CV Health disparities and structural competencies 

By: Madelyn Terhune

Structural Competency is a newer approach that helps to educate health professionals on the relationship between social determinates of health and symptom expressions. It is important to teach this because there are many inequalities in the health care system and many disorders disproportionately affect minorities. Minority groups are actually at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Marginalized communities are often faced with less access to health care facilities or are apart of low socioeconomic status, so they are not able to afford treatment or a healthier lifestyle. Having higher stress because of a lack of resources or feeling of safety can lead to an even higher risk of heart disease. There has always been inequality in the multiple systems in the US and in recent times the pandemic has made that clearer to a lot of people.  With the current coronavirus pandemic more people have seen who is more impacted by this virus and which populations have more preexisting conditions. With structural competency, we can find better methods of identifying and targeting inequalities and finding ways to prevent them. In order to improve the healthcare system, it is important to improve healthcare for all and minimize the social determinants of health that are occurring.

In my group’s summer media project, we are talking about the connection between mental health and cardiovascular disease and how some populations are more affected than others. We will be informing our audience of different inequalities caused by the social determinants of health. Specifically, I will be talking about how stress has an impact on hypertension. Many minority communities are faced with chronic stressors like socioeconomic status and racism. Chronic stress can lead to heart problems like hypertension. For our audience, we are not specifically targeting health professionals, but our hope is that by educating the public we can minimize the stigmas that are attached to mental health and create a change. In terms of how to evaluate, I think implementing pre- and post-surveys to the audience about what they previously knew and what they learned will be a good way to measure. I think it would be a good way to see if they learned anything new and it would be interesting to see what and how much people already know about social determinants of health.

Importance of Structural competencies in Cardiovascular Health

By: Logan Long

Disparities in the U.S. health-care system has become a consistent issue in America. Currently, the U.S. spends more on health-care per capita compared to any other country in the world. Yet, we rank below most developed countries in health-care outcomes due to inequalities in health-care. Research shows that health-care disparities in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and race are key agents of poor health outcomes. Therefore, structural competency has emerged as a way to conceptualize and address health-related social injustice issues. 

  Structural competency builds on the social determinants of health, cultural sensitivity, cultural humility, and cultural competency. This is an approach that conveys the idea that race, social class, education, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and other individual factors determine interactions between patients and doctors. Cultural competency emerged as a method to remedy the U.S. health-care system’s blatant Eurocentrism. However, it backfired, and overtime, it limited culture to a list of traits and stereotypes that mask the effects of social inequalities on health outcomes. It also ran the risks of homogenizing, perpetuating stereotypes, and promoting victim-blaming explanations. While cultural competency focuses mainly on improving patient-physician communication, structural competency shifts attention beyond factors that influence health outcomes at individual interactions. It emphasizes the recognition of political and economic structures that created and sustained racial inequalities in health-care. Structural competency consists of social and economic policies, laws regulating the distribution of health and social resources, and social stratification based on race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, immigration status, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation,etc..

           Structural competency highlights how unjust social structures lead to suffering in health among vulnerable individuals and communities. This is especially demonstrated amidst the COVID 19 pandemic where there are significant sociodemographic and racial differences in COVID 19 morbidity and mortality rates. Many of the adverse health outcomes can be traced to zip codes, where some individuals have increased risk of exposure due to housing, employment, or income. These structural factors can also be applied to other health outcomes such as Cardiovascular health. Some cardiovascular diseases can be attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle. In the past, medical doctors have referred to those that didn’t follow medical advice as non-compliant and refused due to cultural or individual reasons. Although personal choice can play a part, the role of structural and social factors have become more apparent. For instance, a healthy diet and exercise can be difficult for those that live in low income or underserved areas due to lack of services like grocery stores, sidewalks, public transportation, and community gyms or parks. Safety could also be a concern. Meanwhile, those communities only have access to fast food, tobacco products, and other unhealthy items, all of which contribute to poor cardiovascular health. Some areas also lack health-care facilities, which can increase adverse outcomes in those areas as well. Overall, disease research should take into account how institutions, markets, resource availability, and health-care delivery shape presentations of symptoms in individuals. It also examines the impact of structural inequity, structural racism, and structural stigma on heart health and illness.

