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Med Schools Need More Social Justice Curriculum, Not Less, for the Next Pandemic

To effectively respond to the current pandemic, health leaders must understand that you cannot separate an individual’s health outcomes from their day-to-day realities or broader social, political, and economic factors.

Low-income families living in tight quarters cannot effectively distance themselves if a member of the family becomes infected, and undocumented immigrants cannot lean on the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act stimulus checks to buy groceries for their families. This is why, to better prepare for the next pandemic, medical education ought to include more theoretical and practical training related to social justice issues, not less, as Stanley Goldfarb, MD, argues in his recent article in the Wall Street Journal , ” Med School Needs an Overhaul .”

Goldfarb contends that an emphasis on social justice training has cannibalized learning time that could otherwise be spent receiving technical training (for example, on how to work ventilators), and this lack of training is hampering our medical response. Goldfarb cites no evidence for his position, and I have seen none elsewhere. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine where Goldfarb once served as dean, I have found my technical training to be excellent and my training […]

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