Photo by Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash

The Diversity in Health Care and Human Services II symposium held at the Trustees Pavilion of Ramapo College of New Jersey was attended by more than 300 students and faculty members.

The panel discussion titled Economic Advantage of a Diversity Approach in Health Care and Human Services featured Horizon BCBSNJ chief diversity officer Alison Banks-Moore, Anti-Poverty Network of NJ director of operations Quincy Bloxom and Rutgers University management professor Oscar Holmes.

Holmes shared her firsthand experience in witnessing disparities in the healthcare system. She noticed the differences in the way the hospital staff treated her and her mother who was an older black woman. Hospitals have made progress in improving the diversity of their workforce, but Holmes believes that more diverse physicians and nurses should be hired so that people of color can be given adequate healthcare treatment.

Dorothy Roberts, a professor of African Studies and Director of the Program on Race, Science and Society at the University of Pennsylvania, delivered the keynote address titled “Race, Medicine and Justice.” She argued that healthcare inequities that have permeated the field of science date back to the invention of racism. She said medical assumptions based on a patient’s race can negatively affect doctors’ diagnoses of people of color.