Judy L. Aschner, M.D.
Our residency program in pediatrics is now the most diverse among the pediatric training programs in the greater New York region.
Diversity in the healthcare workforce and in biomedical sciences is extremely important to me and to the future of academic medicine. Disparities in health outcomes are related to access; physicians from underrepresented groups are more likely to practice in underserved areas and to work with vulnerable populations. Having a diverse medical school class and faculty improves the cultural competence of everyone. At Montefiore/Einstein we serve a particularly diverse patient population, and I believe that their care experience will be enhanced by interactions with a healthcare workforce that better reflects the diversity of the population we serve.
I arrived at Montefiore/Einstein in April 2015 and have been impressed with the diversity among the medical and graduate students at Einstein. And I have definitely seen and driven change in the department of pediatrics. One of the first things I did as Chair is a survey of the current faculty and trainees to get a better handle on the demographics of my department, including seniority, rank and how faculty self-identify among categories considered by the NIH as underrepresented in medicine. The data drove me to launch the LEAD Program in Pediatrics. LEAD stands “Leadership, Engagement and Diversity,” and it is the implementation arm of the Office of Faculty Development in Pediatrics. LEAD has sponsored many programs to enhance diversity and teach cultural competence in Pediatrics and has partnered with the residency program around the LEADER program, whose goal is to recruit a more diverse residency class. Both of these programs have been enormously successful. Our residency program in pediatrics is now the most diverse among the pediatric training programs in the greater NY region, with about 24 percent of the intern class coming from groups underrepresented in medicine. We have also markedly increased the diversity of the faculty and of those in leadership positions in pediatrics.
I hope to see continued efforts to enhance diversity on campus and maintenance of robust demographic data on faculty and trainees, including clinical fellows and residents—similar to the data kept for basic science graduate programs needed for applications for T32 grants.
Judy L. Aschner, M.D.
Michael I. Cohen University Chair and Professor of Pediatrics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Children’s Hospital at Montefiore