Scholarly Concentrations

Scholarly Concentrations

Health Disparities

This concentration looks to enrich education through clinical experiences and independent learning in the areas of health disparity. Students will study historical and topical details of barriers for the medically underserved and investigate cross-cultural issues in healthcare while blending theoretical and practical learning. Students will identify and evaluate disparities in healthcare, learn about challenges to medical practice with medically needy populations, act as an advocate to eliminate health disparities in part by legislative lobbying, and reflect upon relevant clinical experiences throughout the four years of medical school.


Year 1

  • Theme 1 - Overview of Health Disparities: Health disparities - defined, examples, root causes of underservedness, vulnerable populations, health literacy and sensitivity to cultural influences and social determinants of health: Inequality, disparities and inequities, social class and socioeconomic status, social capital, community-based participatory research and principles in ethical care of underserved populations

Year 2

  • Theme 2 - Health Economics & Policy Issues: Health care financing, equity issues, safety net programs, caring for undocumented populations, and health policy/legislative advocacy

Year 3

  • Theme 3 - Race, Ethnicity, Culture: Racism, stigma, healthcare inequities, social justice, and minorities in the health professions

Year 4

  • Theme 4 - Disabilities and Special Populations: Physical disabilities, non-physical disabilities, special populations (geriatrics, women, GLBT, etc.), and gender health disparities
  • Complete individual Leadership project (may take Elective Period).
  • Presentation of Leadership project at journal club


All students are required to attend monthly journal clubs in their first two years, participate in volunteer activities related to underserved populations, reflect upon relevant clinical experiences and complete a capstone project approved by HDSC leaders by the end of year 4. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a summer scholarly project related to health disparities, to participate in advocacy related to an underserved population, to present projects at scholarly meetings and/or submit for publication, and to participate in a HDSC group project. MSIII and MSIV are expected to participate in Journal Clubs as schedules permit, providing peer mentoring to their junior colleagues.

Faculty Leadership


Laurie Woodard, MD

Desiree Rivers, PhD

Anne Maynard, MPH, CHES

Elizabeth Warner, MD