KK: Were your goals to advance diversity and inclusion in general or just for women in medicine?
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Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 01 – January 2018
DK: The conference was 100 percent inclusive. We had men, participants and speakers. We had women who were not in emergency medicine, even some who were not doctors. We included nurses, PAs, medical students, and EMTs. What was interesting to us was that the women in the room who were not emergency medicine doctors, who weren’t even doctors, felt as included in the conversation as those card-carrying emergency medicine providers. Some of the men said that this was the best development conference they’d ever been to. The journey of being a woman in medicine is actually more about being a person in medicine. When we’re talking about being a physician parent whose child is ill, that is not exclusive to women.
We had the speakers wear a feminist shirt—it’s literally a shirt that said “Feminist.” We didn’t only give that shirt to women; we gave it to every single speaker. So, Scott Weingart, Adam Rosh, Michael Gisondi, and Rob Gore all stood on the stage and wore a shirt that said “Feminist.” There is nothing exclusive or divisive about that because we should all be feminists, caring about the needs, concerns, and interests of each other.
KK: I think there can be a misconception that a conference like this is structured for the sole purpose of women supporting women, but what we can learn from you, your organization, and from our specialty is this is about making sure that we’re supporting each other and making sure that people aren’t excluded. Sometimes that overarching principle may be overlooked. We all benefit from diversity and inclusion because we all work together, and when we don’t recognize each other for the great value that we individually and collectively bring, we all lose, and we all fail.
DK: I agree, except that I honestly think we need to go beyond that. Studies have proven that women aren’t worse doctors and that there is a power discrepancy between women and men. It is time to accept that bias exists and that there are discrepancies between women and men in salary, promotion, tenure. The tradition of privilege is something I always talk about in my lectures. If you’re not on the receiving end of bias, then to even consider how it could affect those around you is a really difficult thing to do. Any group that is underrepresented, whether it’s in race, gender, or anything else, needs support. So, I don’t really just expect better from our community anymore, I demand better of our community right now. One of the best things that we had at the end of that conference was the fact that 100 percent of the people there, regardless of how they got there, felt that it gave them something. That was our biggest victory.
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