Diversity and inclusion are critical foci for ACEP and our specialty and should include all aspects of our organization. ACEP’s work should represent and benefit our membership and should be representative of our membership. To that end, our educational programs are best served by making certain that the perspectives and opinions shared reflect our diverse membership. The importance of this concept is highlighted in the experiences of Tina Wu, MD, MBA, associate chief of service and director of quality improvement for the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Emergency Services for NYU Langone Medical Center, assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine, and a physician at Bellevue Hospital Center and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, all in New York City.
Dr. Wu recently sat down with ACEP Now Medical Editor in Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, to discuss her experience at ACEP’s Emergency Department Directors Academy Phase 1 meeting held Nov. 14–18, 2016, in Dallas.
KK: You noticed something that concerned you regarding the Directors Academy Phase 1. Tell me about that concern.
TW: I do want to mention that I think the ED Directors Academy was very well-run. I do encourage people who are interested in leadership to attend. I noticed on the first day that there were no women or minority speakers. Some of the names of the future speakers could have been female, so I waited until day three when it became evident that there were no speakers who were women or minorities. We’d just received a lecture that was specifically on diversity with legally interviewing, hiring, and terminating, and so I found it striking to have five days, six to eight hours a day, of speakers talking about inclusion, diversity, and non-hostile environments and to not have a diverse speaker panel.
KK: That makes sense, and you’re raising an important topic. Let’s step back for just a moment if we can. I wanted to ask you in general your feelings about diversity and inclusion in emergency medicine. Do you feel your opportunities have been limited despite the great experiences you’ve had?
TW: It’s less about limitations per se but more about perception. One of the questions that someone asked at the ED Directors Academy was, “If I have two candidates and one is a minority but less qualified, what should I do?” The way that people frame these questions and the way that people say, “Oh, we should give people a chance,” is already putting them at a disadvantage. The reality is when you look at all sorts of leadership papers and one book, The Leadership Machine, they note that motivation and behavioral competency make up about 70 percent of the major factors that contribute to success in a job, whereas 20 percent is experience and 10 percent is functional or technical competencies. So when people say, “Oh, this person wasn’t qualified,” that doctor is usually interviewing them for only 30 minutes or an hour after looking at their CV.