Emergency Medicine Education and Health Care Disparities

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Education is the means by which learning occurs and, thereby, behavior is changed. One means of improving health care disparities is changing the behavior and understanding of key personnel in academic health centers. These individuals influence policy and procedure, design and evaluate health systems, and define curricular standards for graduate and undergraduate medical education. Emergency medicine provides many opportunities to educate at all levels, including faculty, residents, and students. In addition to our responsibilities in educating emergency medicine residents, the emergency department also provides an ideal learning environment for medical students and other health care providers. The broad issue of disparities in emergency health care may be approached from a variety of directions. The Consensus Group on Education chose to focus on cultural competency education at several levels as a means of tangibly changing its status for both the immediate and long terms.