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Equity team encourages use of cultural complications curriculum

Penn State College of Medicine’s Sustainability Council Equity Team announced that a new resource is available to residency and fellowship programs and departments to help faculty, staff, trainees and students better respond to incidents of bias.

Dr. Amanda Cooper, assistant professor of surgery, and other members of the Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce facilitated a series of discussions within the Department of Surgery on important topics ranging from microaggressions and structural racism to ableism and gender fair language. The presentations were part of the Cultural Complications Curriculum, designed by faculty and residents at the University of Maryland and University of Michigan.

The curriculum covers 12 core themes in diversity, equity and inclusion and helps introduce audiences to terms, scientific evidence for concepts and sample cases to spur discussion among participants. Cooper said that the curriculum could be adapted to areas outside of surgery and that she and other members of the Sustainability Council Equity Team are available to help adapt the curriculum for specific programs.

“The series was well-received by members of the Department of Surgery and spurred lots of important discussions,” Cooper said. “Our hope is that other departments or programs in our academic and health care community can modify the curriculum to align with their specific disciplines and bring greater awareness for addressing instances of discrimination.”

Learn more about the Cultural Complications Curriculum

Email Dr. Amanda Cooper at for details.

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