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The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Chooses UMass Chan Medical School for Inaugural Health Equity Research Virtual Site Visit


WORCESTER, Massachusetts, Aug 20, 2014 - The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has chosen UMass Chan Medical School to be the first institution to be featured in its inaugural Health Equity Research Virtual Site Visit, an initiative that plans to highlight two to three outstanding health equity research portfolios at AAMC-member institutions every year.

AAMC's Virtual Site Visit to UMass Chan Medical School features videos, webinars, presentations, journal articles and resources that reflect the research, curricula and innovative care delivery that can contribute to the evidence base for minimizing health and health care gaps.

Four programs and activities were chosen to reflect the UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care's goal to advance well-being in the commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research, and health care delivery - with an emphasis on eliminating health disparities through service, research, and preparing its students to care for populations whose needs are currently not being met. These programs and activities are:

  • The Center for Health Equity Intervention Research (CHEIR)
  • The Health and Criminal Justice Program
  • The Population Health Clerkship (PHC) & Curriculum Development Project
  • The Simulation-based Community-engaged Research Intervention for Informed Consent Protocol Testing and Training (SCRIIPTT)

Taking place at iCELS, the SCRIIPTT project uses innovative simulation-based interventions to incorporate culturally and linguistically aware and humble approach as part of informed consent training using the expertise and participation of community members from populations under-represented in research.

SCRIIPTT is a community-academic partnership across four entities: a community organization (Mosaic Cultural Complex); the UMass Center for Health Equity Intervention Research; the CCTS Bioethics Core and IRB; and iCELS. The project is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR000161.

An introduction to SCRIIPTT was featured on Boston-based WCVB-TV CityLine on July 13th, 2014. TV host Karen Holmes Ward reported, "From cultural disconnect to language barriers, a sense of distrust among patients towards their doctors, can affect health disparities found in many minority communities. UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester teamed up with a local grassroot organization Mosaic Cultural Complex to uncover some reasons why." 

"UMass Chan Medical School and Mosaic Cultural Complex said let's look at this, let's examine what culturally humble and culturally aware approach to informed consent process would look like, and see if that has some applicable properties across the board," said Michael Jerry, Manager and Community Health Worker at Mosaic Cultural Complex.

Jerry is involved The Barbershop Health Network, where community health workers engage patrons, shop owners and barbers in conversations around health and preventable diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer. In communities of color, the management of these conditions have been affected by distrust due to a history of medical research incidents such as the Tuskegee Experiment. 

The host elaborated that in the Tuskegee Experiment, a group of African American men who had syphilis were participating in a study but were not given drugs to treat their syphilis, over a few decades. Study participants were also not made aware that the experiment's objective was to observe what would happen to the African American males if they were left untreated.

"SCRIIPTT is hoping - by treating people with respect, courtesy and dignity - that the research community would promote and lend itself to better chemistry and hence better outcome (with the communities)," Jerry said. 

"Now I talk to patients differently depending on their cultural background, their economic status," said Shums Alikhan, a Research Assistant who has worked with Latino, African American, Asian and white women on her projects. "Each time we go in, we can't expect the same response and now I'm becoming more culturally aware of that."

The AAMC virtual site visit further showcases a short clip from SCRIIPTT demonstrating a simulation where a Community Advisor is playing the Acting Research Participant, and a team debriefs with the Research Assistant to engage in deliberate practice on areas needing improvement.

More about SCRIIPTT

Visit the AAMC's Health Equity Research Virtual Site Visit to UMass Medical School:

For further information please contact iCELS at or Phone: 508-856-5434


Last updated Aug 20th, 2014

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