Partnership with a Theater Company to Amplify Voices of Underrepresented-in-Medicine Students

Hernandez, George; Sandena, Valeria; Douglas, Sotonye; Miyako Williams, Amy; Williams, Anna-Leila

Medical education has a long history of discriminatory practices. Because of the hierarchy inherent in medical education, underrepresented-in-medicine (URiM) students are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and often feel they have limited recourse to respond without repercussions.

URiM student leaders at a USA medical school needed their peers, faculty, and administration to know the institutional racism and other forms of discrimination they regularly experienced. The students wanted to share first-person narratives of their experiences; however, they feared retribution. This paper describes how the medical students partnered with a theater company that applied elements of verbatim theater to anonymously present student narratives and engage their medical school community around issues of racism and discrimination.

The post-presentation survey showed the preponderance of respondents increased understanding of URiM student experiences, desired to engage in conversation about inclusion, equity, and diversity, and wanted to make the medical school more inclusive and equitable. Responses from students showed a largely positive effect from sharing stories.

First-person narratives can challenge discriminatory practices and generate dialogue surrounding the experiences of URiM medical students. Authors of the first-person narratives may have a sense of empowerment and liberation from sharing their stories. The application of verbatim theater provides students the safety of anonymity, thereby mitigating fears of retribution.


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Also Published In

Voices in Bioethics

More About This Work

Published Here
August 29, 2022


Medical Education, narratives, underrepresented, discrimination, Inclusive, Diversity, students