To advance equity, examine critical pedagogies in medical education


Core competency and outcomes-based learning are mainstays in health professions education. However, competency-based education also raises important ethical questions on whether it effectively addresses engagement and skill development in health equity, social privilege and structural determinants of health. 

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The January issue of AMA Journal of Ethics® (@JournalofEthics) provides diverse perspectives on critical pedagogy in health professions education and discusses contemporary curricula and education models that exacerbate inequities. Additionally, contributors consider key pedagogical ideas and meaningful frameworks that advance health equity as well as inclusive teaching methods, instructional design and learning environments.

The January issue of AMA Journal of Ethics includes the following articles.

  1. How Should We Approach Faculty Who Create Hostile Learning Environments for Underrepresented Students and Trainees?” 

    1. Faculty who lack skill in addressing negative bias in learning environments can erode safety, especially among students, trainees and patients from historically marginalized groups.
  2. Why Competency Frameworks Are Insufficiently Nuanced for Health Equity Teaching and Assessment

    1. This article canvasses ways to help trainees cultivate discernment and action in response to inequity.
  3. What Might It Mean to Embrace Emancipatory Pedagogy in Medical Education?

    1. An emerging and important goal of health professions training is to develop a workforce equipped to address structural determinants of patients’ health.
  4. AMA Code of Medical Ethics’ Opinions Related to Critical Pedagogy in the Health Professions

    1. This article highlights opinions in the Code that exemplify obligations to promote social justice and equity in health professions pedagogy and training.

In the journal’s January “Ethics Talk” podcast, John Chenault, PhD, explains one historical view of critical theory in health professions education.

The January issue also features eight author-interview podcasts as well as an episode of the “Ethics Teaching and Learning” podcast that discusses how critical theory can be used to prepare health professions students to better distinguish representation from reality.

Listen to previous episodes of the “Ethics Talk” podcast, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or other services.

Also, CME modules drawn from this month’s issue are collected at the AMA Ed Hub™ AMA Journal of Ethics webpage.

The journal’s editorial focus is on commentaries and articles that offer practical advice and insights for medical students and physicians. Submit a manuscript for publication. The journal also invites original photographs, graphics, cartoons, drawings and paintings that explore the ethical dimensions of health or health care.

The next issue of the journal will focus on health ecology and disease transmission. Sign up to receive email alerts when new issues are published.