An Interview With Impact Leaders Latinx Dermatologist Directory

We’re shining the ProjectIMPACT Spotlight on Latinx Dermatologist Directory, an organization committed to strengthening the Latinx/Hispanic dermatology community, founded by 3 current dermatologist residents: Dr. Marla Rodriguez, Dr. Maria Espinosa, and Dr. Stephanie Florez-Pollack. DeAnna Diaz, Dermatology research fellow at Penn Medicine and VisualDx Student Advisory Board, interviews the three founding members.

Dr. Marla Rodriguez
Dr. Maria Espinosa
Dr. Stephanie Florez-Pollack
DeAnna Diaz: Please describe your job and your favorite aspects of your current position:

Marla and Maria are currently in their intern year and will be starting dermatology residency at Duke and Henry Ford, respectively. Stephanie is a current PGY3 at the University of Pennsylvania.

Maria and Marla: Some of our favorite aspects of intern year include getting to work closely with other prelim year and categorical residents with different backgrounds and experiences, working with Spanish speaking patients in clinic, and getting more experience learning bread and butter medicine.

Stephanie: In dermatology residency you learn something new every day, and every day is different. We get to practice medical dermatology, surgery and pathology on a daily basis. Being a mentor to future dermatologists is very fulfilling as well.

DD: What do you see as the biggest challenges in reducing bias in healthcare?

Latinx Dermatologist Directory: Most people have implicit biases and one of the biggest challenges is getting people to acknowledge and address them before they impact the way patients are treated. We know that implicit biases can get in the way of good patient care, which can lead to negative outcomes and patients not wanting to seek care. Implicit bias training should be a part of every residency training program so that trainees can spend time reflecting on implicit biases and learn some strategies to reduce them.

DD: Are you currently working on something that addresses healthcare inequity 

Latinx Dermatologist Directory: We decided to launch our @Latinxdermdirectory campaign as a way to address healthcare equity by promoting current and aspiring Latinx dermatologists and sharing resources, opportunities and strategies to help them achieve their goals. We know that physicians from diverse backgrounds are more likely to go back and serve communities that look like them, so we want to work on increasing the numbers of Latinx/Hispanic dermatologists.

DD: What or who inspires you? 

Latinx Dermatologist Directory: Our parents and grandparents who sacrificed so much to provide a good education for us inspire us to want to give back to future generations. Leaders in the field of dermatology advocating for minorities inspire us as well. These include Dr. Susan Taylor, Dr. Rebecca Vasquez, Dr. Alaina James, Dr. Henry Lim and many others. Finally, our fellow Latinx pre-meds, medical students, residents and attending’s stories of perseverance and the avenues they find to celebrate their cultural heritage within their profession inspire us.

DD: What advice would you give to students or residents who are interested in addressing healthcare disparities? 

Latinx Dermatologist Directory: Partner with other students, residents or attendings that share a similar interest. Join organizations like the Latino Medical Student Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the Skin of Color Society, etc. There is strength in numbers and partnering with others makes it easier to accomplish your goals and keep your momentum going. You might also learn a lot and be inspired by other people’s ideas.

DD: How do you pledge to make an impact to improve health equity? 

Latinx Dermatologist Directory: We pledge to continue working towards creating a platform that highlights the strengths of our community and allows us to come together to connect, share ideas, network, mentor others, and more in the hopes of increasing diversity in the field of dermatology. We also hope to conduct original research related to health care disparities in dermatology in order to address issues affecting Latinx health.

This Project IMPACT blog series was created to highlight leaders who are making a positive impact in healthcare by reducing racial bias in medicine.

More in this series:

 

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