What knowledge is needed? Teaching undergraduate medical students to “go upstream” and advocate on social determinants of health
We rarely teach medical students the skills required to engage in policy change to address the structural factors that underpin the social determinants of health, which are driven by the unequal distribution of power and resources in society. Acquiring the knowledge and skills to influence policy can empower students to act on healthcare inequities rather than simply be aware of them.
Using Metzl and Hansen’s structural competency framework, we designed and piloted an intervention for medical students. Participants attended a workshop, presented to a hypothetical political stakeholder, and wrote anopinion editorial piece. Students participated in a focus group that was audio-recorded and transcribed. We coded and analyzed presentations, editorials, and transcripts to develop a thematic analysis.