Homogeneity in medicine can hinder patient outcomes, education, scientific progress, and more. Put simply, in the ophthalmic workforce and in ophthalmology training, teams made up of individuals from different backgrounds can be more effective and efficient. However, recent research has shown that the proportion of individuals who are underrepresented in medicine in ophthalmology lags behind their proportion within the US population.1 Although there has been a positive trend in the percentage of underrepresented individuals applying and matching into ophthalmology residency, a lack of racial and ethnic diversity relative to other specialties still exists.2
Diversity does not increase without a dedicated effort to create more space and opportunities for all. As an Arab, Muslim woman in a historically homogenous field, I am grateful that the conversation surrounding these issues has opened and to have personally witnessed the makeup of ophthalmology residents becoming more diverse. In this issue of MillennialEYE, contributors address barriers to building more diverse teams in practice and in training, and they share their insights and experiences with initiatives to overcome them. As author Christine Coward, MD, notes, “The benefits of increasing the diversity of faculty and trainees cannot be overstated. These include but are not limited to well-rounded development of staff, identification of blind spots and implicit biases, increased cultural competence, increased vestment from staff, pipeline development, attraction of more diverse applicants, better patient care, and increased trust in the community toward health care providers.”
1. Page SE. The Diversity Bonus: How Great Teams Pay off in the Knowledge Economy. Princeton UP; 2017.
2. Ugochi TA, Srikumaran D, Canner J, et al. Trends in racial and ethnic diversity of ophthalmology residents and residency applicants. Am J Ophthalmol. 2022;240:P260-264.