Conference Coverage

How to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in dermatology: Recommendations from an expert panel



When Omar N. Qutub, MD, opened his dermatology practice in Portland, Ore., in 2018, he sensed he had his work cut out for him to attract patients as a dermatologist of color in a city with a largely White population – so he launched community outreach efforts with local businesses to attract patients from diverse backgrounds.

“For instance, I worked with U.S. Bank to give lectures on minorities in medicine and talked about outreach options and possible ways to include more ethnicities in medicine overall,” Dr. Qutub said during a panel discussion on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) that took place at the ODAC Dermatology, Aesthetic & Surgical Conference. “I also did outreach with medical clinics in the area. Once patients are referred to you, they start to talk to people in their communities about you, and before you know it, you get people from their church and family members in your clinic.”

Dr. Omar N. Qutub, dermatologist, Portland, Ore.

Dr. Omar N. Qutub

His outreach efforts led to an increasing stream of patients “who looked more like me” scheduling appointments to see him. “It was surprising to me, but I found out that patients will find you, look for you, and that representation matters in dermatology,” he said.

Dr. Qutub, who is ODAC’s director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, kept EDI in mind when hiring staff for his practice, “to include candidates with varying experiences and backgrounds,” he said. “The idea was to make sure that when patients came into the clinic, they saw a varied group of individuals that were working together to help improve their health care outcomes. I found that made patients more comfortable in the clinic. It’s also important to have that representation daily in a larger setting like residency programs or multispecialty groups.”

Educational resources

Another panelist, Adam Friedman, MD, emphasized inclusivity of educational resources to ensure a dermatology workforce that can take care of all patients. “How can we expect the dermatology community to be able to treat anyone who comes through the door of their clinic if we don’t provide the resources that highlight and showcase the nuances and the diversity that skin disease has to offer?” asked Dr. Friedman, professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington University, Washington. “It comes down to educational tools and being purposeful when you’re putting together a talk or writing a paper, to be inclusive and have that on the top of your mind. It’s about saying right here, right now, we have to purposefully make a decision to be inclusive, to be welcoming to all so that we can practice at the highest level of our calling to treat everyone effectively and equitably.”

Dr. Adam Friedman, professor and interim chief of dermatology, George Washington University, Washington

Dr. Adam Friedman

Dr. Friedman and Misty Eleryan, MD, coedited “The Full Spectrum of Dermatology: A Diverse and Inclusive Atlas,” with an intent to visually teach dermatologists, dermatology residents, and other clinicians to recognize various skin conditions in different skin tones. (The atlas, which became available in September 2021, is published by SanovaWorks and Educational Testing & Assessment Systems.)

A unique feature of the atlas “is that we have taken multiple skin conditions, even common features such as erythema, and placed different skin tones side by side at the same angle to appreciate the full spectrum, and highlight those nuances,” Dr. Friedman said. “When you’re in clinic, when you see even common things like acne or seborrheic dermatitis,” he recommended taking photos to create a repository, “because you never know when that will be helpful when you want to show a medical student or a patient what something can look like on someone with a similar skin tone, or even to share with them how diverse skin conditions can appear across populations.”


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