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Diversity in health care

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March Messenger 2022 | Posted March 10, 2022
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A recent study examines equality and discrimination among Alberta physicians

In fall 2020, researchers from the University of Calgary conducted a study on diversity, harassment and discrimination in health care. Data on the diversity of Alberta’s physicians is limited and the goal of the study was to better understand the identities and experiences of physicians working in our province.

More than 1,000 physicians participated and the research team has released a summary of the results. Key findings include:

  • Indigenous physicians are underrepresented relative to their proportions among Alberta’s general public.
  • One in 12 Alberta physicians indicated they felt cold towards Indigenous people.
  • Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) physicians hold fewer leadership positions and are less often compensated for their leadership work than white physicians.
  • Nearly twice as many BIPOC cisgender women have experienced workplace harassment and discrimination compared to white cisgender men.
  • One in three Alberta physicians (and over 50 per cent of BIPOC cisgender women) did not know where to report workplace harassment and discrimination.
  • More than half of physicians who identify as transgender, gender diverse or non-binary have not shared their true gender identity at work.

The research team made several recommendations based on the data collected, including adopting evidence-based strategies to reduce homogeneity in leadership and disparities in promotion, updating current registration data to reflect the true diversity of the physician workforce, providing training for leaders on accepting reports of harassment and acknowledging the presence of interpersonal, anti-Indigenous bias among Alberta physicians.

Take a few moments to review the research report in full, which has also been shared with leadership at CPSA, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health. Please be advised, some may find the comments submitted via the survey offensive and upsetting.


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