As McLean Hospital and Partners HealthCare celebrate Black History Month, we reflect on the importance of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in establishing communities of health.
Recently, McLean Hospital has been privileged to host the new president of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Altha Stewart, and the new president of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel (who is also an associate professor at Boston Children’s Hospital). This is the very first time that both of the most preeminent associations for mental health are led by African-American women. This is truly a moment where our community is a witness to history.
Research in organizational contexts shows that diversity of all kinds (e.g., race, gender, sexual identity and orientation, and disability status, as well as diversity of thought and perspectives) correlates with innovation and discovery. Firms with greater diversity succeed because creativity is enhanced when different life experiences can be brought to bear on critical challenges. Thus, diverse organizations outperform and out-innovate those with less diversity. In health care settings and systems, team diversity is associated with quality of care and patient trust.
This is the message that Drs. Stewart and Daniel shared during their presentations. Dr. Stewart is an associate professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth. As a psychiatrist-leader, her career includes working in public sector health care in Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Dr. Stewart’s lecture, which was part of McLean’s Grand Rounds series, was titled “Specializing in the Wholly Impossible: Women in Medicine Past, Present, and Future.” She shared images of women physicians who made critical contributions to modern psychiatry, but whose successes were often not recognized by the prevailing medical establishment.
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