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Medical Students, Residents, and Faculty Educators Tackle Bias, Equity, and Fairness in Assessment at the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Conference

UCSF attendees at the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Conference on Ensuring Fairness in Assessment in Medical Education

Assessing learners is foundational to physician training and developmental growth throughout the medical education continuum. However, increasing evidence shows the prevalence and impact of harmful bias in assessments in medical education, accelerating the urgency to identify solutions.

Last fall, a team of UCSF faculty educators, medical students, and residents presented their research, their experiences, and recommendations at the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Conference on Ensuring Fairness in Medical Education Assessment.

Conference attendees discussed how to address the challenge of harmful bias in assessment, with a focus on providing solutions for assessors and learners in medical education, particularly in the clinical environment. They identified practical recommendations to overcome bias and to develop an ideal assessment system, including articulating values to guide assessment, designing assessment to foster learning and outcomes, attending to assessment procedures, promoting continuous quality improvement of assessment, and fostering equitable learning and assessment environments.

UCSF medical students and residents provided valuable perspectives based on their experiences with bias in assessment and positive examples of equitable, fair assessment during their clinical learning experiences in undergraduate and graduate medical education. These learners also provided helpful recommendations about steps that education leaders can take to design and implement assessments that are equitable, fair, and enhance learning.

UCSF attendees at the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Conference on Ensuring Fairness in Assessment in Medical Education included: 

  • Libby Burch, MD – Chief Resident, Pediatrics, UCSF 

  • Riley Brian, MD – Resident, Surgery, UCSF 

  • Justin Bullock, MD – Fellow, Nephrology, University of Washington; UCSF Medical School and Internal Medicine Residency graduate 

  • Karen Hauer, MD, PhD – Associate Dean for Competency Assessment and Professional Standards; Interim Vice Dean for Education: Faculty Development, Research, Accreditation; Macy Foundation Conference Co-Chair 

  • India Perez-Urbano – MS4, UCSF 

  • Arianne Teherani, PhD – Education Scientist in the UCSF Center for Faculty Educators and Director of Program Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement, UCSF School of Medicine 

  • Horatio Thomas, MD, MSc – Resident, Radiation Oncology, UCSF 

The conference paper titled, “’My Assessments are Biased!’ Measurement and Sociocultural Approaches to Achieve Fairness in Assessment in Medical Education” along with other conference proceedings, were recently published in a supplement in Academic Medicine