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Dr Georges Benjamin Discusses the Importance of Diversity in Healthcare

A lack of diversity among healthcare providers can adverse effects for the communities they serve, explained Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association.


A lack of diversity among healthcare providers can adverse effects for the communities they serve, explained Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

Transcript (modified)

What challenges arise when healthcare providers don’t reflect the communities they serve?

Well, you know, I learned a long time ago, when you’re practicing medicine that you have to really understand your patients. There are lots of things that patients won’t tell you, there are trust issues, and when folks don’t necessarily represent the communities they serve, that’s a huge barrier you have to overcome. And so having a diverse workforce helps deal with some of those challenges.

How has the implementation of the Affordable Care Act highlighted the need for more diversity among healthcare providers?

The Affordable Care Act is doing a marvelous job of getting people into regular care. And so having a provider – again, building relationships with someone you trust, that knows you, that you know them—that you feel comfortable telling them your medical secrets is very important. And having a diverse workforce helps with that process. Every physician should be able to take care of these patients and be culturally competent, but diversity helps.

 
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