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Health Equity Thread

The Health Equity Thread (HET) is designed to equip our students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand and respond to the challenges of ensuring an equitable and inclusive healthcare system. Health equity is incorporated across the YSM curriculum to enhance clinical skills, so students are ready to provide high-quality care for all patients. As such, the HET team, along with its Advisory Group, creates and curates educational content that engages learners from the pre-clerkship phase and extending into the advanced training period.

The HET team partners with educational leaders and faculty in the School of Medicine, including the Physician Associate program and the MD-PhD program, so curricular content related to the major domains of the HET are comprehensively addressed. Faculty development in health equity is an essential component of the HET, and is offered through retreats, conferences, videos, workshops, and one-on-one consultation with colleagues.

The strategic goal of the HET is to train the next generation of physicians and physician-scientists to confront and surmount structural barriers to high-quality health care. The HET’s vision is that YSM students will help shape and lead a more equitable healthcare system and reimagine healthcare delivery to reduce disparate outcomes. As leaders, our graduates will innovate medical education, work to dismantle systems and structures that perpetuate inequities, champion workforce diversity, and conduct research that addresses these issues.


The HET works to train the next generation of physicians and physician scientists who will reshape a more equitable healthcare system. In short, to advocate and promote change for equity through professional or community collaboration and activism. Highlighting specific skills needed to become an effective advocate, the HET includes content to help students learn how to think critically, evaluate evidence effectively, write convincingly, and speak persuasively on topics that advance equity. Learning advocacy is a valuable life skill that improves confidence, clinical skills, and research skills. As part of that commitment, the HET champions student-led initiatives that advance these goals.


This framework challenges learners to think analytically about the influence of sociocultural, political, economic, and environmental determinants on health.

Domains of the Health Equity Thread

Thread Leaders

  • Thread Leader

    Beverley J. Sheares, MD, MS (she, her, hers) is the inaugural Leader of the Health Equity Thread. She is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Respiratory, Allergy/Immunology, and Sleep Medicine Section at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Sheares earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of New York –Presbyterian (Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons) where she served as Chief Resident in Pediatrics. Following residency training, Dr Sheares worked for 3 years as a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. It was during this time that her interests in health inequities in respiratory outcomes for children was sparked. She returned to Columbia to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric pulmonary medicine focusing on physician-patient communication and asthma education as a way to help close the disparities gap. Following fellowship training, she joined the faculty at Columbia. Dr. Sheares earned a Masters degree in biostatistics in patient-oriented research at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She was the principal investigator on NIH-funded studies focused on improving asthma outcomes for patients with limited health literacy, understanding the impact of receiving subspecialty care for asthma in marginalized patients, and developing behavioral and education sleep interventions for early school-aged minoritized children. She chaired the Workforce Diversity Governance Committee for the Department of Pediatrics. After a long career at Columbia, Dr. Sheares joined the faculty at Yale in 2018. Her clinical, teaching, and research experiences all coalesce around reducing health disparities and promoting equity. Dr. Sheares has taught pre-clerkship and clerkship courses and integrated issues of equity in her teaching. Her clinical work has focused on providing pulmonary care for children in marginalized and economically disadvantaged communities. Her research interest is in improving health outcomes for children with asthma and behavioral sleep problems and in closing the health outcomes disparities gap in children with respiratory problems. She develops and tests educational and behavioral interventions for physicians and families. Dr. Sheares is a nationally recognized expert in health equity. She serves in several leadership roles including Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group for the Pediatric Assembly of the American Thoracic Society. In her capacity as Health Equity Thread Leader, Dr. Sheares develops health equity content for the medical school curriculum, partners with faculty and students to enhance health equity related content in existing courses, and creates opportunities for faculty and student development in health equity. In addition to clinical care and research, Dr. Sheares serves as the Director for the Pediatric Pulmonary Fellowship program, career and research mentor for medical students, residents, and junior faculty members. She is the recipient of numerous teaching and mentorship awards.
  • Thread Deputy Leader

    Dr. Doug Shenson (he, him, his) is the Deputy Leader of the Health Equity Thread. He is an Associate Professor Adjunct, Internal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and Associate Clinical Professor, Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Shenson is a graduate of the Residency Program in Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, where he was a Chief Resident in the section of Internal Medicine. Following residency, Dr. Shenson received a grant from the Social Science Research Council for Research on Persistent Urban Poverty. In 1992, Dr. Shenson was the lead medical advisor on the legal team that successfully advocated through the federal courts on behalf of HIV-infected Haitian asylum seekers held at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo, Cuba. He is a co-founder of the humanitarian organization, Doctors of the World USA (now HealthRight International), and founder of the Human Rights Clinic at Montefiore Medical Center, the first clinic in New York City to attend exclusively to the documentation and service needs of survivors of torture. He is a board member of the International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2), which focuses on health issues of concern to elder American Indians. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Shenson has led projects funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance and characterize the provision of preventive services to older Americans. Dr. Shenson was co-leader of the Curriculum Sub-Committee whose recommendations led to the establishment of the Health Equity Thread. Since 2007, he has directed the Yale School of Medicine’s course “Populations & Methods: The Application of Epidemiology and Biostatistics to Public Health,” which runs over 12 months in the pre-clinical curriculum. Dr. Shenson is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Oxford University, Tulane University School of Medicine, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Program Coordinator

    Mx. A Gould (they, them, their and he, him, his) is the Program Coordinator for the Health Equity Thread, providing administrative support, activity coordination, and data management. In addition to this role, Mx. Gould is the course coordinator for a health equity-focused first-year MD course, Introduction to the Profession (iPro). Mx. Gould is currently completing a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Southern Connecticut State University, whose program emphasizes multicultural competency. After graduating, they plan on becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) to serve transgender and queer clients. Starting in January 2024, Mx. Gould will begin their internship at Twin Peaks Counseling, a center focused on LGBTQ+ mental health, and will gain experience providing queer- and gender-affirming mental healthcare. Prior to this position, Mx. Gould worked in psychiatric research. Over their 5 years in psychiatric research, Mx. Gould worked on a variety of clinical trials and other studies with diverse study participants, including people with schizophrenia, military family members with complicated grief, and Veterans and active-duty service members with posttraumatic stress disorder and eating disorders. In addition, Mx. Gould worked as a research assistant for the VA Mental Health & Suicide Prevention ECHO team, which offered three monthly continuing medical education webinar series for VA healthcare providers on a variety of topics, including LGBTQ+ mental health, suicide prevention, and substance use disorder. Mx. Gould’s research interests include research ethics, disparities in research studies, LGBTQIA+ health, neurodivergence and autism in adults, and suicide prevention. Mx. Gould has also worked as a Resident Director in college housing and residence life. In this role, he provided training to student Resident Assistants on diversity and inclusion, social justice, inclusive language, and mental health. Mx. Gould was a member of the Civility Committee that provided programming and training to students related to anti-sexual and relationship violence advocacy. Mx. Gould graduated from Wells College with a bachelor’s degree, having majored in Psychology and minored in both Biology and Environmental Science.


Advisory Group

The Health Equity Thread Advisory Group (AG) is comprised of a group of Yale School of Medicine faculty and students and New Haven community members who provide tactical advice to help build the Health Equity Thread.