Addressing Issues of Underrepresentation in the Healthcare Workforce

Published on: 

Janssen aims to address health inequities and promote culturally competent care.

In an interview with HCPLive Rheumatology, Soumya Chakravarty, MD, PhD, FACP, FACR, Senior Director, Strategic Lead, Janssen Rheumatology, and Daphne Chan, PhD, Head of Dermatology Medical Affairs, Janssen, discussed Janssen’s Dertermi-Nation program designed to foster partnerships and create a community that includes patient advocates as well as healthcare providers. The program targeted solutions to address underlying issues and meet the needs of healthcare providers.

“The first solution is the ‘Beyond the Textbook’ concept, which recognizes that medical students in dermatology and rheumatology often lack education about health inequities and culturally competent care,” Chakravarty explained. “Determi-Nation has created a textbook that aims to close this educational gap.”

Statistics show that 30% of rheumatology fellowships and 75% of dermatology programs do not provide any training on culturally competent care or the presentation of psoriatic disease in people of color. The textbook is currently available on the Determi-Nation website.

The second solution is the patient navigation program at SUNY Downstate, developed in collaboration with Determi-Nation members and healthcare providers. This program involves bringing medical students on board as patient navigators to connect people of color with the necessary resources.

The student navigators are trained to assist patients with education about their disease, understanding new medications, scheduling appointments, and facilitating follow-up calls with healthcare providers. The goal of the pilot program is to change the trajectory of care for approximately 200 patients of color and their caregivers.

For healthcare providers, these solutions proposed by Determi-Nation signify the beginning of their efforts. They aim to address health inequities and promote culturally competent care. By implementing these solutions, they hope that healthcare providers will gain a better understanding of the importance of diversity in medical education and clinical research.

“Currently, the medical curriculum lacks representation of diversity, and only 18% of medical imagery in textbooks represents diverse populations,” Chan emphasized. “This lack of representation hinders physicians' ability to recognize and diagnose conditions in patients of color. Determi-Nation initiatives, such as the VISIBLE Study, aim to generate high-resolution photography across different skin types and racial backgrounds to improve recognition and understanding of conditions like psoriasis.”

This transcript was edited for clarity.