Actionable Steps to Enhance Diversity and Inclusion in the Physician Workforce: A NEJM Perspective

In a new perspective article published March 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Chair of ACC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee Quinn Capers, IV, MD, FACC, proposes actionable steps institutions can take to "enhance diversity" throughout the physician workforce, specifically in recruiting more medical students, residents and faculty from historically marginalized groups.

"These strategies will succeed only with support from senior leadership, recognition and compensation for everyone involved in the work, and true acceptance that diversity is a value-added proposition in medicine and higher education," Capers writes. "Ultimately, if academic medical centers don't find ways to enhance the diversity of the physician workforce, they will fall short of their mandate to improve the human condition."

According to Capers, increasing diversity in institutions starts with a senior leadership dedicated to prioritizing inclusion, viewing diversity as a primary measure of success.

Emphasizing that the way selection committees evaluate merit should be revisited, he states that standardized test scores are not always the best indicators of which candidates are best for training programs. Instead, he argues better metrics for rating candidates include clinical excellence, leadership potential, collegiality, academic curiosity and potential for advocating for health equity.

He adds that institutions should be investing in bias-mitigation trainings to protect from implicit bias throughout the recruitment and selection process, working with colleges and universities founded to serve Hispanic, Black and tribal students to develop recruitment pathways, diversifying the publications and locations where position postings are placed, and supporting initiatives to inspire interest in the medical field in the early school years.

The ACC is committed to diversifying the cardiovascular workforce through various efforts including the Young Scholars Program, Internal Medicine Cardiology Programs for historically underrepresented groups including African American/Black, Women, Hispanic/Latinx, and LGBTQ+, the Sandra J. Lewis Mid-Career Women's Institute, Leadership Academy, Upping Your Game Clinical Trials Research and more.

Clinical Topics: Cardiovascular Care Team

Keywords: Universities, Leadership, Exploratory Behavior, Faculty, Workforce, Students, Medical, Hispanic Americans, Physicians, Cardiology, African Americans, Sexual and Gender Minorities, Cultural Diversity

< Back to Listings