Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine faculty member, Dr. Vicki Sapp, presents at 2018 Racism in Medicine Conference

Medical students from Pennsylvania and New Jersey collaborate to host the annual conference, held this year in Philadelphia

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SCRANTON, PA (12/05/2018) On Nov. 17, Vicki T. Sapp, PhD, a faculty member at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) and its director of student engagement, diversity and inclusion, traveled with 23 GCSOM students to Drexel University's College of Medicine participate in the 2018 Racism in Medicine Conference. Dr. Sapp also presented a break-out session at the conference.

Dr. Sapp's session, entitled "Understanding and Interrupting Microaggressions in Medical School Education," meant to provide attendees with the tools to recognize and navigate potentially awkward or harmful situations and interactions.

"The students were excited to learn what microaggressions are," Dr. Sapp said. "In the past, they just knew they were having feelings. The workshop provided the tools and the vocabulary to know the feelings, to ask questions and to clarify. While this is useful in interacting with peers, the ultimate goal is for the students to take what they learn and use it with patients when they are doctors - to be sure the patient feels understood."

Since 2015, medical students from Pennsylvania and New Jersey have collaborated to host the conference, whose purpose is to provide an opportunityfor people in healthcare or related fields to examinethe ways that racism affects the health of marginalized peopleand to develop strategies to oppose it. It is the second year GCSOM has participated and the first year that a GCSOM faculty member presented and a GCSOM student, Ashanti Littlejohn, was appointed to the Inter School Planning Committee.

Loren Robinson, MD, deputy secretary for health promotion and disease prevention for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, delivered the keynote address, "Racism as a Social Determinant of Health." Other speakers included Dorothy Roberts, JD, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and law who is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, assistant research professor, epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health.

Geisinger Commonwealth co-sponsored the conference together with the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) is a member of the Geisinger family. Geisinger Commonwealth offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Doylestown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degrees. The college's innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its 17-county region in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania, as well as from across the state and the nation. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. Visit