Increased diversity in leadership requires self-promotion, participating in allyship
Increased diversity in leadership casts a wider perspective for solving problems and bolstering health equity in patient care, according to a speaker at GI Outlook.
Progress in building diversity in leadership has improved over the years, but disparity still remains, Amrita Sethi, MD, MASGE, of Columbia University Medical Center, said during a presentation. Focus on the data reveals that although women account for about 50% of medical school graduates, retention rates dwindle as they progress in their careers. Specifically, only 37% and less than 20% of GI fellows and advanced endoscopy fellows, respectively, are women. These numbers dip even lower when looking at women in senior career levels (< 25%) and women in top leadership levels (< 8% of division chiefs), Sethi reported.
In regard to race and ethnicity, a 2016 survey from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy revealed that less than 10% of their members were underrepresented minorities.
Why does diversity, or increased diversity, matter?
“These are the people who are taking us to the future and showing us new paths. They can help to recruit more individuals to join their vision and to carry out their vision. They inspire and they serve as role models,” Sethi said. “The more diverse the leadership body, the more diverse the recruitment of those who can follow and provide wider perspective in approaching problems, allowing for more comprehensive solutions.”
Further data have also shown that patients have specific provider preferences, Sethi added. Increasing the diversity of providers, which happens when diversity in leadership is increased, results in better patient care and health equity in patient care.
Sethi’s top five tips for improving diversity in leadership follow.
State the mission and core values.
Practice self-promotion but do not forget to promote others.
Change the dialogue and provide the tools for success.
Participate in advocacy and allyship.
Engage in feedback and measure your outcomes so you can move the needle.
“We're trying to increase our diversity of leadership because we know that they are the gatekeepers. By increasing leadership, we can cast a wider and more diverse net,” Sethi said. “By choosing directors, promoting more diverse individuals, selecting faculty for courses, allowing for research and recognition of achievements and, ultimately, creating a larger mentorship and sponsorship pool to provide more diverse leaders.”