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Diversity in Our Pediatric Workforce: Two Articles Examine Where We Are and Where We Need to Go

March 27, 2023

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other similar groups have made increasing the diversity of the pediatric workforce a top priority. What can we do to grow a diverse pediatric workforce to represent the demographics of the population of children we care for? To answer this, we are offering two articles this week that are well worth your attention.

The first of these is a special article written by Dr. Jean Raphael from the Baylor College of Medicine, along with other national leaders committed to advancing the pediatric DEI mission (10.1542/peds.2022-058394). These authors share the results of a survey of academic institutions. The article reveals important opportunities. For example, there is enormous variability in academic departments and children’s hospitals in awareness of and participation in DEI workforce enhancement efforts.  Dr. Raphael and colleagues highlight the “minority tax” put upon a small group of faculty who self-identify as under-represented in medicine. These individuals do a lot of the “DEI lifting,” with little recognition. The authors conclude their special article with a collective call to action for all of us to take accountability for diversifying our workforce. They also call for more research to identify the most effective strategies. Most importantly they call for a comprehensive nationally coordinated DEI workforce strategy.

Can we get to where Dr. Raphael and his co-authors want us to go in diversifying our work force? Dr. Fernando Mendoza, the 2022 recipient of the Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr., Leadership Award, feels strongly the answer is yes as shared in his award address entitled “Diversity and Social Justice: The Field of Pediatrics Can and Should Lead” being early released this week as well in Pediatrics (10.1542/peds.2022-059080). Dr. Mendoza’s remarks complement the article by Dr. Raphael et al. beautifully. In this publication of his address, he combines a national perspective with his own lived experience to charge us all of us to become leaders in advancing diversity and social justice. Both articles are well worth linking to, offer lots to reflect upon and take action on, and, even more importantly, will inspire readers to engage in these critical workforce challenges. Link to both of these important articles and their calls to action!

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