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CMA expands program to cultivate equity in the medical profession



May 22, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Cultural Competency Patient Care 

The California Medical Association (CMA) has long believed that diversity and inclusion strengthens the health of our profession and California’s communities.

To that end, CMA launched a Diversity and Inclusion Technical Advisory Committee (D&I TAC) in 2014 to usher in a new generation of policies and initiatives focused on:

  • Developing resources and programs that demonstrate why diversity and inclusion is a business imperative.
  • Implementing policies and practices that make diversity and inclusion goals a permanent strategic focus.
  • Designing a strategic plan to achieve diversity and inclusion within CMA, including the Board of Trustees, component medical societies, CMA staff and leadership.
  • Supporting efforts to achieve diversity and inclusion within the physician workforce and in California medical schools.

CMA’s diversity and inclusion mission statement reinforces our dedication to “ensure that the work we do, how we carry out our work and the issues we address all reflect the rich diversity of the patients and the physicians we serve and represent.”

Donaldo Hernandez, M.D., chairs the D&I TAC and is joined by C. Freeman, M.D.; Dexter Louie, M.D.; Margaret Juarez, M.D.; Rafael Silva, M.D.; Vito Imbasciani, M.D.; Andrea Rudominer, M.D.; and medical students Pooja Desai and Allen Rodriguez.

“Diversity is the who and inclusion is the how – the behaviors and policies that welcome and embrace diversity,” said Dr. Hernandez. “One supports the other, and the D&I Tac is pursuing comprehensive external and internal strategies to cultivate equity in the medical profession.”

 “Our research highlights current demographics and realities to explain why diversity and inclusion is imperative for advancing CMA’s mission, economic sustainability and membership growth,” said Dr. Juarez. “Implementing strong policy and procedural changes will keep CMA at the forefront of California’s evolving patient population and provider demographics.”

Ongoing D&I TAC activities include:

  • Publishing demographic and educational resources.
  • Expanding the pipeline for entry into medical schools for underrepresented populations.
  • Sharing best practices that physicians can utilize in their employment practices.
  • Identifying pathways to increase member engagement through the Network of Ethnic Physician Organization (NEPO) and Ethnic Medical Organization Section (EMOS).
  • Reviewing policies and procedures on leadership development, staff hiring and promotion practices for CMA and the county medical societies.

“California is facing a physician shortage and our current workforce doesn’t reflect the state’s patient population,” said Dr. Silva. “The D&I TAC is examining various strategies to support or expand mentoring programs and outreach to middle and high school students who show an interest in science and medicine. And we’re pursuing proactive ways to tackle the barriers to enter medical school, including financial aid assistance and promoting implicit bias training.”

“Our initial research has also discovered the need to support our physician colleagues serving ethnic and historically underrepresented communities,” said Desai. “From financial assistance programs and trained translators to culturally responsive care and succession planning support for retiring physicians, we’re exploring strategies to ensure California’s physician workforce can respond to the needs of its patient population.”

The D&I TAC will present research at the July 2018 Board of Trustees meeting highlighting the benefits of diversity and inclusion efforts towards clinical outcomes and demonstrating why it is a business imperative, as well as recommendations for new CMA policy and procedures and joint engagement between NEPO and EMOS.

This article is the first of an ongoing series to provide regular updates on D&I TAC’s mission and objectives. All interested physician members who want to learn more or get involved are encouraged to email CMA Communications.

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