Editor-in-Chief’s Message: Is DEI just the flavor of the month?
PCICS created a Diversity & Inclusion committee in June 2020 in response to national events in the United States, as a way to raise awareness about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues in our field. In addition, the December 2020 international conference had a great panel of invited speakers on this topic. This was followed up with a two-part podcast series on DEI which I encourage everyone to listen to. The podcasts were a great segue to this edition of the newsletter, which I expect would allow us to reach even more people on this topic via a different forum.
Our vision for this edition of the newsletter was to discuss multiple aspects of DEI, as they relate to patient care and healthcare providers in our field:
- Discrimination & disparities and their effects on patients and on staff
- Patient outcome studies in pediatric CICU
- Patient access to cardiac care
- Academia & leadership
As we worked on this newsletter, I contemplated how much continued interest there would be in this topic in our community. But I also simultaneously thought about some unique experiences and perspectives that have not yet been touched on – experiences to be shared by the diverse guests we have invited to write editorials. Some of my own experiences also helped guide the subtopics. I thought about the time I was asked during a cardiac ICU faculty interview if I thought I “could fit in with our group or would you mope around like a poor African?” The division chief was thinking out loud. I remembered another time a few years ago when a nurse practitioner was discussing a patient with me and said: “The mother is a typical angry black woman….” (quickly followed by) “Oh my God…. I’m.… so sorry!” Another time, a boss joked in a meeting by mockingly declaring “whites only!” (repeatedly) when discussing their NIH-funded research study that needed healthy volunteers. These are three separate personal examples, but each highlighted a different systemic problem.
I have sometimes worried about the impact of “structures” on the assessment of and plan for ICU patients – in areas such as referrals to child protective services and decisions about offering organ transplantation – impact which may be non-measurable because there will never be two apples to compare. I am glad that others have embarked on research in this area, and while this research is not new, there is certainly a renewed interest. In working on this newsletter, I also somberly paused for self-reflection on unintentional ignorance. My conclusion: We can all do better.
We are very happy to have successfully attracted a diverse group of knowledgeable voices, all excited to contribute to this edition of the newsletter. We have 6 guests who wrote editorials for this edition!! Rather than introduce each of them, I will have you read their very informative, reflective and instructive editorials. I want to very sincerely thank each of the 6 authors for their contributions – Mark Clay MD MSCI, Catherine Krawczeski MD, Yuen Lie Tjoeng MD MS, Keila Lopez MD MPH, Jason Giangrosso RN BSN CCRN and Natasha Afonso MD MPH.
Finally, I would like to officially welcome the new members of the PCICS newsletter subcommittee: Drs. Felina Mille (CHOP), Meghna Patel (Stanford) and Kriti Puri (TCH). David Werho is the immediate past editor-in-chief and remains on my speed dial for whenever I need help. We welcome feedback on all newsletters, and particularly this one. Our plan for the newsletter going forward includes strategies to increase readership and to increase production of ICU physiology editions. Let us know what you would like to hear about for future newsletters.
Ivie D. Esangbedo, MD, MPH
Editor-in-Chief, PCICS Newsletter
Pediatric Cardiac Intensivist and Assistant Professor
UT Southwestern Medical Center