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Farah Dadabhoy, MD










Emergency Medicine


Farah Dadabhoy MD, MSc, Adaira Landry, MD MEd

Writing In Color: A Pilot Writing Course for Healthcare Employees

The pandemic, federal policy and legal rulings, mass shootings, and police brutality over the past 2 years have caused many of us to recognize the damage that has been directed towards marginalized communities. Many of these same communities have not felt empowered to write about the issues that plague them. Even if empowered, many have not been formally trained to use their written words as a tool to inform others. We created Writing in Color, a free writing course for people of color, to level the playing field of who speaks about the issues that affect vulnerable populations.

Background: Writing is a tool to promote reflection, education, and healing. However, academic medicine has historically neglected instruction of writing on identity and inequity. Writing In Color trains healthcare professionals of color in the craft of writing and publishing with the goal of amplifying underrepresented voices.

Methods: Using grant funding, two, free, 5-week virtual courses were offered for healthcare employees of color. The classes, led by a trained creative writing instructor, focused on generating op-eds and personal essays for non-academic publications. Course feedback was collected through pre-course surveys and post-course surveys.

Results: Out of 48 applicants, 20participants were selected for a pilot, which included 16 physicians, 1 nurse, 1 student, and 2 staff members.  11 out of 20 participants completed the post-course survey. Overall satisfaction and course content were rated 4.64 out of a maximum of 5. 10 of the 11 survey respondents felt all 3 goals of the course were met: (1) provide mentorship and instruction on writing (2) to create a supportive and nurturing environment for discussion, (3) to encourage publication of stories and perspectives. Three pieces workshopped during classes were accepted for publication.

Conclusion: Writing instruction for healthcare professionals of color may facilitate writing, publishing, and uplift marginalized voices.