Human resources

Resources rarely devoted to diversity officers in family medicine

April 21, 2022

1 minute read

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According to data published in Family medicine.

The lack of investment “raises the question of whether departments are truly prioritizing diversity, inclusion and health equity (DIHE),” Christine K. Jacobs, MD, FAAFP, wrote the dean and vice presidents of medical affairs at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, along with colleagues.

Jacobs CK, et al. Fam Med. 2022; doi:10.22454/FamMed.2022.419971.

“Diversity Officers need financial and human resources to recruit and support faculty, residents, fellows and medical students once they join the department,” Jacobs told Healio.

Jacobs and colleagues assessed the state of DIHE activities by surveying 94 member departments of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine in 2020. Completed by department chairs, the survey included 86 questions on topics such as research , health care delivery transformation and faculty promotions. The researchers focused their findings on the answers to seven questions about diversity and health equity.

Christine Jacobs

Christine K. Jacobs

More than 60% of family medicine department directors said their department promotes IHL and anti-oppression, and 66% reported a well-functioning institutional infrastructure. Just over half of departments have conducted a climate survey to measure workplace engagement and perceptions in the past 3 years, according to Jacobs and colleagues.

The researchers also reported that 47.3% of departments had a diversity officer. Of these, 53.7% of presidents said the position had a career path. Resource commitment to a diversity officer was significantly associated with whether the position had a career path (P

The results may indicate that a “positive self-assessment by department managers reflects good intentions more than strategic action and positive outcomes,” Jacobs and colleagues wrote. Institutions should survey staff and patients rather than assume IHL status, Jacobs said. Departments should then use the results to create a strategic plan, create and support DIHE infrastructure, and regularly measure and report on the results of DIHE efforts.

“Making IHL a priority in family medicine departments will have a widespread impact on the communities we serve, the institutions in which we work, and the health system as a whole,” Jacobs and colleagues wrote.