Evaluation of a Skin of Color Curriculum for Dermatology Residents

July 2021 | Volume 20 | Issue 7 | Features | 786 | Copyright © July 2021


Published online June 28, 2021

Julia M. Mhlaba MDa, David S. Pontes BSa, Stavonnie S. Patterson MDb, Roopal V. Kundu MDa

aDepartment of Dermatology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
bNorthwest Community Hospital Medical Group, Arlington Heights, IL

Abstract
The United States skin of color population is increasing. Consequently, the importance of skin of color education in dermatology residency programs will continue to grow. Previous data has shown a lack of formal education on skin of color across residency programs. In order to address this identified knowledge gap, we created a curriculum focusing exclusively on skin of color for dermatology residents. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effect of a week-long curriculum on the perception of dermatology residents’ comfort level treating patients of color and to determine if this type of curriculum could be expanded to other dermatology residents. Results demonstrated a significant increase when residents were asked to rate their overall confidence in managing patients with skin of color on a scale from 1 (minimally confident) to 10 (extremely confident) pre- and post-intervention. Overall, 100% of learners felt that their ability to care for patients of color was improved by this curriculum and that a skin of color curriculum should be an annual component of their dermatology academic curriculum.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2021;20(7):786-789. doi:10.36849/JDD.6193

INTRODUCTION

The term “skin of color” generally refers to individuals from a broad group of racial and ethnic backgrounds including, but not limited to, Black, Asian, Latinx, American Indian, and Pacific Islander, as well as those of mixed race.1 According to the U.S. Census, the population will increase to comprise over 50% persons of color by the year 2042.2 However, the demographics of the physician workforce do not reflect these changing demographics. In one retrospective study of nearly 150,000 primary care physicians, only 13.4% self-identified as underrepresented in medicine.3 The field of dermatology lags even further behind primary care specialties in reflecting the changing U.S. population.4–6

While all physicians, and in particular dermatologists, should be confident in treating patients of color, data has demonstrated that dermatology residents have expressed a lack of formal education and confidence in treating this patient population.7–9 In order to address this identified knowledge gap, we created a week-long curriculum focusing exclusively on skin of color for dermatology residents at a Midwestern residency program. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effect of this curriculum on the perception of dermatology residents’ comfort level treating patients of color and to determine if this type of curriculum could be expanded to other dermatology residents.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

One-hour lecture sessions were implemented for dermatology residents at an urban academic medical center. Lectures contained information specific to the cultural and medical nuances of skin of color (Table 1).

The five lectures were held within a one-week time frame. Lecturers included two academic physicians with clinical and research focus on skin of color as well as one dermatology resident with an interest in skin of color. Lecture audience included thirteen dermatology residents, ranging from first-year to third-year residents. Each lecture had the same number of attendees. Topics for the lectures were chosen based on existing gaps in dermatology resident education as well as overall relevance to caring for patients of color (Table 1). Compensation was not provided to participants.

A pre-post design was implemented to collect information on learner satisfaction and knowledge gain. Pre-intervention,