The Endocrine Society calls for policies to address racial and ethnic inequities in the endocrine workforce and in access to care, the Society says in a perspective published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
“Health disparities are one of the most pressing issues facing science and medicine,” says Ruban Dhaliwal, MD, MPH, Research Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass., member of the Endocrine Society’s Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee and chair of this policy initiative. “As endocrinologists, we have a responsibility to take actions to eliminate racism in our discipline and for our patients. The Endocrine Society has incorporated its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion into all facets of its education and advocacy initiatives and programming.”
The policy perspective outlines several strategies for addressing racism in endocrinology, including:
- Ensuring equal access to quality care,
- Building an inclusive and equitable endocrine workforce, and
- Diversifying clinical trial participation and the research workforce.
As part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and following its policy recommendations, the Endocrine Society:
- Offers leadership training and mentorship to early career physicians of communities underrepresented in medicine and science with its Excellence in Clinical Endocrinology Leadership (ExCEL) program. This is one way to build diversity into the endocrine workforce.
- Develops the careers of minority scientists and clinician-scientists through the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program. The program has trained over 150 early career scientists and faculty (47% Black and 43% Hispanic) since 2013. Seventy-one percent of FLARE fellows have published original research following their participation in the program, with an average of six research articles published. This is one example of how to create a program to train and mentor investigators from diverse backgrounds and grow a diverse research workforce.
- Advocates for telemedicine reimbursements to continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurance companies and policy makers should consider high copays, insulin accessibility and affordability, and equal access to telemedicine when allocating funds to eliminate barriers to care. This is an important way to increase access to care for diverse populations.
Other health disparities resources from the Endocrine Society include a scientific statement, patient resources, and a recent webinar, “Breaking Down Barriers to Diabetes Care.”
Co-authors of the policy perspective include: Rocio Pereira of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colo.; Alicia Diaz-Thomas of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tenn.; Camille Powe of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Licy Yanes Cardozo of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.; and Joshua Joseph of the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio.
The manuscript, “Eradicating Racism in Endocrinology: An Endocrine Society Policy Perspective,” was published online, ahead of print.
The paper is a collaborative effort between the Society’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee.