The Classroom is the curricular arm of CSH and is home to “Operation Equity: An Introduction to the Social Determinants of Surgical Health,” a lecture series that provides students with a broad overview of the factors that influence disparities in surgical care and outcomes. 


This course is not intended to merely reiterate why eliminating surgical disparities are important. Rather, the curriculum focuses on engaging students in meaningful dialogue about how systems perpetuate disparities in access, care quality, experience, and outcomes for disadvantaged patient populations with surgical disease. Further, it challenges students to consider how we, as future health providers and as a health system, can create change to address these disparities. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Operation Equity, please contact Cindy Zhao at and Lily Owei at In the Spring of 2022, this course will be held virtually.

Course Objectives 

At the end of this course, students will be able: 

  • To describe how systemic barriers perpetuate disparities in access, experience, and outcomes in surgical disease

  • To appraise the effects of one’s own biases on interactions with both patients and providers

  • To facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue about the social determinants of surgical health

  • To develop tangible strategies for how current and future providers can address health care and health disparities in surgery

  • To provide care congruent with all aspects of a patient’s identity and lived experience

  • To advocate for marginalized surgical patient populations through clinical care, scholarship, and policy change

Course Format

 This course has ten “equity discussions” of contributing factors to disparities across the continuum of surgical care: 

  1. Access to care 

  2. Pre-operative care 

  3. Operative care

  4. Post-operative care

  5. Surgical outcomes and research

Course Outline

Equity Discussion Topic
Core Students
#1 The Semantics of Health Equity: From Concepts to Strategic Approaches
January 11, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#2 Challenges in Providing and Accessing Healthcare in the Pennsylvania Prison System
January 19, 2022, 5-6 pm
#3 Cultural Responsiveness: Building a Toolset to Counter Bias
February 1, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#4 Addressing Weight Bias, Obesity, and the Role of Bariatrics Prior to Elective Surgery
February 15, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#5 The Additional Challenges of Navigating Stigma Against LGBTQIA Patients
March 2, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#6 Considerations for the Patient: The Social Determinants of Surgical Health Not Taught in School
March 15, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#7 Considerations for the Provider: Addressing Bias and Promoting Diversity in Surgery
March 29, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#8 Post-Operative Pain
April 12, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#9 The Lack of Diversity in Research and the History of Research on underserved Subjects
April 26, 2022, 7-8:30 pm
#10 Post-operative Care Coordination and Patient-Centered Outcomes
May 10, 2022, 7-8:30 pm

Operation Equity Survey Data

​Check out some pre- and post-Operation Equity survey responses illustrating the efficacy of Operation Equity!