Black History Month: Diversity in health care and disparities in the COVID-19 vaccine
SALISBURY, Md. – For the Black History Month 47 ABC had the chance to speak with a Salisbury doctor about the lack of diversity in health care and how that may be playing a role in the disparities among African-Americans and coronavirus vaccine.
On Wednesday, 47 ABC sat down with Dr. Danelle Giddins, Medical Director of Primary Care at Tidal Health Peninsula Regional, to discuss why there is not a high population of African-Americans choosing to enter the field of medicine.
In response to that, Dr. Giddins, a doctor of 19 years, says she always had a passion to help people which led her to medicine, but the lack of diversity she attributes to two things: most people not seeing people of color in health care at a young age which hinders them from striving toward that field and seeing the way African-Americans have been historically treated by healthcare workers.
That same reason, she says, extends to adulthood now where most are not seeing African-Americans get the vaccine, and African-Americans made up only 11% in the trial phase so that may sound scary to patients, but Dr. Giddins has a response to that.
“Given that I think we are maybe about 13% of the general population it seems pretty on par that they did make an effort to include African- Americans in the study,” Giddins said.
She adds that as far as diversity goes, she encourages more people of color to enter the field because that is when we can change the course of history people of color will see more who look like them.
“I think diversity is important because our world is diverse, our communities are diverse in lots of different ways, not just in race,” says Giddens. “So I think having equal representation in health care helps our patients actually have better outcomes because we can relate to them, we can support them perhaps in different ways and we can provide compassion and empathy.”
Dr. Giddins says in spite of the lack of diversity in the health care field, she wants people of color to know the vaccine is safe and she recommends it. She also says for those people of color who are debating if the health care field is for them, it is a very rewarding job and do not let anyone stand in between you and your dreams.