From the AUPN: Disparities, Racism & Implicit Bias: What can we do?

The Voice of Academic Neurology's Leaders

The terrible events of the last two weeks have powerfully reminded us all of our obligation as leaders to do everything within our power to end discrimination in all its guises, and to insure that the underprivileged are afforded the same rights, protections and opportunities as the rest of us.  This means not only freedom from personal and institutional racism but, just as importantly, guarantees of personal and economic security, educational opportunity and lifelong access to quality healthcare.  We as a nation must commit ourselves to providing the considerable resources necessary to at last secure these basic rights for everyone.  Within our own professional sphere, many of us and our faculty participate in charity care but, as we see every day in our medical schools, a patchwork system of safety nets is woefully inadequate to meet the medical needs of our poorest patients.  Consequently, we must redouble our efforts to support a basic level of lifelong care for this most vulnerable population.  For the last several years, we have increasingly focused in academic neurology on the growing shortage of neurologists in general, and the even more critical shortage of neurologists from under-represented groups within our ranks.  We must make better progress in solving this complex problem, which will require innovative solutions, including an unprecedented level of cooperation between departments of neurology, schools of medicine, and undergraduate, high school and community programs.  Finally, we must focus even more of our energies on research into improving the neurological health of the economically and socially disadvantaged in our communities, hospitals and clinics through preventative and interventional care, public health and reform.  Let us do all we can to insure that this heart-rending tragedy does not merely fade into a disturbing historical footnote, but instead becomes a turning point which leads us, together, to a better life for all. 

Today’s Resource Links (below) focus on these critical issues, including the diversity problem in neurology, disparities in the neurological care of underprivileged minorities, and implicit bias in both the academic workplace and clinical patient care.

As we enter this new academic year, I would like to thank those completing their terms on the AUPN Executive Council for their tremendous service and great contributions:  Louise McCullough, MD, PhD (University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston; Executive Council), Kerry Levin, MD (Cleveland Clinic; Executive Council), Gretchen Tietjen, MD (University of Toledo; Executive Council & 2nd Vice President) and, finally, Karen Johnston, MD, MSc (University of Virginia; Executive Council & Past President).

Clifton L. Gooch, MD
AUPN President

Today’s Resource Links

Enhancing diversity in neurology (Annals of Neurology, Subscription Access)
This article analyzes the diversity problem in neurology and offers potential solutions

Reducing disparities in neurological care (Neurology; Subscription Access)
This article reports on disparities in neurological patient care in underprivileged minorities and recommends strategies to improve this divide.

Implicit bias in the workplace and patient care in neurology (ANA Investigates Podcast. Free)
This ANA Investigates podcast discusses reviews the effects of implicit bias in neurology and medicine.

The following organizations are seeking to fill the following leadership positions:

University of Washington: Professor and Chair - Department of Neurology
University of Pittsburgh: Faculty Professor Department Chair of Neurology

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