That’s the concept behind the school’s focus on cultural humility as part of its reaccreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). During the process, schools must develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a five-year educational-improvement plan for student learning, derived from an institution’s ongoing comprehensive planning and evaluation process.
When it was time for EVMS to pick an area of focus for 2020, it took more than a year and many meetings, but one topic kept rising to the top: cultural humility.
“Cultural humility is a continuous process of self-awareness of, and reflection on one’s own values, biases and behavior while cultivating a sensitivity and openness to cultural identity,” says Don Robison, PhD, QEP Co-Director, Director of EVMS Curriculum and Instruction and Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine.
The QEP team worked with faculty, staff and students to select “Live Humble: Practicing with Cultural Humility” as the QEP topic.
Cultural humility is seeing things from another person’s perspective, and that’s imperative for treating patients.
Sudarshan Mohan, MD Class of 2022
“We hope by focusing on cultural humility for our QEP, we are encouraging our entire community to honor the beliefs, customs, values and experiences of all people,” says Lauren Mazzurco, DO, the Rosemary Fenton and Garnett Jordan Professor in Geriatrics, QEP Co-Director and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology.
The topic is also central to the EVMS 2019 Health Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and the EVMS mission.
“Our mission is to be recognized as the most community-oriented school of medicine and health professions in the United States,” says Richard V. Homan, MD, President and Provost of EVMS and Dean of the School of Medicine. “As an academic community, EVMS believes in this vision. Having a deep paradigm and practical skills related to cultural humility is a perfect fit for who EVMS strives to be.”
Students agree that it’s an appropriate area of focus for EVMS.
“Cultural humility is ultimately about empathy and respect. It makes us all better health professionals because we live in a diverse world,” says Sudarshan Mohan, MD Class of 2022. “Cultural humility is seeing things from another person’s perspective, and that’s imperative for treating patients.” seeing things from another person’s perspective, and that’s imperative for treating patients.”
The QEP aims to achieve student-learning outcomes — initially in the Doctor of Medicine program and expanding to the health professions programs over time — by building upon and improving current aspects of the EVMS curriculum and integrating additional activities and assessments.
“The primary goal of this QEP is to improve students’ knowledge, skills and values in cultural humility and structural inequity,” Dr. Robison says. “This, in turn, will improve quality of care, particularly for patients who have been stigmatized.”