Photo credit: Randy Belice
We welcome the new commentary from the Dean of the Feinberg School of Medicine here at Northwestern University entitled, "Diversity: Essential For Our Success." In it, Dr. Larry Jameson tells of his own personal history of growing up in the age where integration and diversity were just beginning to take hold as ideals of value. He discusses remembering very few women or people of racial minorities in his own medical class, and praises the efforts that have been taken to change this sad statistic in the school admissions, faculty hires, and work opportunities in the years since his school days. Dr. Jameson offers a few new insights, including his own hesitancy to think of race as any true separator; a consequence of his knowledge regarding genetic similarities between all racial groups. Additionally, Dr Jameson offers this anecdote:
"We were asked (coerced) to take a Meyers-Briggs personality test. Based on the results, we were sorted into small groups with similar or differing profiles. All groups were given the same problem to solve. When we reported out, it was very clear that the more diverse groups had been more open-minded and creative, and had constructively addressed issues that required compromise. In contrast, the more homogeneous groups immediately focused on traditional solutions, were recalcitrant to compromise, and in some cases became too bogged down in old issues to even promote solutions. I generally dislike these kinds of exercises, but I learned that diversity yields better solutions."
That principle is one of the many reasons that the IWHR promotes diversity in the clinic and in the lab, as well as in the patient or study participant pool. We believe that a diverse population within the set of doctors and scientists who direct modern medicine will naturally lead to a greater insight and sensitivity to the needs of the diverse set of patients who benefit from new innovations and treatments.