           For our media project, my group examines the impact of tobacco use during pregnancy and the risk of congenital heart defects. We used structural competency when regarding our audience, which are minority women in low-income areas. This is mainly because cigarette companies typically market aggressively in these areas, which makes it very difficult for some women to quit as well as escape secondhand smoke. These areas also lack cessation resources and our goal by the end of the presentation is to present solutions that are accessible to our audience. A metric that can be used to test the effectiveness of the media project in addressing structural competency and science communication is pre and post surveys to see if the learning objective was achieved. Also possibly incentivizing the polls to encourage completion.


Structural Competency in Healthcare

By: Bianca Walker

Both structural and  cultural  competency  have  an  overwhelming  effect  on  cardiovascular health and disease research. The textbook definition of structural competency can be described as  the  ability  of  health  care  providers  to  appreciate  how  health  problems,  diseases,  attitudes toward  a  patient  or  population,  and  health  systems  are influenced  by  social  determinants  of health. For example, in these past few months, research has shown how COVID has affected more African Americans than any other ethnic group. But when looking at these results, it is essential to look at the underlying causes of why African Americans are susceptible to this virus similar to how they are more susceptible to cardiovascular failure. It is the combination of other underlying health  conditions  and  social  determinants  of  health  that  make COVID so  deadly  for  African Americans. Additionally, many health care providers need to take time to understand how the lack of health care,  transportation,  funding,  and  other inequalities all have a role in their patient’s overall health. Taking the time out to  look  at  them  not  just  someone  who  will  make  them  money,  but  a  real  person who has struggles that affect their everyday life can have a significant difference in their patient’s care.

In my research for  my  summer  media  project,  I  noticed  a  pattern  of  African  American women  being  more  susceptible  to  Preeclampsia  (hypertension  during  pregnancy)  than  other ethnic groups. Like many other diseases especially cardiovascular disease, this can be due to their underlying health problems before pregnancy or simply because of their zip code. In a perfect system,  these  social  factors  would  not  determine  the  care  that  one  would  be  provided,  but unfortunately in reality, they do. For my project, my group will be conveying the various actions that women can take  before they  are  pregnant  to  reduce  their  likelihood  of  developing  this  form  of hypertension.  These include  encouraging  to  go  to  the  doctor  for  a  check-up  if  possible  before pregnancy and choosing their doctor wisely to ensure they have the best care. Unfortunately, it is a reality that many of the deaths that come from African American pregnancies are due to the lack of  healthcare  they  receive  while  at  the  hospital,  especially during early postpartum.  This is  a  direct result from the lack of structural competency within health care providers and the health care system continues without accountability. An article from the JAMA Network states that the U.S. healthcare system needs a new structurally competency report and a new set of board examinations. Creating doctors who already have a background and understanding in recognizing the many inequitable factors that goes into a patient’s health can improve the quality of the system overall. A cultural shift in the mindsets of healthcare providers is one of the many steps that need to be taken to ensure that everyone receives the equitable healthcare.

Structural Competency: A Societal Necessity

By Davin Means

Various social determinants, biases, inequities and blind spots within daily living can affect the health of an individual, years upstream to the development of illness. Variables such as race, class, discriminatory housing, employment, education, income, criminal justice, and healthcare, all are important factors that impact future patients long before they enter the examination room. Structural Competency is a cross disciplinary mode of action that employs methods from sociology, economics, and urban planning in order to combat negative health outcomes imposed by poverty, inequality, racism, and discrimination. Structural competency identifies and analyzes ways that unequal social conditions create and perpetuate negative health outcomes and trains healthcare professions to recognize ways that neighborhood conditions, public policies, local consumer economy, food networks, transportation systems, and localized healthcare delivery systems impact a population’s susceptibility to diseases and negative symptoms. Structural competency analyzes the effects of how previous practices such as structural, institutional, political, and economic racisms affect minority healthcare, but it does so with the ultimate goal of developing new systems, practices, and action plans that address health disparities in the present day. 

