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Advancing Equity in Learning: Resources to Support Implementation of the AAMC's DEI Competencies

The AAMC's "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Competencies Across the Learning Continuum" guides curricular and professional development, formative performance assessment, and improvement in education outcomes. By integrating these DEI competencies into a competency-based medical education framework, institutions can ensure that learners develop the skills and attitudes necessary to provide equitable, culturally-responsive care to all patients. This approach fosters a future health care workforce equipped to address the complex needs of a diverse society. The AAMC’s Advancing Equity in Learning Collection includes a variety of tools to support the implementation of these competencies. 

Diversity Competencies

Knowledge and practices demonstrating that one values and understands how aspects of an individual’s overlapping identities create unique lived experiences that may influence health and health care outcomes.

Actions that promote social, economic, educational, and policy changes that advocate for achieving optimal learning, health, and well-being within the health care team and the system.

“Diversity refers to the identities we carry. There are many kinds of diversity, based on race, gender, sexual orientation, class, age, country of origin, education, religion, geography, physical or cognitive abilities, or other characteristics. Valuing diversity means recognizing differences between people, acknowledging that these differences are a valued asset, and striving for diverse representation as a critical step towards equity.”

— Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Competencies Across the Learning Continuum

Equity Competencies

Practices that mitigate implicit and explicit attitudes or stereotypes in favor of or against one person or group compared with another; biases may influence attitudes and behaviors adversely, leading to discriminatory practices, especially when clinicians and educators are faced with external pressure or limited time.

Practices that measurably reduce population-level differences in health outcomes, disease burden, and the distribution or allocation of resources between majority and marginalized groups based on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intellectual and developmental ability, socioeconomic status, the physical (built) environment, geographic location, and psychosocial-, behavioral-, and health care-related factors.

Educational and clinical practices that seek to revise and correct local, state, and national policies; institutional practices; and cultural misrepresentations that enable and perpetuate racial bias and race-based health care inequities.

Practices that influence decision-makers and other vested groups and individuals to support or implement system-level policies and practices that contribute to realizing health equity.

“Equity refers to fairness and justice and is distinguished from equality. While equality means providing the same to all, equity requires recognizing that we do not all start from the same place because power is unevenly distributed. The process is ongoing, requiring us to identify and overcome uneven distribution of power as well as intentional and unintentional barriers arising from bias or structural root causes.”

— Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Competencies Across the Learning Continuum

Inclusion Competencies

Practices in the clinical and educational environments that result in individuals feeling valued for their authenticity and intersectionality. These practices create safe spaces where individuals can express themselves without a fear of retribution, feel validated for multiple identities, and feel valued for their unique contributions.

Practices that promote inclusive and collaborative written and spoken communication that help patients, families, and health care teams understand and actively integrate health care information.

Practices that ensure patients, families, and communities have an equal voice and equal access to services and resources needed for optimal patient care.

“Inclusion refers to how our defining identities are accepted in the circles that we navigate. Belonging evolves from inclusion; it refers to the extent to which individuals feel they can be authentic selves and can fully participate in all aspects of their lives. Inclusion is a state of being valued, respected and supported. At the same time, inclusion is the process of creating a working culture and environment that recognizes, appreciates, and effectively utilizes the talents, skills and perspectives of every employee; uses employee skills to achieve the agency’s objectives and mission; connects each employee to the organization; and encourages collaboration, flexibility and fairness. In total, inclusion is a set of behaviors (culture) that encourages employees to feel valued for their unique qualities and experience a sense of belonging.”

— Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Competencies Across the Learning Continuum