Moving from Words to Action
An annual faux pas most companies make during Black history month is trying to emphasize their commitment to diversity and African American culture / history despite falling short in these efforts the remainder of the year.
While social research and corporate responsibility policies have embraced the significance and benefits of DEI, the initiatives necessary to bring about these systemic changes have not kept pace.
According to data from both the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a 2021 paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the growth rates for minorities, particularly African Americans, in medicine has increased only marginally over multiple decades.
As of 2018–2019, African Americans made up 12.8% of the total population but were only 5% of all active physicians. Likewise, Hispanic and Native Americans made up 18.9% and 2% of the total population, respectively, but both groups only represented 5.8% and less than 1% of all active physicians.
These are not new issues, but the discussions around them, while often prolific, have historically been secondary to other industry or clinical priorities. While we know DEI efforts can improve outcomes and contributions on many levels, barring regulations or guidelines necessitating them, achieving these goals is often considered something “good to have” as opposed to necessary.
Improving medical and clinical accuracy, as well as equal representation in medical and clinical spaces, is important to both reassure the public and improve the overall quality and capacity of our industry to handle the ever-evolving list of challenges. Especially in the wake of COVID-19, with the lingering possibility of another pandemic, mass resignations of medical personnel, reduced funding for clinical research and the increased public discourse around equal clinical research testing for all patient groups.
To continue pushing these discussions and generate industry insights for how we can begin to address these inequalities, we are excited to announce a new series of webcasts that we will be hosting to examine and discuss healthcare and clinical challenges and inconsistencies across all patient groups.
Join us next month as we sit with African Americans from across the industry to explore the factors and barriers that are preventing or stalling efforts to implement DEI changes systemically. Dates and details are to follow, but we hope that you will join us in escalating these important issues from a discussion to action.
The above post is the first in a series of posts and webcasts recognizing heritage months and celebrating diverse experiences and perspectives.