‘Scholarly Concentration’ to capitalize on local strengths

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IU School of Medicine-South Bend is introducing a new “scholarly concentration” in Ethics, Equity and Justice.

Scholarly concentrations, similar to “minors” in undergraduate programs, have been introduced at each of the IU School of Medicine campuses under the direction of Paul Wallach, MD, executive associate dean for educational affairs and institutional improvement. Across the campuses, the collection of topics is diverse and includes such options as The Business of Medicine, Rural Health, Aging Studies and Care of Hispanic/Latino Patients.

This diversity intends to help admitted students determine what regional campus best suits their interest. Students who choose to enroll in a concentration will earn credit, complete a capstone project and have a distinct credential on their transcript and residency applications.

Ethics, Equity and Justice draws on strengths specific to the South Bend campus including faculty with a deep background in medical ethics and its longtime affiliation with the University of Notre Dame, where issues of ethics, equity and justice are mission driven.

“This concentration will be attractive to students who have a commitment to social justice, and who wish to pursue studies on how social determinants impact health and how to address, at a systemic level, the paths to health equity,” said Mark D. Fox, MD, PhD, MPH.

A program launched in 2018 called the Summer Community Health Innovation Program (S-Chip) is the starting point for the concentration. Rising second-year medical students learn the didactics of health equity, engage in community learning, and complete a team-based project, all while earning a stipend. Other courses are “Introduction to Medical Ethics: Virtue, Narrative, and Justice in Health Care” and “Ethics and Health Equity: Perspectives on Poverty and Health.”

The core faculty includes Fox, Joe Kotva, PhD, and Kathy Eggleson, PhD, who are medical ethicists. Gary Fromm, MD, brings longtime experience in hospital ethics boards and ethics education. Faculty from Notre Dame, as well as clinicians in the community, are expected to participate.

Professionally, the concentration will prepare physicians who want to participate in medical ethics decision-making in the clinical setting, who want to forge practices that attend to the most in need, and those who want to champion policies that improve access for those most in need.

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