Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

New Appointment Fuels Diversity Momentum at Weill Cornell Medicine

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

New Appointment Fuels Diversity Momentum at Weill Cornell Medicine

Article excerpt

Medicine is among the least diverse academic areas in higher education, and Weill Cornell Medicine's (WCM) efforts to turn that around have led to the appointment of accomplished physician-scientist Dr. Said Ibrahim as the institution's inaugural senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion.

Renowned for extensive scholarship and award-winning research around combatting disparities in health care and access among demographic groups, Ibrahim will lead the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's efforts to promote initiatives that recruit, nurture and retain doctors, scientists and trainees from women, minority, LGBTQ and other groups underrepresented in medicine. He also will spearhead efforts to unify diversity programs across WCM and cultivate a student body whose diverse range of fresh perspectives and approaches can help foster scientific innovation, eliminate health disparities, improve human health and ensure access for all to the best health care.

Ibrahim, who came to WCM in February as the inaugural chief of the Division of Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation in the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, will assume the new post Jan. 2. He will

work alongside associate deans of diversity and inclusion Dr. Linnie Golightly and Dr. Rache M. Simmons and assistant deans of diversity and student life Dr. Marcus Lambert and Dr. Elizabeth Wilson-Anstey.

The office's mission resonates personally with Ibrahim, whose academic pursuits led him to emigrate from Somalia in the mid1980s. His research has informed national policy at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He has had more than 130 publications in top journals and as a clinician-investigator, his work has been federally funded continuously шя for more than 15 years.

Passionate about equity in health care and access and treatment, Ibrahim has studied topics such as the lower preference for surgery among minority patients as a key reason for disparity, access to total knee replacement for Black patients, arthritis and racial disparities in pain, and ethnic and racial differences in total knee anthroplasty in the Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

"Having grown up in East Africa, I understand first-hand how inequalities in healthcare access can significantly affect people's lives," he says in an interview with Diverse. "Diversity and inclusion - things that people had fought passionately for during the civil rights movement - made it possible for someone like me to attend medical school in the United States. It's important to me that we maintain and grow that kind of opportunity for everyone"

Nationally, only 6 percent of medical school graduates are Black or African American and just 5 percent are Hispanic or Latino, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Diversifying leadership ranks in academic medicine at WCM is a priority of Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean and Cornell University's Provost for Medical Affairs. Choi calls diversity "essential for the healthcare workforce" and "a core value" of the institution along with education, research and clinical care.

"Bringing together our academic community's unique perspectives and abilities not only leads to innovation, but also allows us to provide the best care for a diverse population and the best education for a diverse student body," says Choi. "Dr. Ibrahim is the ideal person to advance this important institutional mission and ensure a rich environment of equality and inclusiveness at Weill Cornell Medicine."

Ibrahim says that WCM's strong and growing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion lured him away from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a professor of medicine for eight years. …

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