Human Rights and Social Justice Scholars Program

Date of Review: May, 2021

This resource is an outline of a 1-year program offered to first-year medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai called the Human Rights and Social Justice Scholars Program. The program includes weekly lectures, service-learning experiences, and longitudinal mentorship and aims to teach students about health equity, human rights, and social justice. The didactic component takes place over 10-weeks course and examines how social processes influence health. Topics covered throughout the 10-week course include racism in medicine, healthcare and impact of mass incarceration, provision of queer-positive, trans-positive, and intersectional medical care, care of immigrants, patients experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, trauma and the role of physicians in dismantling structural inequities and human rights abuses to name a few. There is a structured mentorship component that is well described. The service learning component includes a variety of ways for students to participate in 2 sessions (like a community meeting) but appears to depend on an individual students interest. Some examples of these opportunities are described. Surveys are administered and feedback is collected but no data are provided and no formal assessment occurs. I would love to use this curriculum in my program however it would be challenging to implement as there are no lecture slides or learning objectives. It would also be helpful to have more detail on the service learning projects and any recommended approaches. This curriculum outline is useful and could be developed by other educators for health professional students interested in health equity, human rights, and social justice. —Ashti Doobay-Persaud, MD, NCEAS