Resident Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion
Olivia Means, MD1; Sherrita McClain-Gierach, MS2; Derek Hutchins, MD3; Lisa Lowery, MD, MPH, CPE, FAAP, FSAHM4
1Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency, Spectrum Health/Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA 2Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, MI, USA 3Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency, Spectrum Health/Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, MI, USA 4Division Chief –HDVCH Pediatric Specialties, Section Chief -Division of Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Cultural Initiatives for MSU College of Human Medicine, Associate Professor Department of Pediatrics and Human Development -MSU CHM, Associate Program Director IM/PEDS Residency, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Background: The summer of 2020 cast a new light on racial inequality and injustices that continue to undermine the health and well-being of specific populations. Like many institutions, our health system pledged a renewed commitment to initiatives that foster diversity and inclusion. Resident physicians make up a significant portion of the workforce in teaching hospitals. We set out to gauge residents’ perspectives on diversity and inclusion, with the understanding that any effort to move forward cannot succeed without considering where we are now
Methods: An anonymous, electronic survey was sent to all resident physicians within our hospital. Residents were asked: (1) What do diversity and inclusion mean to you? (2) What questions do you have about diversity and inclusion? (3) Do you feel your program values diversity? If so, how? If not, how? (4) What programs/topics would you be interested in participating in? and (5) What other suggestions do you have to further progress in diversity and inclusion within your residency/fellowship program
Results: Majority of residents had positive responses to the value placed on diversity and inclusion. Respondents most often defined this by racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender differences. Important comments were the difference between diversity and inclusion, and how the former without the latter can be damaging to a community. Additionally, a variety of questions and suggested programs were shared
Conclusion: We hope to encourage programs to check the pulse of their residents. The pulse is a critical vital sign and should be checked on a routine basis so necessary interventions can be implemented to get the patient back to a healthy state. In checking the pulse of residents regularly, these critical conversations and feedback can inform needed actions. Furthermore, if the solutions to these problems are to be achievable and sustainable, they cannot rest solely on those with a personal account to share, nor can they measure success without actionable change and follow up. In this way, diversity and inclusion can become a shared responsibility, as opposed to the familiar feeling that organizations involved in diversity tourism only visit this topic when it is in vogue.
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