The History and Health online learning modules give VCU and VCU Health employees and students an opportunity to examine and reconcile the connection between our institution’s history and current health disparities in Richmond and beyond. Each of the self-paced modules can be completed in under an hour and the reflection must be submitted to count toward the badging opportunity, continuing education credit, or VCU Health DEI requirements.
The History and Health learning modules included in this series center on how race and racism are embedded in one institution in one American city: Virginia Commonwealth University Health in Richmond, Virginia. Since the 1600s, race has been a subject of central importance for scientific study, and medicine has been foundational in the definition and maintenance of racial classifications and racial hierarchies. Established as the Medical College of Virginia in the mid-1800s, VCU Health Sciences and the VCU Health System, like all medical institutions, engaged in and benefited from slavery, segregation, and racism. Foregrounding and highlighting this history constitutes a first step toward institutional and individual accountability and responsibility, a necessary process for effecting systematic transformation. We hope that as you complete these modules and deepen your understanding of how VCU’s history has contributed to current health disparities in Richmond, you will share what you’ve learned with your colleagues. We also hope that you will apply this knowledge to help improve health outcomes for all Richmond community members.