Examining the Presence of Racial Bias in Dermatology Education and Its Reproduction in Practice
Dyson, Gabrielle Alyssa
Dermatology, a specialty that focuses on skin, is not exempt from health disparities based on race. I argue that the low rate of representation of darker skin in dermatology education in medical school negatively impacts the type of care patients with darker skin receive in dermatology practice. In analyzing existing literature, a common theme is that there are a variety of reasons for why dermatologic health disparities exist. Most sources looked at either the presence of a dermatology curriculum or medical education textbooks. This paper combines both aspects and reviews materials used in 151 AAMC accredited medical schools to determine if and in what capacity dermatology is incorporated into the curriculum, as well as six major general medical education and dermatology textbooks to determine the rate of darker skin representation using the Fitzpatrick skin scale. Skin colors that were deemed to be level V (5) or VI (6) were considered dark skin. The findings show that only 5 out of 151 medical schools have a sole dermatology section in their curriculum and that dark skin representation is less than 30% for all of the textbooks. Through the lens of Critical Race Theory, this project seeks to highlight how the lack of adequate dark skin representation in medical school can impact the type of care patients with darker skin receive in the future.