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From the Trenches

Well-being Champions Tiffany Leung and Tammy Lin recently launched the DEI Shift podcast, which focuses on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in medicine. Past episodes have discussed mentorship and recruitment of underrepresented minorities in medicine (URiMs), COVID-19 health care disparities, and LGBTQ health care.

How did your podcast come to be?

Tiffany: I'd say the podcast was Tammy's brainchild primarily!

We believe that DE&I is more important than ever for all health care professionals to take with us, as we practice from day to day and take care of patients, to all the professional and daily activities we engage in. We hope that listeners will be able to gain useful information to improve their practices and environments, to gain empathy, cultural competency, and humility, and to learn more about emerging DE&I concepts.

Tammy & Tiffany (Both): When we were organizing and then launched the Medicine in Motion symposium in San Diego, California, in November 2019, the podcast, which at that time didn't have a name yet, was already on our list of ideas and initiatives that we felt would offer a powerful platform for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in medicine. We did not want Medicine in Motion to be a one-off event and wished to have a lasting product come out of it. Season 1 was cosponsored by the Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women (for which Dr. Tiffany Leung is the PI) and the Southern California Region III Chapter.

Leveraging strong connections to leaders and emerging leaders already invested in DE&I principles and utilizing a servant-leadership model, we assembled a diverse team of students, residents, fellows, and other attending physicians from all over the U.S. (and world, if you also include me as an ACP global member) to start talking about important DE&I issues in practice. It's been a tremendous pleasure to see this group come together and actively build this platform as well as engage a like-minded community, especially during all of the events of 2020! We have been honored to collaborate with members from other ACP Chapters including the Arizona Chapter, Massachusetts Chapter, Illinois Northern Chapter, and the Maryland Chapter among others, and delighted to welcome diverse guests from different specialties and different career stages.

How do you feel that diversity, equity, and inclusion in health care connects with clinician well-being and professional fulfillment?

Both: DE&I connects with our daily well-being and fulfillment in many ways. Our routine interactions with patients and colleagues could be explicitly or implicitly influenced by our own perspectives and biases. Being on the receiving end also can be especially difficult and even be traumatizing in some cases. By being mindful and respectful, carrying a sense of compassion, empathy, and especially opening to learning from others, especially our patients, we can make our own small worlds and those of others just that little bit bigger and better. Systemically, there are still serious issues in structural biases and racism, which are concerning in how they impact the pipeline of health care professions, including physicians, and in turn even the art and science of medicine. The DEI Shift is one important way that we are trying to make an impact and share stories and tips on how to apply DE&I principles in our everyday lives.

We have been fortunate to reach listeners on six continents. Some of the challenges are the same and some may be different, but hopefully progress is quicker, the more we are able to connect and work together. We hope The DEI Shift is a safe and bold space where clinicians and colleagues feel comfortable discussing challenging issues and potential solutions and to feel that they are not alone when tackling tough situations related to well-being and professional fulfillment – especially as they relate to DE&I.

What changes would you like to see as we shape a “new normal” in health care and in internal medicine?

Tiffany: If I may, I'd refer to my editor's column in SGIM Forum to answer this question. In particular, I already see and am inspired by the many diverse physician voices on this topic of altering our paradigms of service delivery to incorporate DE&I principles centrally into our everyday practice, advocacy, education, research, and beyond.

Tammy: I don't think we know what a “new normal” holds yet, but as Churchill said, never let a good crisis go to waste. There has never been a more opportune time to put DE&I principles into practice and to shift the culture so that it better meets the needs of everyone in the health care system. Internal medicine specialists successfully care for some of the most complicated patients there are and they, as well as the College, have never been shy about advocating for our patients and profession. We can't let up now.

Listen here!

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Back to the September 18, 2020 issue of ACP IM Thriving