Enhancing Diversity in the Ophthalmology Workforce

Elsevier, Ophthalmology, Volume 129, October 2022
Woreta F.A., Gordon L.K., Knight O.J., Randolph J.D., Zebardast N., Perez-Gonzalez C.E.

Health care teams are most effective at addressing complex problems and improving health outcomes for underserved populations when team members bring diverse life experiences and perspectives to the effort. With rates of visual impairment expected to increase in the United States by 2050, especially among minority populations, diversification of the ophthalmology workforce will be critical in reducing disparities in access to and quality of vision health care. Currently, ophthalmology is less diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, and gender than graduating medical classes and other medical specialties, as well as the general US population. In addition, data on diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, socioeconomic status, and disability are lacking in ophthalmology. The Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring and Rabb-Venable Excellence in Ophthalmology Programs are examples of initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the workforce and can serve as models for increasing other aspects of inclusiveness. Other strategies for improving vision health care for all Americans include continuing to support existing diversity programs and creating new ones; addressing unconscious and implicit bias in medical school, residency, and faculty selections; conducting holistic reviews of medical school and residency applications; diversifying selection committees and leadership; and encouraging faculty development of underrepresented groups.