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Facing Discrimination

By John E. McElligott, MPH, CPH, Editor-in-Chief, Arizona Physician

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Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin, American novelist

2020 was a momentous year for the United States. During a global pandemic, scores of Americans from all walks of life have protested about racial injustice. Individuals and corporations alike have faced the reality that discrimination against people of color continues in America today.

The medical community is no different. Physicians spoke up and acted. Maricopa County Medical Society (MCMS) launched a Diversity Subcommittee in July of 2020 and will focus its efforts on education and advocacy for greater diversity of the physician workforce. The Subcommittee members believe such diversity will lead to improved patient care, inclusivity in medical care, and physician well-being. Anyone interested in joining the MCMS Diversity Subcommittee can sign up online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/MCMSdiversity.

Diverse Content

Our theme for this issue is Diversity in Medicine. We highlight the journey of Toni C. Stockton, MD, FAAD, owner of Stockton Dermatology. Dr. Stockton spoke with Managing Editor Edward Araujo about how, despite her success as a physician, she still experiences racial and gender bias as a Black woman. However, some progress is happening. Dr. Stockton believes minority physicians have greater access to capital today than they did one or two decades ago.

We delve deeper into the topic of diversity of the physician workforce in our section What Arizona Docs are Saying. Although it was somewhat difficult to convince doctors to go on record about race and gender, we publish responses from over a dozen physicians regarding why a diverse workforce is important, whether greater diversity of physicians would lead to improved care for patients, and what policies or systemic changes are needed. I thank the physicians who shared their perspectives.

Brian Powell returns as a guest author and writes about what medical schools are doing to increase the diversity of their student bodies. Brian spoke with Clinton Normore, vice president for diversity and inclusion at ATSU, who added the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona looks beyond skin color and has a concerted effort to recruit student from other underrepresented populations like “the LGBT population, disabled population, people in the military, the poor.”

Karyne Vinales, MD, chair of the MCMS Diversity Subcommittee, recommends physicians consider what is within their control. She urges doctors to answer voluntary questions about demographics when renewing their medical licenses with the Arizona Medical Board or Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners. Dr. Vinales also recommends physicians in leadership positions to create plans for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, analyzing pay gaps based on race or gender, and considering opportunities to prepare underrepresented youth for a potential career in medicine.

Speak Up

Please consider Arizona Physician as a medium for sharing your views with fellow physicians. We offer the print magazine, a growing digital magazine, and the Arizona Physician Podcast with two episodes a month. We welcome you to submit topics of articles or potential guests for the show.

Contact us at information@arizonaphysician.com with any comments or suggestions