In a 2020 paper, Dr Winkfield and colleagues from universities across the United States outlined ways to reduce the marginalization of Black professionals in the field.5  

For medical societies such as ASTRO, which Dr Winkfield and coauthors criticized for a weak response to anti-Black racism, the authors recommended the “ATIP” approach, which stands for:

  • Acknowledgment — Acknowledge the existence and impact of anti-Black racism and implicit bias.
  • Transparency — Maintain transparency about funding and resources supporting the institution’s priorities as well as transparency in determining pathways to leadership roles.
  • Intentionality — Demonstrate intentionality by establishing a comprehensive pipeline for Black leadership, showing commitment to equity, and dedicating resources toward eliminating disparities.
  • rePresentation — Commit to inclusive representation without tokenism. 

As a model for individual clinicians, practices, and departments, Dr Winkfield and colleagues suggested the “LEADS” approach, which stands for:


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  • Learn — Educate yourself about racism and its impact on Black patients and colleagues.
  • Engage — Engage with Black colleagues on the climate of the workplace, offer to be a resource to Black medical student groups, and engage your family in conversations about racism.
  • Advocate — Lobby for health care reforms that promote greater racial equity, and vote in ways that eliminate racism.
  • Defend — Push back against subtle or overt anti-Black comments.
  • Support — Invest in the success of Black colleagues by quoting their research and nominating them for key positions.

Dr Winkfield recommends that oncology professionals “be the change” in supporting and advocating for greater diversity and inclusion in the workforce. 

“If you are faculty at a medical school and have the opportunity to weigh in on the selection of trainees at all levels, please do so,” Dr Winkfield said. “If you can spare an hour each month to provide mentorship or sponsorship to someone from a background that is traditionally underrepresented in the field, that is highly encouraged. Find ways to promote your colleagues of color. Don’t stand by and allow the microaggressions; speak up.”

Disclosures: Dr Winkfield reported consulting or advisory roles with Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and GRAIL. Dr Abraham reported having no disclosures.

References

1. Winkfield KM, Levit LA, Tibbits M, et al. Addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion of Black physicians in the oncology workforce. JCO Oncol Pract. 2021;17(5):224-226. doi:10.1200/OP.21.00079

2. Vapiwala N, Winkfield KM. The hidden costs of medical education and the impact on oncology workforce diversity. JAMA Oncol. 2018;4(3):289–290. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.4533

3. American Society of Hematology. ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://www.hematology.org/awards/minority-recruitment

4. American Society for Radiation Oncology. Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. Accessed August 31, 2021. https://www.astro.org/About-ASTRO/diversity-and-inclusion/Initiatives 

5. Chapman CH, Gabeau D, Pinnix CC, Deville C Jr., Gibbs IC, Winkfield KM. Why racial justice matters in radiation oncology. Adv Radiat Oncol. 2020; 5(5): 783-790. doi:10.1016/j.adro.2020.06.013