The quest to end discrimination against minority docs

A surgeon focused on her work
Photo credit: Getty/Jupiter

Subtle or overt, racism exists in medicine. Minority physicians face discrimination from other physicians, administrators and patients, and the experience can damage their career path and impact equality in the workplace, according to a commentary in MD Magazine.

It would be difficult for a non-minority physician to fully understand how it feels for a minority doctor to have their orders “double-checked” by a non-minority colleague, writes Heidi Moawad, M.D., a Cleveland-based neurologist. Minority physicians have documented on social media their experiences feeling bullied and “singled out” by other doctors. Some minority doctors will discriminate against other minority physicians in an effort to fit in or achieve status, she writes.

But Moawad points out that, especially in an era when doctors’ careers are aligned with patient satisfaction reports, discrimination can have a demonstrable impact on their hospital privileges and compensation.

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Doctors spend years in medical school, residencies and fellowships. That’s why the medical establishment needs to figure out how to tackle these issues, writes Moawad.

The fact is, healthcare needs a racially and ethnically diverse workforce, according to Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., an African-American physician who once served as U.S. secretary of health and human services. For young minority students to give up their dream of becoming physicians is to deprive the country of their talents, he said in a previous article published by FiercePracticeManagement.