College of Liberal Arts


Ethnic Studies Department

Degree Name

BA in Comparative Ethnic Studies




Elvira Pulitano


The purpose of this project is to evaluate ways in which historical racism and lack of it in pre- medical curriculum shapes future health professionals and results in negative medical treatment of under-represented groups. Research found in the literature review reveals a strong history of racism within medical practice and medical research, as well as unconscious bias that follows knowledge taught during undergraduate education and onwards. An intersectionality approach is used to show the affect of race and class on health disparities and unethical abuse. This research includes data analyzing the pre-medical curriculums of the ten pre-medical universities that produce the most medical school applicants. Through this analysis and a thorough review of literature, there is evidence that there is a lack of interdisciplinary coursework included in pre- medical curriculums and an absence of initiative by these top schools to promote coursework including humanities, or topics regarding class, race, ethnicity, and social factors affecting health. This research done compares similarly to the pre-medical curriculum recommended to students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. From this research, possible programs and changes to Cal Poly pre-medical curriculum can be incorporated to include interdisciplinary coursework. Through this suggestion there is hope that it will allow pre-medical students to become aware of social constructs, intersections between race, class, and health, as well as their influence in resolving health disparities and racism within the medical practice.