There are a few possible ways that structural competency can influence modern health. Structural vulnerability analysis can be done to highlight inadequate infrastructures and policies such as medical bankruptcies or lack of personal protective equipment that contribute to devastating outcomes in vulnerable populations. Structural competency emphasizes the necessity of community communication and the expansion of the public voice within healthcare, in order to build structurally competent community health centers and hospitals that address both the medical and social issues of patients. Physicians and healthcare providers must be educated in the social, structural, and political basis for disease, and the field of medical care and public health must seamlessly integrate in order to effectively impact health outside of the clinical setting. Furthermore structurally competent health centers would provide aid within food and housing assistance, the delivery of resources such as PPE, and the creation of novel financial and legal partnerships.

Structural competency is crucial for the future advancement of cardiovascular health and disease research. Despite the continual advances within medicine, minority populations such as African Americans, Latin Americans, and American Indians, are continuously having higher negative cardiovascular health outcomes than their non minority counterparts. African Americans, for example, are almost 50% more likely to have hypertension and almost two times more likely to die of  heart disease than whites; nearly one in every three Latin American women develop heart disease or stroke; and American Indians ate 30% more likely to develop coronary artery disease than whites. Structural competency is necessary to counteract the health disparities that affect these minority populations. These disparities include but are not limited to the following minority realities.  Competent health centers are less likely to be built in lower economic areas, thus minorities lack access to clinics and healthcare specialists. Blacks and Hispanics are twice as likely to live in poverty than whites. Blacks are ten percent less likely, and American Indians and Latin Americans are twenty percent less likely to have healthcare insurance or coverage. Furthermore, over 51% of hispanic americans admit to having no doctor. These factors in conjunction with increased alcohol and tobacco accessibility in minority areas, as well as decreased accessibility to healthy foods within minority neighborhoods, all contribute to these disastrous cardiovascular consequences that affect minority populations. The implementation of structurally competent healthcare facilities and community intervention would reduce these negative cardiovascular outcomes. 

In our media project, Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Effects on Cardiovascular Health, we address structural competency throughout the entirety of our production. Within the stress and hypertension section, we address the various socioeconomic stressors that contribute to negative minority cardiovascular health outcomes. We view the connections between anxiety and cardiovascular disease through a lens of social factors such as class, economic factors such as income, psychological factors such as racism, and behavioral factors such as unhealthy habits. Within the depression and cardiovascular disease section, we touch on cultural mindsets about mental health and how that affects the method in which patients seek treatment. We conclude our media project by addressing methods with which individuals, communities, and healthcare systems can employ structural competencies within their own underserved populations. 

References and Additional Readings.

Structural Competency and Cardiovascular Health

By: Kristen Smith

A well known quote states, “… your zip code or socioeconomic status should never determine the quality of your education…” Sadly, the harsh reality is while the quote promotes fairness and health equity, there are still many improvements to be made and the gradual change will take time. On a global aspect, we have come a long way with improvements, but we have a long way to go. Structural Competency is classified as, “ the capacities of practitioners to respond to the ways in which broad social, political and economic mechanisms contribute to the vulnerability and ill health of individuals and communities.” In a recent article that focuses on The Need for a Structurally Competent Healthcare System, it highlights the issues involving social determinants of health, as it applies to the response of the global pandemic. Structural Competency applies to cardiovascular health and disease research and our summer media projects directly correlate with the structural competency of the healthcare system and the effects it has on pregnant women, their families and loved ones. 

The way structural competency will be effective is by bringing up healthcare workers, who all care about the well-being of all mankind, regardless of where they come from, and exposing them to structural competency. Along with healthcare workers, city officials, lawmakers, and individuals living in the communities, there should be hope to hold onto. All of these factors apply to cardiovascular disease and research because it is affecting so many people and the numbers continue to rise. Researchers are working extensively hard to help bridge the gaps, but without being fully aware of the structural competency that we are experiencing, the problem will continue to exist. With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of morbidity in America and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease being increasingly high around the globe, structural competency is the driving force to be the change. Social determinants of health have to be addressed, but in more recent times, actually paying close attention to these public health issues will be the underlying measures that will help solve these problems that have been going on for ages. 

