The Voices Unheard podcast exists to illuminate and amplify the frequently unheard voices of physicians and surgeons in today’s healthcare system. These bimonthly interview discussions are uncharacteristically transparent revealing the lived experiences of under-represented medical doctors who face unthinkable workplace discrimination and harassment related to gender, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, and other intersectional identities and/or ethical values that do not ’fit” into the status quo. In shining a light on these compelling personal stories we hope to fan the flame of sustainable culture change in medicine and surgery in order to transpose a safe, dignified, equitable, and inclusive workplace to future generations.For more information or to access our library of episodes with the associated links, please visit: www.voicesinmedicine.com
Does the Myth of Meritocracy Define Your Professional Worth? with Dr. Imani McElroy and Dr. Nikhil Panda, Episode #013
Dr. Imani McElroy is a general Surgery resident at MGH. Since the last time we spoke with her, she has completed a master’s in public health at Harvard Chan. She plans to spend this academic year working on research projects with a focus on disparities in health care delivery, complex aortic disease, and implementation sciences.
Dr. Nikhil Panda, known as Panda, is a rising 4th year general surgery resident who will be joining the MGH 4+3 cardiothoracic program. Originally from Chattanooga, TN, Panda relocated to Boston for training where he completed an MPH in qualitative methods, and his interests include mobile health technology in surgery. He is a loving husband to his wife and the proud father of his baby girl.
In this episode, we explore the myth that diversity waters down excellence. In contrast to the reverberating claims, equity and social justice converge to produce an exceptional workforce that provides quality care that covers all people. Excluding how the social aspects of someone’s life interplays with their work and health is an injustice to everyone. There is no better way to define excellence than to exemplify those that have overcome the inequities and oppression that has been placed on them. We need to always be the best version of ourselves, and to open the door for the people behind us, to drown out opposing voices. Medicine will remain exclusive of people and perspectives that can take it into new dimensions if pipeline myths are not disbarred, and the people who are responsible for shaping the future promote a narrow definition of excellence. We challenge the next generation of leaders to value inclusivity beyond lip service.
Holistic Healing Through a Life Full of Love and Vulnerability with Dr. Red Hoffman, Episode #012
Red Hoffman is an acute care surgeon in Asheville, North Carolina who is board certified in general surgery, surgical critical care and hospice and palliative medicine. She serves as the surgical clerkship director for the University of North Carolina Asheville campus and also works as an associate hospice medical director for CarePartners Hospice. She is a writer whose work has been featured in JAMA, General Surgery News, KevinMD and Doximity. She is the creator and host of the Surgical Palliative Care Podcast and the co-founder of the recently formed Surgical Palliative Care Society.
In this episode we discuss the unfortunate death of her father by a Islamic fundamentalist when she was 19 years old and how this pivotal event and grief journey shaped her. She has a disposition where she sees the glass as half full and did not turn to anger. She somaticized her grief and a naturopath helped in her healing process. Through processing her emotions she became interested in mental and physical health, which eventually lead her to trauma/critical care and eventually to hospice and palliative medicine. Then, her long term partner fell off a ladder and had a traumatic brain injury which made her question everything she knew. Unlike sudden death, this ongoing process of suffering has pushed her limits of resiliency. Her openness and candidness will engage you in her journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. You will not want to miss this heart felt episode.
How Would Failing Forward Catapult the Impenetrable Forcefields of JEDI? with Dr. Darilyn Moyer, Episode #011
Dr. Darilyn Moyer is a board-certified Internist and Infectious Disease specialist who has been a FACP since 2007. She has served on the Board of Regents, chaired American College of Physicians’ (ACP) Board of Governors and served as Governor of ACP’s Pennyslvania SE Chapter. Dr. Moyer’s research & scholarly activities are in the areas of medical education, high value care, patient safety, and professionalism. In 2016, Dr. Moyer was the first woman to serve as the ACP Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the 101-year history of the organization. She is one of three women physician CEOs in about 48 national physician professional society.
In this episode, we discuss her various leadership roles and how she is using her position to connect with women and men to forward JEDI (Just, Equitable, Diverse, Inclusive) and anti-racist environments in healthcare. The ACP has a center for Ethics and Professionalism that seeks to advance physician and public understanding of ethics and professionalism issues in the practice of medicine to enhance patient care by promoting the highest ethical standards. She accesses these resources to ensure that decisions regarding JEDI are grounded in evidence.
