The UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health launched a virtual ceremony on Friday, October 22, featuring a special lecture by Eugene and Linda Farley Visiting Professor Tricia Elliott, MD, FAAFP, and honoring the Frey Writing Award recipients.

Dr. Elliott’s lecture, “Addressing Racism and Advancing Health Equity in and Beyond the Exam Room,” discusses the impact of systemic racism on health, offers tools and resources to address racism and reduce health inequities, and explores best practices to promote social justice in health care.

Watch the 2021 Farley Frey Award Presentation

Understanding Racism

As a starting point, Dr. Elliott offers definitions to help explain racism and the tools and resources needed to promote and embrace anti-racism in the exam room and beyond. She implores practitioners to know the history of structural racism and to know and train themselves on how racialization and implicit bias can affect care. Other tools include understanding your community’s history and resources, empowering your team by creating transparency and a place for all voices, and creating a safe and welcoming environment for patients through celebrating identity and culture and asking questions with an intent to listen to understand.

“We must provide the right tool and the right resources to fit the individual,” explains Dr. Elliott. “Our patients’ experiences of racism impact their overall health.”

Recognizing Trauma and the Social Determinants of Health

Another important tool in addressing racism is to recognize racial trauma. Dr. Elliott explains that racial trauma is the result of ongoing exposure to racial stressors such as racism, racial bias, discrimination, and violence against people of color and creates an environment in which a person of color may feel unsafe. She suggests following the OARS model to ask patients open questions, provide affirmations and time for reflection as well as summarizing discussions. In addition, it’s important to recognize how social determinants of health (SDH) impact patient care. Health disparities are driven by social and economic inequities including economic stability, neighborhood and physical environment, education, food, community, and quality of health care. Dr. Elliott stresses that understanding SDH is crucial when caring for patients and providing resources to promote health for the body, mind, and spirit.

In closing, she is hopeful adding, “You are the expert in your field and your voice is important in this move toward anti-racism and of course breaking down the barriers of racism in health care and advancing health equity.”

Tricia C. Elliott, MD, FAAFP

Tricia Elliott, MD, FAAFP

About Dr. Elliott

Tricia Elliott, MD, FAAFP, is senior vice president for Academic Affairs and Research, and chief academic officer for the John Peter Smith Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas. She also has an appointment as professor of family medicine with Texas Christian University (TCU)/University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) School of Medicine and with UNTHSC Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Elliott received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University, a medical degree from University of Texas Medical Branch and completed a residency in family medicine at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center Residency Program in Social Medicine. She is board certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine.

Frey Writing Award Recipients

The Farley Frey Ceremony also recognizes this year’s John Frey Writing Award recipients. The Frey Writing Awards were established in 2010 to honor John Frey, III, MD, past chair of the DFMCH, and to recognize and encourage individual creative writing.


  • Resurrection (Caitlin Regner, MD )
  • Etch-A-Sketch (Elizabeth Perry, MD)
  • Not me (Magnolia Larson, DO)


  • A Million Things to Say Before I Die (Markus Eckstein, MD)
  • Homing (Maureen Goss)

Read all of the submissions: 2021 John J. Frey III, MD Writing Award Booklet

Published: October 2021