The media project I am currently working on could potentially help with raising awareness and becoming more engaged in the community. These surveys we plan to execute could help pregnant women, their families and loved ones by lowering these rising numbers of gestational hypertension. If they are more aware of these health conditions, it is the hope that they will begin taking preventative measures. By lowering these numbers, hopefully there will be less likelihood of the diseases gestational hypertension can lead to and cause. Our media projects should definitely involve creating an easily accessible database, or resource for the public to be able to become educated on these health conditions. We can share the information we found to our local community, whether it be through a free news outlet, or tell a family member our findings. Along with an accessible database, it would be helpful if the entire program could generate an app, possibly in the form of a game, or educational videos, available in Google Play and the Apple Store, which could help everyone, and connect with science communication. Structural competencies is an amazing approach, but correcting these social determinants of health and health equity for all mankind will take time. These gradual shifts are beginning with raising the awareness of structural competency, which in return will eventually reveal a betterment in the healthcare system.

COVID-19 and Structural Competency

By: C’Aira Dillard

In the title, three is a term that has been used periodically during these COVID-19 times. According to Dr. Jonathan Metzl, structural competency “calls on methods from sociology, economics, urban planning, and other disciplines to systematically train health care professionals and others to recognize ways that institutions, neighborhood conditions, market forces, public policies, and health care delivery systems shape symptoms” (Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for a Structurally Competent Health Care System).In other words, identify and change ways that certain individuals in certain community’s health is affected based on their social and economic factors. Structural competency applies to cardiovascular health disease and research because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. For example, if an African American woman presents with high blood pressure the physician most likely will prescribe a medication to regulate the high blood pressure. The physician may conclude that their part is complete and within a couple weeks have a follow-up appointment with that patient to see if the medication is working. The physician did not take into consideration whether the patient has access to a pharmacy to pick up the medication. Do they have medical insurance to cover the cost or are they living paycheck to paycheck? Structural competency has been identified, but now there needs to be changes implemented to address the issue.

In the article, “Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for a Structurally Competent Health Care System” the authors suggest four main areas that first needs to be addressed to combat the broader range of structural competency. These four areas include promoting truth and reconciliation, reimagining infrastructure, democratizing information, and educating. Promoting truth and reconciliation would allow the U.S. health care system to take full account on why they have failed certain people in certain communities. Reimagining infrastructure suggest building more health centers and hospitals that address patients’ social and medical needs. Then, democratizing information would be to have more efficient communication channels. Allow community leaders to inform health strategies and emergency preparedness to the public so they can better understand. Lastly, educate by training health care professionals on health equity, structural competency, and social determinants. Structural competency is a broad topic and my media project group, Hypertension and Pregnancy, plan to address this issue. For instance, each of the four domains that was briefly described in the previous paragraph all relate to our media project. With promoting truth and reconciliation, studies show that African American women are more prone to having hypertension during pregnancy. Physicians should be truthful with their patients from the beginning to allow them to plan accordingly during their pregnancy. My group will discuss reimagining infrastructure by acknowledging the lack of not only health centers but healthy food options and grocery stores in impoverished and low-income neighborhoods. With democratizing information allow community activists, who are professionally educated in health topics, relay certain information to the community in a way they will understand. Lastly, we will address education that applies for everyone. The patient needs to be educated on how to eat a proper diet to maintain their blood pressure during pregnancy. Also, health care professionals need to be educated in knowing that medication and health therapies is not always the answer to combat an illness or disease. Social and economic factors can play a role in a person’s health. Due to the media projects being virtual the most effective way to evaluate the metrics of structural competency and science communication would be through pre and post surveys, quizzes, and analytics, such as number of views and clicks of provided links.

Structural Competencies and its Applications

By: Alexandra Filipkowski

The term ‘structural competency’ is used to emphasize the unique, and ever-changing relationships between clinical problems and social determinants of health. Social determinants of health include, but are not limited to, an individual’s housing situation, education, and income.These factors are absolutely vital for healthcare workers to keep in mind because they dictate an individual’s likeliness to get a certain illness or an individual’s ability, or lack thereof, to seek out proper treatment.

