For this issue of MillennialEYE, I am humbled to take a moment to reflect on what it means to promote inclusivity in ophthalmology. This is a topic that not only deserves attention but is also especially timely given the challenges of the past year, including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic stress, political unrest, and race and gender inequities, to name a few. The events of this year have prompted many of us to reevaluate our priorities and have brought to light issues that, although present before, were often swept under the rug.
One of the many topics that hits close to home for me is work-life balance (or the lack thereof). For female physicians, the stress of working and taking care of a family was an issue before the pandemic. With the added pressures of virtual schooling, taking care of sick family members, etc., it has become an even more difficult feat. Many professional women have had to hop off the career ladder to manage day-to-day life with their kids. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his best-selling book Outliers, success is not simply the product of a powerful personality or a high IQ. Instead, it is the right combination of hard work, meaningful opportunity, and community support that leads to success.1 With that in mind, the first step forward to improve things for all involved is to evaluate where we stand today. Enhancing diversity in ophthalmology remains critical. Studies confirm that diverse and inclusive companies and organizations, including professions and the societies that support them, are the highest performers.2
This issue’s cover series discusses the importance of allyship, which is an active process through which individuals help address equity and inclusion. Individuals with privilege must have a deep understanding of their own status in order to enhance the lives of and promote the success of others—not just for the sake of altruism but to achieve long-term benefits for society as a whole. The series also addresses obstacles to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in ophthalmology and some steps individuals and institutions can take to overcome them.
Finally, but no less important, gender disparity is an increasingly well-recognized issue in the field of medicine. With all the added stressors of the last year, recognizing unconscious gender bias and offering community support for women have become even more important. This issue also discusses closing ophthalmology’s gender gap in compensation and examines the concept of professionalism among women.
Thank you for joining us for these critical and timely conversations. I look forward to what the future holds for all of us!
1. Gladwell M. Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company; 2008.
2. Levine SR. Diversity Confirmed to Boost Innovation and Financial Results. Forbes website. January 15, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2020/01/15/diversity-confirmed-to-boost-innovation-and-financial-results/?sh=4f8cdae0c4a6. Accessed April 27, 2021.