Perhaps you heard about this recent incident: On a flight, Tamika Cross, MD, was blocked from helping a fellow passenger experiencing a medical crisis because the flight attendant did not believe she was really a doctor. Cross is black.
The episode sparked outrage, anger, frustration, sadness. But for Stanford Medicine alum Roxana Daneshjou, MD, PhD, and current MD/MBA student Ami Kumordzie, the incident provided the motivation to do something to help.
This week the pair launched #Iamaphysician, a social media campaign -- @diversedocs on Twitter and Instagram -- that features photos and stories about all types of doctors, which they introduced with a blog post. I spoke recently with Daneshjou, who will return to Stanford next year as a dermatology resident, about the effort, and her hopes for the future.
What was your reaction to the incident involving Dr. Cross?
My initial reaction was sadness.
I had a discussion with Ami and we started talking about how upsetting this incident was. We decided we wanted to spread awareness and celebrate the diversity of physicians and physician trainees. There's no one model of what a physician looks like. We thought the most powerful way to spread this idea was not just through images, but also through stories.
Were you inspired by any existing social media efforts?
Ami and I discussed how the Humans of New York blog uses images and stories to connect its readers with people they may not regularly encounter. We realized that many physicians and physician trainees have amazing stories to tell -- stories that we can all learn from and be inspired by.
What is your ultimate goal?
Our goal is to celebrate the journeys of physicians and trainees. These are really profound, touching and inspiring. We want to inspire and show the next generation of medical students that it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what anybody says, anyone can aspire to serve through the field of medicine.
We would love for other physicians and medical students to send us their images and stories (send to email@example.com ). We hope to broaden the public consciousness regarding the beautiful diversity of the physician workforce. We want to inspire current physicians to be proud of their heritage and to be proud of the journey they've taken.
I also believe that these stories are a microcosm for the American story: people with so many different backgrounds coming together and working for a common goal.
Previously: NIH's Hannah Valantine shares insights on workplace diversity, To boost diversity in academia, "true grit" is needed and New Stanford Medicine grad puts precision health to work for African Americans
Photo courtesy of Roxana Daneshjou