Structural competencies are constantly disproportionately affecting minority groups, especially with regards to cardiovascular health and disease. It is known that ​heart disease is the second leading cause of death for US Hispanics, responsible for 20.8 % of all deaths. Many people may take this fact and just assume that “oh that is unlucky for all those hispanic” or “maybe it is just something in hispanic DNA.” However, the problem is much bigger than a ‘case of bad luck.’ Instead, we have to take into consideration where most hispanics people live and look to see if there may be a connection between location and availability of tobacco products, which are notorious for causing heart problems. Additionally, we would have to analyze the average income of these hispanic people.There could be a chance that the majority of hispanics don’t make enough money in their jobs, thus they do not want to spend the money they have on heart screenings or routine doctors appointments. These are just two examples of how a certain minority group being affected by a disease is more than just a case of ‘bad luck.’ Clearly, the prominence of heart disease in Hispanics is rooted within factors like income and location that we refer to as ‘social determinants of health.’

This being said, it is clear that my media project needs to be crafted through a lens focused on social determinants of health. My research project is looking at the “Connection between maternal smoking and Ventricular Septal Defects.” In order to understand the effects of Tobacco I am looking at which minority group has the largest amount of ventricular septal defects. However, once I find this information I am going to see which of these groups may have greater access to tobacco given their zip code. To elaborate, I want to know why these pregnant women are easily getting access to the tobacco, and it likely has something to do with their less affluent zip code, thus being surrounded with more violence and drugs.

For the metrics for my media project my group will have a “Pre-Video Quiz” and a“Post-Video Quiz.” In the “Pre-Video Quiz” we will ask the viewers questions to gauge how much information they already know about ventricular septal defects. Some questions may include “Rate on a scale of 1-10 how much you think maternal smoking can affect an unborn baby” or “Please select which description below most accurately describes what a ventricular septal defect is.” In the “Post-Video Quiz” we will ask mainly the same questions as we did in the “Pre-Video Quiz.” By doing this, we can see what the viewer knew prior to our media project and then we can see if the viewer actually learned anything based on their answers in the “Post-Video Quiz.” Clearly, if a viewer can get a substantial amount of answers correct in the “Post-Video Quiz” compared to their answers in the “Pre-Video Quiz” then we can confidently assume that they learned something, thus our video was effective. / 2women are easily getting access to the tobacco and it likely has something to do with their lessaffluent zip code, thus being surrounded with more violence and drugs.For the metrics for my media project my group will have a “Pre-Video Quiz” and a“Post-Video Quiz.” In the “Pre-Video Quiz” we will ask the viewers questions to gauge howmuch information they know about ventricular septal defects. Some questions may include “Rateon a scale of 1-10 how much you think maternal smoking can affect an unborn baby” or “Pleaseselect which description below most accurately describes what a ventricular septal defect is.” Inthe “Post-Video Quiz” we will ask mainly the same questions as we did in the “Pre-Video Quiz.”By doing this, we can see what the viewer knew prior to our media project and then we can see ifthe viewer actually learned anything based on their answer to the “Post-Video Quiz.” Clearly, ifa viewer can get a substantial amount of answers correct in the “Post-Video Quiz” compared totheir answers in the “Pre-Video Quiz” then we can confidently assume that they learnedsomething, thus our video was effective.

Structural Competency in my Media Project

By: Hector Haddock-Martinez

Unfortunately, there are evident inequalities and inequities in the overall health of the US population. Race, education level, social status, and even zip codes continuously dictate the health risks of individuals. These conditions are known as the social determinants of health. Although medical facilities and technology have increased significantly in the past decades, this improvement has done little to change the narrative of the social determinants of health in the US.

Recently, structural competency has been proposed as a solution to some of the disparities that exist due to the social determinants of health. In a nutshell, structural competency refers to teaching health professionals (nurses, physicians, first responders) about the social determinants of health, and how these external conditions can influence the health of an individual. Moreover, the goal of structural competency is to allow health professionals to recognize the underlying networks that can promote improved health for the general population (for example: food supplies, housing security, transportation, etc).

