Racism as a Unique Social Determinant of Mental Health: Development of a Didactic Curriculum for Psychiatry Residents

Date of Review: November, 2018

This MedEdPORTAL lecture series, for residents in psychiatry, uses an approach to racism established by Dr. Camara Jones, in which racism consists of three levels: institutional, interpersonal, and internal. The curriculum applies this approach to mental health, with a particular focus on African-American patients. Four 50-minute interactive lectures are delivered, one per post-graduate year. Topics include consequences of segregation, the over diagnosis of schizophrenia in African Americans, implicit bias and microaggressions, and systems level reform to address institutionalized racism. Trainees responded largely positively to the curriculum. A strength is that senior residents were the teachers, making it generalizable. The PGY-1 through PGY-3 slides are well annotated and content-packed, and one of the lectures includes pre-test questions with referenced answers. The slides on systems-level reform were not included with the resources because they were presented by an outside speaker. The PGY-1 lecture on segregation is focused on Boston and would need to be changed based on the location of the program. Assessment of learning and skill acquisition was not included, but the authors note it is a future goal to include more outcomes of learning. —Heather Heiman, MD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email:



Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Psychiatry Program

Where Was the Curriculum Implemented?

Boston, MA

Source of the Curriculum/Resource:


Clinical Specialty:

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Outcomes that Have Been Reported for the Curriculum:

Self-reported learner attitude

Self-reported learner knowledge

Outcome and Study Design:

Post Only


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