Equity and diversity in medicine are the subject of an important, ongoing discussion for medical professionals and patients. Greater equity and diversity in the medical workforce will improve system adaptation and patient care, but many barriers need to be addressed for the profession to move forward.
To better understand and address these barriers, the CMA launched a conversation with CMA members and stakeholders on equity and diversity in medicine in January 2019.
Members and stakeholders were encouraged to ponder questions such as:
- In your opinion, what are the most prominent issues or challenges related to equity and diversity facing the medical profession?
- What actions or solutions, big or small, might lead us toward a more equitable and diverse future for the medical profession?
- How can an increasingly diverse profession positively affect patients?
- What role should the CMA play in improving equity and diversity to support you as a member?
Since receiving and reviewing feedback, the CMA has developed a draft policy on equity and diversity in medicine to promote increased equity and diversity in medicine and to foster a more collaborative and respectful professional culture. By developing this policy, the CMA aims to identify a set of guiding principles and commitments to achieve these goals. It provides support for the view that improving circumstances and opportunities for physicians and learners is essential in creating a more equitable and sustainable culture and practice of medicine.
Defining equity and diversity
Equity refers to the treatment of people that recognizes and accommodates their differences. Equity relates to the opportunities of any given person, with their own identity, culture and characteristics, to create and sustain a career or to receive medical care without discrimination, harassment or cultural- or characteristic-related negative bias.
Diversity includes those (observable and non-observable) characteristics that are constructed — and sometimes chosen — by individuals, groups and societies to identify themselves (e.g., age, culture, language, gender, sexuality, health, cognitive abilities, socioeconomic status) in different contexts and that may describe them in relation to others in those contexts. It describes them in relation to other people (e.g., age, socioeconomic status, geographic location, health).
The consultation period for reviewing the draft policy closed on Nov. 18, 2019. Thank you to all stakeholders who shared their thoughts.