On health equity in the physician-scientist workforce

Sherita Hill Golden, MD, MHS
Dr. Golden

The US Supreme Court’s recent decision to eliminate affirmative action in college admissions has begun a process of dismantling decades of progress toward creating a more equitable society. The long-term effects of these decisions will be a country that’s more polarized and more divided, and at the same time less healthy. Attracting diverse candidates to the physician-scientist workforce and ensuring their career longevity will become even harder. In turn, science and medicine that does not represent the perspectives, expertise, and creativity of our diverse population won’t as readily identify health and health-care disparities or develop innovative solutions to achieve health equity.

The jeopardy to those who are minoritized or marginalized is real. It’s a sad moment in which we find ourselves: although legal precedent — while diminished — would suggest continued equitable access and consideration, those who have been systematically disenfranchised face increased obstacles in light of the rulings.

We must all continue to advocate for justice and speak up for equity in whatever sphere we find ourselves. As the 2023–2025 Chair of the ASCI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC), I’m proud of the many initiatives we’ve seen through since the Committee’s creation in October 2020. I’ll continue to work with our enthusiastic Committee members and the ASCI Council to ensure that the Society is truly representative.

Expanding on the ASCI’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, I’m pleased to announce the ASCI’s Postbac Program. Ben Humphreys, the ASCI’s 2023–2024 President, conceived the program, and the ASCI Council enthusiastically approved initial funds to ensure its success while we seek philanthropic support to expand the initiative.

The program provides an intensive two-year mentored laboratory research experience for students that will expose them to the physician-scientist career path, strengthen their applications to MD or MD/PhD programs, and enhance their career development. We have opened submissions for member host labs (see below) and in mid-September will call for applications to the program. We look forward to your engagement in this important effort.

Sherita Hill Golden, MD, MHS
On behalf of the DEIC and the ASCI Council

Call for host lab submissions

As part of the ASCI’s new Postbac Program, the ASCI is pleased to call for submissions from Society members who are interested in their labs serving as hosts for Program finalists for 2024–2026. Any member can provide a submission, provided dues are current (if applicable). The deadline for submissions is September 29, 2023, 11:59 pm Eastern.