By Tammy McCausland
This blog post sources its content from “Diversity Matters,” an article published in SROA’s quarterly news publication Radiation Oncology News for Administrators in April 2020.
Published studies and statistics show that cancer patients from underrepresented populations tend to have poorer health outcomes. According to a 2017 ASCO Post article, “In oncology, just 2% of the physician workforce self-identifies as black/African American and 3% as Hispanic/Latino. In addition, the proportion of black/African American and Hispanic/Latino oncology fellows is consistently lower than many other fellowships in subspecialties in internal medicine.”
In the “Diversity Matters” article, Dr. Kevin Nead, an assistant professor of epidemiology and radiation oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, suggested ways to use available data to develop and integrate a better review process for applicants to radiation oncology residency programs. He offered six suggestions to help increase diversity:
These strategies can help the hiring committee make decisions based on more objective and balanced criteria rather than on a “feeling.” Dr. Nead recommended that those involved in hiring become aware of best practices and work to standardize the resident screening and recruiting process. He said, “Making the specialty more representative of the medical school population is an attainable goal. I believe that it can be improved by just some small, thoughtful changes to the way we approach bringing people into our specialty.”
Does your organization use any of the suggestions from Dr. Kevin Nead to increase diversity?
Nead KT, Linos E, Vapiwala N. “Increasing Diversity in Radiation Oncology: A Call to Action.” Advances in Radiation Oncology. 2019;4:226–8.
Cavallo J. “Increasing Racial and Ethnics Diversity in the Oncology Workforce.” The ASCO Post. October 10, 2017.