New Collection of Articles on Addressing Race and Racism in Medical Education

Academic Medicine is committed to assisting medical schools and teaching hospitals, their faculty and trainees, and the public in learning more about complex issues and strategies to acknowledge, repair, and transcend racism to make academic medicine not only more inclusive and diverse but also more focused on a vision of human mutuality. To this end, a collection of previously published Academic Medicine articles has been posted on the journal’s website. The collection was curated by us: assistant editors, Dr. Dorene Balmer and Dr. Irene Alexandraki, with the assistance of Toni Gallo (staff editor) and Dr. Kristin Maletsky.

As long-time constituents of the Academic Medicine readership and holding leadership roles in education at their respective institutions, Drs. Balmer and Alexandraki were guided by the perspectives of their Black and Latinx colleagues who nobly called on the academic medicine community to take actionable steps toward exploring systemic racism to foster an institutional culture that is anti-racist at the levels of relationships, policies, and everyday practices. To this end, we believe that the articles in this collection will advance authentic and meaningful dialogue about race and racism. We also believe that the articles will help inform leaders and other people-of-influence of ways to eliminate structural racism in academic medicine.

Impressions of the Collection

The collection is comprised of 14 articles published in Academic Medicine since 2016. Rather than a systematic review of the literature, this collection includes pieces that we hope will foster dialogue about race and racism and/or inform efforts to eliminate structural racism. To give these issues more focused attention, we excluded articles that addressed both race and gender. We also excluded pieces on topics related to diversity (e.g., implicit bias, pipeline programs) that did not focus on race.

The collection consists largely of Invited Commentary and Perspective pieces. As evidenced in a recent meta-ethnographic review1 of the professional identity formation of minority physicians, anti-racism scholarship in the form of research is lacking. To effectively address and dismantle structural racism, the academic medicine community needs to continue writing insightful opinion pieces, but it must not stop there. Rigorous research and innovative curricula are also needed.

Suggestions for Using the Collection

Given the principles that guided our article selection, we hope that others in academic medicine will use this collection to facilitate difficult but necessary conversations about race and to inform the strategies they design and implement to eliminate structural racism in their institutions. We encourage our readers to use these pieces and other Academic Medicine resources to educate themselves and others about race and racism. The team at Academic Medicine remains similarly committed to continuing to publish on these essential themes, with a collection of new articles included in the upcoming December issue and complementary content on AM Rounds and the Academic Medicine Podcast.

In the words of educator, writer, and activist Paul Kivel: “Sometimes change comes not in the first round, but at the second, third or fourth. Change starts with one person questioning, challenging, speaking up and doing something to make a difference. … We can each make a difference because each of us is already part of the community where racism exists and thrives.“2

By: Dorene F. Balmer, PhD, Irene Alexandraki, MD, MPH, Kristin Maletsky, MD, and Toni Gallo, MA


  1. Wyatt TR, Balmer D, Rockich-Winston N, Chow CJ, Richards J, Zaidi Z. “Whispers and shadows”: A critical review of the professional identity literature with respect to minority physicians [published online ahead of print July 22, 2020]. Med Educ.
  2. Kivel P. Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice. 4th ed. Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada: New Society Publishers; 2017.