The goal is not merely to have one person that represents the diversity of the rank and file of the organization at that table, nor to meet the metrics of diversity by obtaining the right number of women, age-appropriate members, or persons of color. But rather, overall outcomes will improve when well-qualified leadership is diversified, thus adding value, expertise, and alternative perspective. Key leaders need to understand the importance of disrupting systems that have been in place for centuries by inviting energetic folks to the front lines to help bring about these necessary changes.
Has a Whisper Campaign Determined That You Are "Not A Good Fit?" with Dr. Michaela West, Episode #010
Dr. Michaela West MD, PhD is a board certified general and critical care surgeon and is a fellow of the ACS and College of Critical Care Medicine. She currently is the Trauma Research Chair at North Memorial Health Care, a Level 1 trauma center in Minneapolis, MN, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota. She holds the distinction of Emeritus Professor at UCSF and is a founding member of Times Up Healthcare.
In this episode, we discuss the challenges between diversity in numbers and true inclusivity in surgery and medicine and why inclusivity is essential to attract the best and brightest applicants into the healthcare workforce. We postulate reenvisioning what a surgeon is and how to extend inclusivity to marginalized groups where opportunities are withheld. We expose the weaponization of quality improvement and patient safety initiatives and how whisper campaigns are used to poison the water and reinforce a false narrative against those who make efforts toward true inclusivity. Additionally, Dr. West delves into recent controversies involving Times Up Healthcare. Grab a cup of coffee and take notes as we unpack these key conversations.
Five Empowering Tools to Combat Gaslighting and Create a Competitive Advantage Against Inequity with Dr. Anushri Anandaraja and Dr. Stella Safo, Episode #009
Dr. Natasha Anushri Anandaraja was born in New Zealand where she earned her medical degree. She worked with international NGOs on child health and disaster relief before coming to New York City in 2002, where she trained in Pediatrics, Global Health and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She was the Director of Global Health Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai from 2008 until 2015, and then the Director of the Office of Wellbeing and Resilience at Mount Sinai from 2018 until October 2020.
Dr. Stella Safo is a HIV primary care physician with experience in clinical transformation and healthcare redesign at Mount Sinai Health System and Premier Inc, where she respectively serves as an Assistant Professor and Strategic Advisor. Dr. Safo received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a public health masters with a focus on global health at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she served as a Zuckerman fellow with the Harvard Center for Public Leadership. Dr. Safo completed a residency in Primary Care and Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, followed by an HIV fellowship from the HIV Medicine Association.
In this packed episode Dr’s Anadaraja and Safo discuss gaslighting and holding institutions accountable with a transparency that is not readily accessible in a healthcare system entrenched with aggressive leadership bullying and silencing. They set a precedent that these types of behaviors should not be tolerated because they are driving black and brown women out of medicine at high rates. They speak up so others will be encouraged knowing that they are not alone and strengthened in their battles against inequity through collective a voice. They do not want you to let your experiences make you small but rather use your voice during your experience and grow from it. This insightful conversation normalizes your experience and equips you with five powerful tools to use as you combat inequity in healthcare.
What Can You Learn From an Accomplished Black Surgical Trainee? with Dr. Imani McElroy, Episode #008
Imani McElroy is a general surgery resident at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is in the first two years of the research component of her residency, during which she’s completing an MPH and doing outcomes research in trauma and vascular surgery. She plans to pursue specialized training in Vascular Surgery and ultimately return home to California to care for underserved communities. In this episode, Dr. McElroy discusses why only 0.79% of academic surgeons are black women, as well as the barriers that contribute to this astounding statistic. This paucity of black women surgical trainees cannot be explained by a lack of black women applicants. We also explore the scarcity of high quality mentorship and the contributions inequities play. She defines the "glass cliff" and explains why black women and minorities are leaving academia in high numbers. We discuss the minority tax that women in medicine are bearing and the potential solutions to overcoming these barriers. Her insightfulness will cause you to deeply ponder the interactions you have had in the workplace and the subtle implications which may communicate a deeper truth. You won't want to miss this engaging conversation.
The podcast we all need to navigate health care’s tough terrain of inequity. Pringl and her team have done an amazing job.
Giving a Voice to the Unheard
This podcast brings pertinent issues within medicine back to the forefront and has hearty discussions that have the potential to shift our practice paradigms.
Women helping women
This is the podcast you have been looking for if you believe in equality. No one should be limited because of their gender or life choices. This podcast is a piece of the puzzle that I certainly hadn’t heard yet. Are women still being held back in their careers because they are mothers? Yes! Yes they are! Listen to these stories and then listen to your colleagues. Women need to help women.