In the context of cardiovascular disease (CVD), structural competency is one of the most powerful resources we may have to reduce the toll of heart disease on the US population. Currently, minorities have a significantly highest risk for developing CVD when compared to Caucasians. An overwhelming amount of evidence has suggested that this disparity in CVD is directly linked to the social determinant of health. By training a generation of health professionals that is fully immersed in structural competency, we can work to build a society in which every group can benefit from having a healthy heart. Specifically, these health professionals can push to incorporate food banks, housing security assistance, and equal health resource access to future hospitals and health care centers, which will help address health disparities and reduce CVD nationwide. Additionally, these trained professionals will have the necessary background to research CVD from the perspective of health disparities and structural competency, which will allow for novel studies that can provide valuable information regarding future steps that must be taken to address inequity and inequality in the US health system.

Although the media project I am currently working on is not targeted towards health professionals, I still believe that it directly addresses structural competency. According to a recent JAMA article, one of the four domains of intervention that emerges from structural competency analysis is the democratization of information. The goal of my media project is to present highly specialized information regarding the link between mental and cardiovascular health to a non-scientific audience, particularly to those who suffer from mental health issues. Normally, the primary sources for this information are filled with scientific jargon that is difficult to understand by the lay person. However, by presenting this information in a much more approachable way, I am helping to democratize information to a community that is directly affected by social determinants of health.

Despite having the intention of addressing structural competency through my media project, I am aware that we must incorporate metrics that actually allow us to determine whether or not this issue was truly addressed. In the case of the “democratize education” domain of structural competency, I believe that a valuable metric could be to apply a Flesh-Kincaid score to the script of our media projects. The goal of this score is to determine the grade level needed to understand what is being said in the script. Since our goal is to “democratize information”, we could establish a maximum grade level of 6th grade for our scripts. This would ensure that are message is understandable to the majority of the general population. Moreover, there is automated software that can determine the grade level of text. This metric also ties in with the goal of assuring proper science communication to the masses.

Note: democratizing information also involves making sure that the information reaches the population most affected by the social determinants of health. Thus, other measures (such as social media analytics, hashtag engagements, or surveys) must be used in order to determine the reach of our media projects.

Health Disparities and Structural Competency

By Dimitri Johnson

In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death.  Disparities in medical care across minority groups.  The way medical professionals are trained can have a negative impact on the health outcomes in patients of low socioeconomic status. Another area to explore in resolving health disparities is new clinical politics in order to understand the relationships among class, race, and how symptoms are expressed. This exploration is termed structural competency.  But in a clinical setting this is called “cultural competency.”  A culturally competent approach highlights  the sociocultural backgrounds of patients and their illnesses and the doctors involved.

A strong way to implement structural competency would be to start at the educational level of the healthcare providers. In order to help these systems we must recognize how decision making of health care providers is influenced by economic, physical, and socio-political forces.  We must also pay attention to the infrastructure of the healthcare environment and the infrastructure of public health. Researchers are beginning to understand that environments poor in resources do lead to physiological responses that eventually lead to chronic disease. Another part of this is using literature from multiple disciplines to help define cultural clinical presentation without taking away from the individual cultures.  We need specific language to better able the teaching of healthcare providers.  One of the biggest areas of change needed is in the legislation.  It must be recognized at the national level that structural intervention.  Once we identify structures that impact minority populations, we must then find out how to change them.  The last component of structural competency is structural humility.  We must recognize the limitations of structural competency.  In terms of applying this to healthcare education, students must realize that the system will not always work and has its limits. 

For my group’s summer media topic we are focusing on pregnancy and hypertension.  We are looking at this issue specifically in the Black population so we can include structural and cultural competency in this discussion.  We will talk about methods to prevent hypertension before pregnancy specifically in the minority populations.  Metrics that could be used in a rubric to evaluate these efforts could include making sure there is discussion about how to affect the healthcare or legislative system in terms of structural competency.  Also, there should be discussion about the particular media project and how it addresses health disparities. 

AMA J Ethics. 2018;20(3):211-223. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2018.20.3.peer1-1803.

Metzl, J. M., & Hansen, H. (2014). Structural competency: theorizing a new medical engagement with stigma and inequality. Social science & medicine (1982), 103, 126–133.

Week Five: What is going on?

Please complete this short survey to evaluate the program at it’s half way point. The answers you are submitting are totally anonymous! This survey will help us to improve the program and provide you will the opportunities and resources that you need to thrive.

