Examining MPH Student Knowledge and Awareness of Racism: Implications for the Public Health Curriculum Open Access

Stephens, Nancy Karen (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/v118rf23x?locale=en
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Abstract

Problem/Background: The public health community has questioned the role of public health in addressing racism. Various public health stakeholders have supported the idea that racism is a public health issue and some academic literature has furthered this idea with calls for the inclusion of eliminating racism content within the public health curriculum. If racism is and should be considered a public health issue, how, if at all, is it represented in the public health education/curriculum and is there currently any knowledge and awareness of racism as it pertains to public health among MPH students?

Methods: Data was collected via an online survey containing both quantitative and open-ended questions. The study's target population consisted of second-year (18 or more credits hours completed) graduate students from the Rollins School of Public Health's Master of Public Health (MPH) program. The survey measured whether respondents had experiences in their classroom/coursework versus outside of their MPH program that raised their awareness and knowledge of racism's impact on health as well as whether or not they considered their MPH program's racism content to be appropriate.

Results: Students overwhelmingly indicated being knowledgeable about racism related topics and concepts. In addition, students felt prepared to work as practitioners to eliminate race based health disparities and address specific issues like how racism can impact access to health among people of color. Nonetheless, students most often attributed their knowledge to sources outside of their MPH program. A majority felt that their MPH program should offer more opportunities to discuss racism's role, relationship and impact on health disparities and that this content should be included on a "mandatory" and "required" basis versus via voluntary or extra-curricular activities.

Summary: This study suggests several specific areas where increased attention and incorporation of racism related content is warranted among schools of public health and their governing national organizations as well as for the entire public health community.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION.. 1

Background/Problem Statement 2

Purpose Statement 5

Significance Statement 6

Research Question(s) 7

Research Question 1. 7

Research Question 2. 7

Theoretical Framework. 8

Definition of Terms. 10

CHAPTER 2 - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.. 12

Introduction. 12

Current Knowledge: Racism, Health Disparities, and Public Health. 12

History of Health Disparity in Public Health. 12

Health Disparities, Racism and Public Health: Is Racism a Public Health Issue?. 16

What is Racism?. 17

Racism Curriculum in Public Health. 19

Core and Interdisciplinary Competencies. 19

Focus on Community Service Based Learning. 22

Cultural Competency vs. Racism Curriculum.. 24

Assessing Racism Curriculum in Public Health: Needs and Thesis Goals. 27

CHAPTER 3 - METHODOLOGY.. 30

Introduction. 30

Population and Sample. 30

Research Design and Recruitment 31

Research Design. 31

Recruitment 32

Study Instrument 33

Data Analysis. 35

CHAPTER 4 - RESULTS. 36

Introduction. 36

Demographics. 36

Racism Education in Public Health Curriculum.. 38

Characteristics of Knowledge. 40

Prepared as Practitioners. 45

Addressing Access in Public Health Curriculum.. 46

Appropriate Racism Content 47

Assessing Community Service. 54

CHAPTER 5 - DISCUSSION.. 58

Introduction. 58

Summary of Study. 58

Problem.. 58

Results. 59

Limitations. 64

Implications. 65

Recommendations. 66

Open dialogue. 66

Partnering. 67

Curriculum.. 68

Diversity. 68

Practicum/Community Service. 69

Guiding Principles and Policy Changes/Updates. 69

Future Research. 70

Advocacy. 70

Conclusion. 70

REFERENCES. 72

APPENDICES. 78

Appendix A - IRB Approval Letter 79

Appendix B - Recruitment Email - Sent September 23, 2016. 80

Appendix C - Recruitment Email - Sent October 12, 2016. 81

Appendix D - Recruitment Flyer 82

Appendix E - Survey Instrument (Including Informed Consent Letter) 83

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