evaluation organization. Our accountability is both to the profession of medicine and to the public.

About the ABIM Foundation  

The ABIM Foundation’s mission is to advance medical professionalism to improve the health care system by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policymakers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about the ABIM Foundation, visit www.abimfoundation.org, connect on Facebook or follow on Twitter.  

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

About the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation
Since 1930, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has worked to improve health care in the United States. Founded by Kate Macy Ladd in memory of her father, prominent businessman Josiah Macy Jr., the Foundation supports projects that broaden and improve health professional education. It is the only national foundation solely dedicated to this mission. Visit the Macy Foundation at macyfoundation.org and follow on Twitter at @macyfoundation.