segunda-feira, 27 de outubro de 2014

Diversidade em Educação Médica

The New Diversity in Medical Education

Mark A. Attiah, B.A.
N Engl J Med 2014; 371:1474-1476 October 16, 2014 
DOI: 10.1056/ NEJMp1408460

During my pediatrics rotation, the mother of a patient waited until the attending physician had left the room before she lowered her voice, smiled, and asked, “Are you wearing your hoodie for Trayvon?” She didn't know what city I was from, what faith I belonged to, or what tax bracket I was in. She just knew that I was black, like her. This race-based camaraderie between patient and physician can improve patient satisfaction,1 and patients from racial minority groups tend to seek out physicians of their own race if given a choice.2 As a black medical student, I can attest that the sort of “diversity” that you can see — that allows you to be counted in a crowd — can significantly influence interactions with peers, instructors, and patients.

For the past few decades, medical education's definition of “diversity” has largely remained the same, as has the social mandate to increase it. With roots in the Civil Rights Movement, diversity initiatives have focused primarily on racial groups that had been implicitly and explicitly denied access to the field. Efforts to increase the numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans served a moral imperative: it was the right thing to do. Such efforts have had mixed results: the proportion of Hispanic medical school graduates increased by 4.1 percentage points from 1978 to 2012, whereas the proportion of black graduates increased by only 1.8 percentage points during the same period (see Perspective article by Iglehart, pages 1471–1474). Moreover, this “good intentions” approach fails to critically examine diversity's true meaning and strips it of its potential to advance the field of medicine.

Enter “Diversity 3.0.” The term, coined by IBM, reflects a new way of thinking about diversity in education and the workforce. Building on the 1.0 model, in which diversity was seen as a necessary evil, and the 2.0 version, in which a diverse population was recast as a nice thing for the majority to have around, the current vision defines “achieving the full potential of this diversity [as] a business priority that is fundamental to our competitive success.”3 This reframing is not lost on Marc Nivet, chief diversity officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “1.0 is where diversity is competing with excellence,” Nivet explains. “Diversity 2.0, which is where we are, has not been viewed as central to the institution's drive for excellence.” In addition to integrating diversity into institutions' core missions, the 3.0 version, Nivet has written, “requires a focus on differences beyond race and ethnicity,”4 the traditional emphases of multicultural affairs offices.

Under this model, medical-student diversity becomes a prerequisite for an optimal learning environment, where various ideas, opinions, and experiences create a breeding ground for innovative solutions to problems. Version 3.0 can thus bridge the gap between initiatives that make black students feel more welcome in medical schools and those that harness the power of a diverse workforce to improve patient care.

Perhaps most immediately, the new vision provides a model for cultural competence in doctor–patient interactions that can improve patient satisfaction. Medical students, for example, can benefit from observing encounters between “standardized patients” (actors hired to play patients) and classmates whose backgrounds may be more similar to those of the hypothetical patients than to their own. My class met one such standardized patient whose religiosity was meant to render her “difficult” — and did have that effect for some students. But having grown up in Texas around many very religious people, I could readily engage in a rather pleasant conversation with her. The classmates who observed it may now approach a similar future patient with greater confidence. Indeed, white graduates of diverse medical schools report that they're better equipped to care for minority patients and have stronger convictions about inadequate access to care.3 Long after graduation, other benefits of racial and ethnic diversity are evident: black and Hispanic physicians are more likely to practice in areas with larger proportions of black and Hispanic residents, and they see a larger proportion of Medicaid and uninsured patients.5

People's worldviews may diverge for many reasons — owing to the experiences of military service, for example, or to sexual orientation or the language one speaks. All such characteristics and experiences figure into the new diversity, which acknowledges that shared experience in this country no longer tracks simply with race. Diversity is not so black and white anymore.

Despite the push for other forms of diversity, medical schools still place a certain premium on “visual diversity” — that of race and sex. This emphasis is understandable: such diversity is easily measurable, and concern about it is a legacy of systemic discrimination. That history, coupled with certain classroom and hospital experiences common to medical students from underrepresented minorities, creates a shared narrative that has supported a collective consciousness for decades. Some minority students may feel that the new diversity puts this shared identity at risk. And as we aim to translate earlier versions of diversity into something serving medicine's core missions, it's worth remembering that, as with the mother from my pediatrics rotation, I've often quickly built a rapport with a patient simply because we were both black.

But all diversity, visual or not, holds value. It's not just a numbers game or an annual administrative experiment. Diversity is a process that exists outside the admissions cycle and promotional photos. It's a mindset that extends into the classroom and the hospital. If the ultimate goal of diversity in medical schools and residency programs is to improve patient care, a good first step is to create a world where all trainees can feel supported while learning and working to the best of their ability. That goal can be achieved only with a wholehearted commitment to diversity that is inseparable from an institution's identity.

When I started college, I felt drawn to sit with other black students in the cafeteria. But establishing an inclusive learning environment means that people from different walks of life can not only have a seat at the same table but also be comfortable in their chairs. Although embracing this new diversity may mean broadening an institution's outlook from primarily underrepresented racial minorities, efforts targeted at those groups still serve an important mission. Diversity efforts can build on the existing model and borrow from their track record of progress toward creating better medical schools and hospitals for all groups.

When I arrived at medical school, I sought a place where I could be myself. Medical schools pursuing Diversity 3.0 would do well to remember that everyone with a unique story to tell wants the same. The ideal diversity initiative would therefore be a climate control of sorts, striving to create an atmosphere where everyone feels included in the larger dialogue. Only then will the conditions be ideal for creating a workforce that's willing and well-equipped to address the needs of an increasingly diverse population.


1 Cooper-Patrick L, Gallo JJ, Gonzales JJ, et al. Race, gender, and partnership in the patient-physician relationship. JAMA 1999;282:583-589
CrossRef | Web of Science | Medline
2 Saha S, Taggart SH, Komaromy M, Bindman AB. Do patients choose physicians of their own race? Health Aff (Millwood) 2000;19:76-83
CrossRef | Web of Science | Medline
4 Nivet MA. Commentary: Diversity 3.0: a necessary systems upgrade. Acad Med 2011;86:1487-1489
CrossRef | Web of Science | Medline
5 Marrast LM, Zallman L, Woolhandler S, Bor DH, McCormick D. Minority physicians' role in the care of underserved patients: diversifying the physician workforce may be key in addressing health disparities. JAMA Intern Med 2014;174:289-291
CrossRef | Web of Science

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Roberto disse...

Further reading: Black man in the lab