Planning Your Scientific Journey


Three-week course

June 22nd – July 10th

Being successful as a scientist requires more than acquiring knowledge and developing experimental skills. It also requires: (1) asking a good scientific question, (2) establishing a clear plan of action, and (3) seeking advice along the way. These three topics are the focus of iBiology’s course, “Planning Your Scientific Journey.” Through customizing the iBiology content, we provide summer 2020 undergraduate students an opportunity to explore these topics during their virtual experience. The goal of this course is to have our Summer Undergraduate virtual research student explore research questions that interest them, define potential career goals, and to network with mentors and faculty that can support their scientific journey.

June 22th

9:45 AM – Pre-meeting chats

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Program virtual “huddle” with Kendra


OPTIONAL: 11:00 AM-12:00 PM SU – Pulmonary arterial hypertension

Dr. Joseph Wu –

Register in advance for this webinar:
Password: CVI@Lokey

OPTIONAL: 12:00 PM-1:00 PM Virtual VSSA – Faculty Seminar


1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Video Group Update: The Final Count Down


June 23th

OPTIONAL: 10:00 AM Gental Yoga Session

Description: Kaitlin Briana Oliver, Yoga Instructor in Bristol UK
Meeting ID: 2864883911 Password: ZenDen

OPTIONAL: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM SU – Faculty Career Path Talks

Register in advance for this webinar:

Dr. Vivek Bhalla –

Dr. Leah Backhus –

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Survey Development Workshop


2:00 – 3:00 PM Cardiovascular Science Talk – Jerod Denton

June 24th

OPTIONAL 11:00-12:00PM : SU – Imaging surveillance following treatment for cancer and cancer survivorship

Dr. Leah Backhus –

Register in advance for this webinar: 
Password: CVI@Lokey

OPTIONAL: 12:00 PM-1:00 PM : Virtual VSSA – Faculty Seminar


1:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Bruce Inverso, American Health Association Senior Vice-President of Health Strategies

Bruce Inverso, American Health Association Senior Vice-President of Health Strategies, is speaking to the PAECER/SURE scholars on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 1 pm.  Below is a description of his discussion on “Health Strategies/Burdens and Needs.”

“The American Heart Association is committed to making an impact throughout the country with a focus on health equity. The AHA has created a 2030 Impact Goal to improve healthy life expectancy, and one of the key ways of doing that is the elimination of social influencers of health. The AHA continues to work in the community to give all Americans an equitable shot at good health. Bruce will discuss the AHA’s mission, priorities, and future direction.”

June 25th

First video due by the end of the day!

8:00 – 9:00AM VU-Grand Rounds: How Structural Racism Affects Health and Health Care

Tené Hamilton Franklin, MS., Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Health Leads.

The Honorable Harold M. Love, Jr., member of the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senior Pastor at Lee Chapel AME Church.

John S. Sergent, MD, MACP, MACR., Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Sergent served as Vice Chair for Education and Residency Program Director in the Department of Medicine from 2003-2013.

Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, MSCI., Professor of Medicine and Vice President for Health Equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Career Pathway Talk

Chris Williams MD PhD Director of the MSTP


1:00-2:00 PM – BU: Having a Successful Feedback Conversation

Facilitator : Emelia J Benjamin MD ScM (BUSM/BUSPH)

Register in advance for this meeting:

3:00-4:00 PM – Survey review with Dr. Amanda Clayton


June 26th

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt

OPTIONAL: 12:00 – 1:00 PM Virtual VSSA


1:00 -3:00 PM : VU-iewing party (watch videos created by VU students)

As we approach the halfway mark in the summer program, we will take a look at the videos that each group of students has produced so far. We will also pilot the surveys that they have created to measure the impact of their videos. Join us for the viewing party and provide constructive feedback!

To participate in the live watch party, please visit our summer program site ( at 1:00 PM CT we will be watching the videos together, posting comments, and piloting the surveys.


OPTIONAL: SU – Design Thinking Workshop

In preparation for this workshop, please review the Starter Kit
Additionally, please make sure you have the following supplies:

  • Several sheets of paper (may need 20 sheets)
  • Tape (scotch and duct)
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Pens and pencils ideally of different colors

Dr. Bryant Lin –

Register in advance for this webinar: