UNR Med Professor contributes to report on “Creating an Anti-racist Cardiovascular Community”

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 9:28 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -Statistics show Hispanic and Black Americans have higher rates and worse outcomes of cardiovascular disease. A local cardiologist has collaborated with other doctors around the nation to not just write an article about ending systemic racism and micro-aggressions in her field, but she is calling on her colleagues to do the same. This is all in an effort to bring in more doctors of color and build more trust amongst minorities.

“What we’ve written here are low hanging fruit. Things that don’t cost money, that don’t require huge structural changes and yet can have a big impact,” Dr. Lorrel Toft explains. A recent publication in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology offers practical steps that honestly any field can use, she adds, “We’re training people who will be trusted by their diverse community members and its also better for us as a workforce to be diverse, but in order to recruit diverse people into our training programs and into our profession, we need to make a culture that they want to be a part of.”

For Dr. Toft, Associate Professor of Cardiology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, these are necessary conversations and actions that she wants to see implemented in her field, telling us, “We talk a lot about the lack of minorities in the cardiology profession and we’ve acknowledged there’s a problem with the pipeline...getting people of color into the profession. But what we don’t often talk about is the environment that they face once they’re in the cardiology profession.”

Dr. Toft is just one author involved in this report. She worked with Dr. Nina Williams in Oklahoma. Dr. Williams is the first Black woman to graduate from the Louisville Cardiology Training Program and Dr. Toft was her director during their time in Kentucky. “We can’t fix all the pieces of this, but within our sphere of influence, within our profession, what are simple straight forward things we can do starting today,” Toft says.

The article highlights many areas; from day-to-day actions in the workplace, recruitment and teaching infrastructure. Toft states, “By promoting a workforce that is diverse, we can actually improve health and save lives of our patients.”

Her call to action is for all Northern Nevada offices to engage in self-reflection as she details, “If people start to see...hey, that person is a doctor and she looks like me, that they will feel inspired and say hey I can do it too. Someone who looks like me, someone who represents me is already in that field and has gone before me.”

Improving lives and creating an even playing field, no matter your gender or race.

You can read the full article for yourself here:

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