Original Article

How Does Black History Help Doctors? Addressing Cultural Competency through Cinemeducation at a Diverse Medical School

Authors: Sonjia Kenya, EdD, MS, BreAnne Young, MSPH, Janielle Taylor, MSPH, Olveen Carrasquillo, MD, MPH, Erin Marcus, MD, MPH, Joan St. Onge, MD


Racial minorities will account for >50% of the United States population by 2045, yet race and ethnicity persist as leading predictors of morbidity. Although minorities achieve better outcomes when treated by racially concordant providers, the number of minority physicians is disproportionately low compared with the rapidly growing minority population. This imbalance creates a cultural gap between many minority patients and their healthcare providers. Research suggests that educational initiatives addressing health inequity through a historical lens can help providers better understand the root causes of disparities; however, extensive clinical demands severely limit the time providers can dedicate to non-medical learning.

Objectives: To address this gap, the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital System developed and piloted a short film about the history of Black people in South Florida, highlighting significant events that shaped the health-seeking behaviors of this population.

Methods: A 20-minute documentary exploring the sociocultural history of Black communities in Miami-Dade County was presented to 188 first-year postgraduate residents in June 2017. Residents completed pre-post surveys to measure changes in knowledge and care delivery intentions.

Results: Analyses performed between March and July 2018 revealed moderate improvements in the knowledge and awareness of the socioeconomic history of Miami’s Black communities. Before watching the video, a majority indicated that increasing awareness of the sociocultural history of their patient population was a valuable learning activity.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that brief videos focused on the history of culturally distinct populations may be a successful pedagogical strategy to introduce physicians to the communities they serve and improve provider knowledge.

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