Katie Rice via www.dailytarheel.com
Medical students and faculty talked about diversity’s central role in patient care at “Doctors for Diversity,” an event sponsored by the UNC School of Medicine and the Whitehead Medical Society in the Medical Biomolecular Research Building Tuesday.
The event was organized by student members of the Resident Diversity Initiative and the Diversity Council.
Patrick O’Shea, co-president of the Whitehead Medical Society, said events like “Doctors for Diversity” are the starting points for important conversations about diversity.
“Commit to developing diversity competencies in everyday life,” he said. “Continue to learn from the wonderful people around you and commit to developing your diversities through lifelong learning.”
Speakers covered many topics within diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, background, ideas, education and other areas.
“We all have implicit biases as to what diversity means,” said Kenya McNeal-Trice, program director of pediatrics residency. “Oftentimes we forget to include the diversity of ideas.”
McNeal-Trice said medical students should evaluate their roles in promoting healthcare disparities.
“Your interactions and your relationships may change the trajectory of how you see others,” she said.
Representatives from each of the student organizations presented “Student Reflections,” which varied from speeches to spoken word performances.
Herodes Guzman, a third-year student in the School of Medicine, said his first-year Medicine and Society course had only one lesson scheduled for both sexuality health issues and gender inequality issues.
“I have become aware of the lack of LGBT representation in the medical field,” Guzman said. “I have no mentor in this realm. And the lessons in the Medical School’s curriculum are there, but not nearly sufficient enough to prepare doctors for proper LGBT healthcare.”
Guzman said while later classes in his medical education have covered the topic more thoroughly, the information offered still isn’t sufficient for such a relevant topic.
“It almost feels like sexuality and gender issues are a footnote in medical education,” he said.
Programs planned by the Resident Diversity Initiative in conjunction with the Diversity Council hope to change the conversation.
One of the efforts is Diversity Cafes, where students can meet with mentors to discuss diversity issues within the School of Medicine and share feedback on topics important to them. The Cafes are expected to begin later this semester and can be attended by both physicians and medical students of all levels.
The “Doctors for Diversity” event assured students the School of Medicine community is moving toward a more inclusive future in an engaging manner.
“With this event, we really want to bring the word ‘diversity’ to life, and bring a face and a name to that word,” said Courtney Lee, vice president of Diversity and Campus Affairs for the Whitehead Medical Society.
“We’re trying to bring a creative interpretation to the meaning of diversity.”