Panel discusses diversity in health care field

Maggie Eubanks, News Editor

The field of medicine is constantly changing and evolving. A field that was historically reserved for white men is becoming more open and diverse, allowing for more people groups to be represented. 

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) held a panel on diversity in medicine to talk about the importance of this subject and working to ensure that all people groups are represented in health care. 

Seven health care providers spoke on the panel about their respective fields. Anthony Alao is an administrative fellow at Ochsner’s Hospital, Talitha Elliot is a doctor of chiropractics and Jonah Flowers is a doctor in family medicine. Also included in the panel was physical therapist Ashanti Jones, therapist Amber Deutsch, Ph.D. student Davially Frans and sports medicine doctor Jacob Turnbull. 

The panelists spoke on topics presented by members in the DEI office. 

“I’m a firm believer in compassion goes a long way in everything you do,” Alao said when speaking on a question about bedside manner. “Whenever you’re dealing with patients and dealing with people, regardless of where they’re from, the compassion always overrides everything else you’re thinking.”

Students and faculty in attendance also had the chance to share their perspectives and ask questions relating to the field of medicine. One of the main topics was mental health. Many people refer to mental health diagnoses as mental issues, but Frans said this is not her preferred term. 

“I think you should take that issue away because not everything is an issue,” Frans said. “They’re just low days or transitions that have happened in our lives, and we find coping mechanisms.”

The panelists closed the talk by encouraging students that in order to make a change, they must be willing to listen and learn from others. Elliot said that health care professionals and patients cannot expect things from others they are unwilling to do themselves. 

“If we really want to change, we have to be open and be willing to make those relationships and kind of help them through some of the more uncomfortable times,” Elliot said. “We can’t be so quick to be offended, especially when you know that somebody is coming from a true and genuine place.”

This panel was the culminating event for the DEI office this year.