Unlocking Health Equity

The safety and health of our students and partners are of the utmost importance. As VCU monitors the spread of COVID-19 across the region, we have updated the format of our programming efforts. Sessions will be provided via Zoom until further notice. To attend, please register so that we are able to provide you with the necessary meeting details.

This co-curricular course is a semester long class for health sciences students.The intention of the course is to bring self-awareness of implicit bias to emerging healthcare professionals and to uncover the economic, social, and health inequities that have led to or perpetuate health disparities.

Self-awareness and an understanding of the basic tenets of health equity will be discussed in relation to care for marginalized patient groups. We will approach topics utilizing health-related social issues and health inequities relevant to those found in the Greater Richmond population. Wherever possible we will incorporate tools and strategies to help mediate the effect of implicit bias on patient care. This is particularily important in the time of COVID-19 as we provide health services in communities that have experienced historical or modern-day discrimination, maltreatment, and exploitation from healthcare systems.

Sessions will be offered from 12pm – 12:45pm on Tuesday’s. To register, click here.

Program Objectives

Students who participate in the Health Equity Co-curricular Program will:

  • Experience intellectual growth as they develop an understanding of diversity and inclusion concepts like implicit bias and social determinants of health.
  • Develop an understanding of critical clinical considerations when treating patients who are different from them, with attention to unique populations.
  • Gain an understanding of the racial disparity of COVID-19 burden and uncover the economic, social, and health inequities that have led to or perpetuate the disparity.
  • Discover strategies and techniques for providing quality care to patients who are different from them.

Earn Your Digital Badge!

The Office of Student Experience is partnering with Credly & the Office of Continuing and Professional Education to  provide participants of the Unlocking Health Equity course with a free web-enabled, verifiable digital badge for your completion of 5 sessions throughout the semester. Share this achievement on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, personal website(s) and your resume.

Spring 2021


  • February 9: Racial and Socio-Economic Disparities and COVID
    • Speaker: Sheryl Garland
    • Explore the racial disparities of COVID-19 and unpack the economic, social, and health inequities that have led to or perpetuate the disparity


  • February 16: Clinical Work with Patients of Color Amidst National Race-Related Events
    • Speaker: Paul Perrin, PhD
    • Discuss how national events influence patients of color and their perceptions of clinical care

    • Explore the policies and practices in non-health sectors that have impacts on health and health equity.


  • February 23: Are Cultural Images Fueling Our Bias?
    • Speaker: Dr. Grace D Gipson
    • Discuss the ways people use images, as well as how images use people and change their perception


  • March 2: Treating Patients with HIV
    • Speaker: Joy Zeh
    • Discuss the terms and practices associated with caring for HIV positive patients
    • Educate and bring awareness to the timeline of HIV and biases related to treating this population


  • March 23 Housing Policies & Impacts on Segregation 
    • Speaker: Mariah Williams
    • Explore the federal and state policies that can impact minority population
    • Provide students with a better understanding of the connection between housing and health exclusion


  • March 30: Spirituality & Healthcare
    • Speakers: Angela Flack & Allison Delaney
    • Identify critical cultural considerations related to the belief systems of patients
    • Demonstrate strategies for integrating patients’ belief systems into the treatment plan


Find past presentations on the Unlocking Health Equity resource page!