On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Bob discuss how dismantling systemic barriers to healthcare leadership roles can help minority communities increase their representation in the healthcare space. They point out how the entire healthcare industry can benefit from talented professionals, scientists, and researchers from diverse backgrounds. A greater minority presence in healthcare can improve diversity in clinical trials and encourage greater democratization of healthcare services among Americans who want healthcare professionals with similar cultural backgrounds.

Bob interviews Dr. Frank Douglas, an award-winning industry veteran with more than three decades of experience in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and entrepreneurship, about increasing minority representation at all levels of healthcare. Dr. Douglas discusses his latest venture, Safe Haven Dialogues which empowers individuals to push back against discriminatory environments and make impactful change.

Dr. Douglas recounts how he overcame racial discrimination to rise through the pharmaceutical industry and academia ranks. He explains how his ethnicity repeatedly got in the way of promotions. Yet by following the philosophy, What is the Outcome You Desire? Dr. Douglas got a promotion by objectively asking for it.

He argues that so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs are a collectivist approach to solve individualized discrimination problems. Bob highlights how DEI often results in “tokenism,” where minorities are dismissed as achieving their position through quotas rather than merit. Dr. Douglas prefers the phrase equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), which promotes equitable solutions that don’t alienate white males.

Through Safe Haven Dialogues, Dr. Douglas works with employees and companies to identify racial roadblocks to minority advancement in the healthcare sector. He highlights how industry leaders sometimes argue that their minority pool of job applicants doesn’t exist while overlooking strong minority candidates within their organizations. His project provides a safe haven where meaningful dialogue can occur about minorities’ career development, empowering them to find productive ways to change their environment while providing companies with case studies about overcoming systemic racism.

With February being American Heart Month, patient correspondent Kate Pecora interviews Andrea Baer of Mended Hearts. She discusses what we can do with our whole body to help our hearts. She highlights Mended Hearts’ peer-to-peer program to support about 200,000 people each year with heart disease, noting that the most powerful solution for those struggling is knowing that you’re not alone and that someone else has been in your place. Once people have hope, she argues, they can achieve the impossible. Drawing on her own story of her son’s congenital heart disease and open-heart surgery, she explains how she was inspired to open a Mended Little Hearts chapter, which helps children with heart disease.

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