Megan Kelly Awarded 2019 Michelle P. Winn Inclusive Excellence Award

Megan Kelly Awarded 2019 Michelle P. Winn Inclusive Excellence Award

In their second year of training, Megan Kelly, MSTP (Medical Science Training Program) candidate, and a group of medical school students noticed that frequently, cultural and social aspects of patients’ lives played a large role in their health and in the care they received. So they proposed a course for all first year students, to help them understand how cultural biases can affect patient care and health outcomes.

The approved class is called Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities, which is now mandatory for all first year medical students. The curriculum teaches that healthcare outcomes can often be influenced by patients’ social and cultural contexts, such as race, gender identity, geographic location, and lifestyles, and because of this, as well as biases of the healthcare system, they can receive unequal care. Megan is currently the student course director and plays an administrative and student liaison role, while she continues to help create content for a second-year curriculum.

During its first year, the team noticed the curriculum needed some adjustments. Incorporating these changes and responding to student feedback, helped the course run much smoother in its second year. Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities has been very well received and may be broadened into a mandatory course for all second year students as well—offering a more complete curriculum in the clerkship year. Tied to the course are informal student discussions, called Cultural Correlations, which happen outside class time and dive deeper into the material. 

Megan also mentors a total of three undergraduate and high school students—women and underrepresented minorities—eager to learn about science and medicine. Dr. Hashim Al-Hashimi, in whose lab Megan does research, says that “with her help in creating an environment that is truly welcoming and inclusive, her efforts have helped enhance the quality of scholarship and training at Duke.” Megan’s achievements are why she received the Michelle P. Winn award and as Al-Hashimi wrote “it is a well-deserved recognition.”