ACC Names First Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Cardiology Magazine ImageRanna Parekh, MD, MPH
Cardiology Magazine ImageTimothy W. Attebery, DSc, MBA, FACHE

The ACC has named Ranna Parekh, MD, MPH, as its first director of Diversity and Inclusion, effective July 29. By working with the ACC Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and other societies and organizations, Parekh will lead and expand the College's diversity and inclusion initiatives to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within the field of cardiovascular disease and strive for a fully inclusive organization and profession.

"ACC's success in transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health is dependent on a diversity of background, experience, ideas and perspectives throughout our membership, our staff and the cardiovascular profession," said ACC CEO Timothy W. Attebery, DSc, MBA, FACHE. "As diversity and inclusion director, Ranna will undoubtedly help us make real and lasting change on the field of cardiology through her vast experience in inspiring awareness and action."

In 2016, the College established a Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion to address the low percentages of women and other under-represented cardiovascular professionals entering the profession. This initiative has expanded to harness the power of the diversity of ACC's members to advance patient care, spur innovation, and improve health equity among individual patients and populations through a five-year diversity and inclusion strategic plan.

Cardiology Magazine ImagePamela Douglas, MD, MACC

"ACC's Diversity and Inclusion Initiative has been phenomenally successful over the last few years in changing the face of the College: every activity is now conducted using diversity and inclusion principles, leadership and faculty have been diversified, and cardiologists are engaged in seeking a level playing field for a more diverse workforce," said Pamela Douglas, MD, MACC, chair of ACC's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. "However, much remains to be done and the appointment of our first-ever Director of Diversity and Inclusion is exactly what we need to take these efforts to the next level."

In her new role, Parekh will use her expertise and experiences to identify and explore barriers to entry into the field of cardiology, develop diversity and inclusion related educational services and projects, and lead and coordinate the diversity and inclusion efforts of both staff and members across the College.

The ACC has committed to work collaboratively with other societies and organizations that share the same diversity and inclusion goals in cardiovascular disease, medicine and health care. Parekh will coordinate and interface with these groups to build awareness in the field by continuously highlighting the rationale, the opportunities and the importance of acknowledging and actively addressing diversity and inclusion issues in the field of cardiovascular disease.

"Given the rapidly changing demographics in the United States, ensuring health equity will be even more critical in the upcoming years," Parekh said. "I am deeply committed to principles of inclusion, cross cultural understanding and community involvement and am honored to be able to work with the ACC's members in using the College's diversity and inclusion principles to realize ACC's vision of 'a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes' for all."

Parekh has over 10 years of experience leading diversity initiatives to build awareness, increase access, and address and mitigate disparities and almost 20 years of experience practicing child, adolescent and adult psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital. She has served as deputy medical director, director of diversity and health equity and director of minority fellowship programs at the American Psychiatric Association since January 2015.

She has also held the position of assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the center for diversity at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She is the co-author of Overcoming Prejudice in the Workplace, an e-book that provides tips to help readers understand and respond to insults at work and in their private lives, and editor of several textbooks on diversity in medicine and health.

Parekh received her Doctor of Medicine from Wayne State University and a Master of Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her adult psychiatry training and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital at Harvard Medical school. She holds bachelor's degrees in biology, chemistry and black studies from Wayne State University.

Keywords: Cross-Cultural Comparison, Minority Groups, Prejudice, Patient Care, Community Networks

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