On May 7, 2013, The School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with Dr. Leonor Corsino(Department of Medicine), Dr. Edward Suarez (Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Rebecca Reyes, (DUHS Coordinator for the Latino Healthcare Project), hosted a gathering to bring together Hispanic/Latino Faculty from across the School of Medicine for the purposes of building fellowship, networking and engaging in a thoughtful exchange about how to foster greater inclusion for Hispanics/Latinos across the School of Medicine. 17 faculty attended and discussion areas included:
- strengthening connections and communications across departments and communities
- recruitment, retention, and progression of Hispanic/Latino faculty (as well as staff and students)
- raising interests, concerns and awareness of Hispanics/Latinos to enhance multicultural awareness, healthcare issues and research
- individual experiences in navigating the culture of Duke Medicine
The group represented a wide span of diversity from a variety of national origins (e.g. Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas) with people who were both first and second generation. They also represented a myriad of different disciplines, departments and areas of expertise across the School of Medicine from both the clinical and basic sciences, MD’s and Phd’s (e.g. Cardiology, Cell Biology, Community and Family Medicine, Geriatrics, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Radiology) with years of service at Duke ranging from just starting to over 30 years.
Dr. Corsino led a discussion sharing national AAMC statistics which illustrated that there is a disproportionately low percentage of Hispanic applicants to Medical Schools which given the unprecedented growth of this demographic group who are quickly moving from “minority” to “emerging majority” could have ramifications for healthcare services and delivery especially in certain states with dramatic growth such as North Carolina. The group also discussed healthcare disparities experienced by the Hispanic/Latino community and that this necessitates education and awareness-building within the Hispanic/Latino community as well as with medical practitioners and the healthcare industry as a whole.
Many participants expressed a desire to develop strategic partnerships across departments and disciplines for the purpose of increasing research, professional development and opportunities for collaboration amongst Hispanic/Latino faculty and students.
Plans are underway for the next group meeting in order to build on the initial conversation and begin to develop creative strategies for leveraging the strengths represented by the group as well as address issues that surfaced by identifying proactive solution oriented strategies.