June 27, 2016—(BRONX, NY)—Cristina Gonzalez, M.D., M.Ed., associate professor of clinical medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and attending physician at Montefiore, has been selected as a 2016 Macy Faculty Scholar. One of only five chosen nationally, Dr. Gonzalez will receive a $100,000 grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to allow her to pursue her medical education research and curriculum development.
Cristina Gonzalez, M.D., M.Ed.“I am honored to have been selected by Macy and to become a part of the growing community of health profession educators,” said Dr. Gonzalez. “My incredible support system at Einstein and Montefiore has encouraged me to pursue my interests and I am particularly excited to help design new approaches to curriculum development that will improve medical education, and ultimately, the practice of medicine by our students.”
For her Macy project, Dr. Gonzalez will design, implement and rigorously evaluate a curriculum for teaching medical students how to recognize and manage their implicit biases—the unconscious and unintentional assumptions we all make about each other. These feelings and attitudes may be based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, appearance and socio-economic status. Studies have shown that implicit bias can potentially impair clinical care and patient outcomes, so it has been targeted for interventions aimed at reducing health disparities.
“My incredible support system at Einstein and Montefiore has encouraged me to pursue my interests and I am particularly excited to help design new approaches to curriculum development that will improve medical education, and ultimately, the practice of medicine by our students.”– Cristina Gonzalez, M.D., M.Ed.
Dr. Gonzalez’s position as a hospitalist in the division of hospital medicine at Montefiore has helped inform her education research. She says her clinical role has taught her that doctors must become aware of their subconscious biases so they can overcome them and be able to advocate for their patients on a regular basis.
“Dr. Gonzalez’s initiative to teach future doctors how to improve the health of vulnerable and marginalized populations exemplifies the educational change we need to meet the public’s changing health care needs,” said George Thibault, M.D., president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.
Dr. Gonzalez will build on her ongoing research in the field. Last year, she published a study evaluating the impact of the class she taught on health disparities, aimed at helping medical students identify and develop strategies to manage their implicit bias. Her work in this area has also been funded by the Amos Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation–making her only the second education researcher chosen as a Scholar in that program’s 30 year history.