Converge 2021 session
Racial and Gender Equity in Your PHM Program
Jorge Ganem, MD, FAAP, and Vanessa N. Durand, DO, FAAP
Dr. Ganem, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin and director of pediatric hospital medicine at Dell Children’s Medical Center, and Dr. Durand, assistant professor of pediatrics at Drexel University and pediatric hospitalist at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, presented an engaging session regarding gender equity in the workplace during SHM Converge 2021.
Dr. Ganem and Dr. Durand first presented data to illustrate the gender equity problem. They touched on the mental burden underrepresented minorities face professionally. Dr. Ganem and Dr. Durand discussed cognitive biases, defined allyship, sponsorship, and mentorship and shared how to distinguish between the three. They concluded their session with concrete ways to narrow gaps in equity in hospital medicine programs.
The highlights of this session included evidence-based “best-practices” that pediatric hospital medicine divisions can adopt. One important theme was regarding metrics. Dr. Ganem and Dr. Durand shared how important it is to evaluate divisions for pay and diversity gaps. Armed with these data, programs can be more effective in developing solutions. Some solutions provided by the presenters included “blind” interviews where traditional “cognitive metrics” (i.e., board scores) are not shared with interviewers to minimize anchoring and confirmation biases. Instead, interviewers should focus on the experiences and attributes of the job that the applicant can hopefully embody. This could be accomplished using a holistic review tool from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
One of the most powerful ideas shared in this session was a quote from a Harvard student shown in a video regarding bias and racism where he said, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscious stupidity.” Changes will only happen if we make them happen.
- Racial and gender equity are problems that are undeniable, even in pediatrics.
- Be wary of conscious biases and the mental burden placed unfairly on underrepresented minorities in your institution.
- Becoming an amplifier, a sponsor, or a champion are ways to make a small individual difference.
- Measure your program’s data and commit to making change using evidence-based actions and assessments aimed at decreasing bias and increasing equity.
Association of American Medical Colleges. Holistic Review. 2021. www.aamc.org/services/member-capacity-building/holistic-review.
Dr. Singh is a board-certified pediatric hospitalist at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, both in Palo Alto, Calif. He is a native Texan living in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and two young boys. His nonclinical passions include bedside communication and inpatient health care information technology.