IM chief resident Dr. Ray Hardy implements health care disparities curriculum for IM Residency Program

Health disparities graphic
Ray Hardy

Ray Hardy, M.D.
Chief Resident, Internal Medicine (2022-2023)

Rayphael “Ray” Hardy, M.D. is one of four internal medicine chief residents for the 2022-2023 academic year. He completed his undergraduate studies at Clemson University prior to joining MUSC for his medical school and residency training. After completion of his year as a chief resident, Dr. Hardy plans to pursue a career in academic gastroenterology. He is interested in medical education and curriculum development.

Leading New Efforts

One of Dr. Hardy’s main goals as chief resident this year was to implement a health care disparities curriculum for the internal medicine residency program. Read the interview below to learn what led to his active role in diversity initiatives and what he focused on this year.

What led you to take an active role in diversity and equity as it relates to education and residency training?

I'm originally from Singapore. My Dad is from North Carolina and was in the military and my mom is Arabic and European, so a very diverse family. I lived overseas my entire life until I was 15 years old and during that time I was exposed to many different cultures through our frequent travels. Then in 2007, I came to America for high school, and it was a completely different world. What’s amazing is that overseas (and maybe my parents shielded me from it), I didn't experience much racism or those different kinds of biases many people experience over here. But when I came to America, I started to really feel those things and it was definitely evident in my high school. In college, my interest in disparities really peaked with some of the groups that I volunteered with, and then in medical school as part of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) at MUSC. I think our medical school curriculum was fantastic. They did a really good job talking about disparities and the different kinds of biases that we experienced, but I thought our residency program was lacking all of that. Honestly, I think that's kind of what sparked a lot of my interest in this initiative.

What are your goals in implementing this curriculum?

Initially in my residency training, there wasn’t as much emphasis on disparities that I noticed. However, in 2020, after a series of unfortunate events across the country, our program leadership realized the need to implement health care disparities awareness and curriculum into residency training. The chief residents at that time (in 2020), started a bare bones skeleton of a disparities curriculum hosting one lecture every two to three months – this set the foundation which this past year’s chiefs worked to build upon. My next step as chief resident is to further expand upon that by implementing more didactics into academic half-day, and by actively engaging our speakers (from grand rounds or academic half-day) in discussions about what disparities they see in their practice to give us further insight into what they see from their patients.

My next goal in clinic is to investigate some of the common barriers that patients have in accessing our clinics. Whether they live in a small town where they don’t have access to transportation services such as Uber or are unable to take time off work, etc... There's a whole host of different things that could be going on. That's the gist of what we're trying to develop this year: more education, more clinical oversight to figure out what trends exist among our patients and then develop and implement ways that we can promote that awareness among our residents.

My plan is to develop a metric in the form of a survey that we will use to evaluate the success of this initiative and to determine the needs of our residents in terms of health care disparities education and what they want to learn more of – we can then tailor our speakers and curriculum accordingly to their interests.