In this blog, I want to share my thoughts on diversity, why it matters in medicine, especially in cardiology.
Why does diversity matter in medicine?
We all are seeing more and more diverse patients, especially in the United States, where “minorities” who come from various backgrounds and cultures constitute a significant proportion of our patients, yet there remain significant disparities across various levels of social life and health care.
While the language is key in order to provide effective communication between patients and physicians, optimal care should be provided to all patients, irrespective of their origin or language proficiency. Interpreters can help in person or using online resources.
Understanding the Culture
In addition to the language, culture differs significantly between various populations, even those speaking the same language might have different cultures. This is an important part of the patient-physician relationship. One example of how to improve that would be that we try to talk briefly with our patients about their preferences and what is important to them, especially when it comes to goals of care.
Diversity in the Workplace
The importance of culture and diversity in the workplace is tremendous; not only does it add to the various perspective each physician has on the discussion table or their different approaches in taking care of patients, but also it familiarizes our patients with our diverse workforce. With that being said, seeing more women in cardiology, and cardiologists of various backgrounds is crucial to deliver that message.
What are our leading societies doing to promote diversity?
Thankfully, our leading societies, in medicine, cardiology, and other specialties, have recognized the impact of diversity on the workforce and its role in taking care of the growing diverse population we have been seeing. The American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) among other societies have continued to work relentlessly to advocate for our patients, fight structural racism and health inequity while promoting diversity and inclusion in the cardiology workforce [1,2]. With that being said, having mentors from similar backgrounds helps juniors find role models to look up to, including students, residents, and maybe fellows who have just started their journey and looking for guidance. Talking about my own experience, I have had mentors from various backgrounds, including my background, and this helped me in so many different ways. I do believe our cardiology community has amazing leaders and role models, and together we can make the future brighter for everyone!!
- AHA website: Diversity and inclusion https://www.heart.org/en/about-us-shared/diversity-inclusion
- ACC Diversity and inclusion https://www.acc.org/about-acc/diversity-and-inclusion
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