In some states, minorities are less likely to visit their eye doctor. Sometimes this is due to discrimination or lack of access. This imbalance is dangerous for the health of the community and there are a few ways ODs can account for it through creating a diverse practice.
Attend any diversity and inclusion seminars and you'll learn about how a workplace thrives through incorporating different perspectives, people of various backgrounds, and thinking beyond the scope of a single group's experience. This is why diversity is important in business and certainly healthcare.
There are a few ways you can create an inclusive and supportive practice. Keep reading to see how.
Creating an Inclusive Optometry Environment
Now, it's difficult to promote a diverse and inclusive practice if your staff isn't inclusive. Make sure that everyone on your staff is offering a unique perspective to their role as well as for the growth of the practice as a whole. When it comes to expansion, you'll be happy to brainstorm ideas with staff who might be from a different generation, live in a different part of town, consume different media, and so on. Diversity also helps patients feel more comfortable, especially if they can connect with someone from a similar background to theirs.
You'll want to make sure that your marketing appeals to patients of all ages, genders, and education levels. Keep true to your practice's mission, but also maybe run your materials by everyone in your practice to make sure it resonates with people of different backgrounds. Another place to open your perspective is patient questionnaires. Are you using language that's inclusive of all genders, disabilities, and family backgrounds? You can also work on making your practice physically accessible for all patients.
Apart from hiring associate ODs with different experiences than yourself, there are a few other things to keep in mind in the exam lane. Not all optometry education covers how different diseases can present for different races. Attend CE courses or research to find more information on diseases that disproportionately affect one race more than another, how certain eye disease presents in different races, and etc. Especially if you serve a diverse group of patients, it's crucial to know what to look out for and keep your patients' background in mind.
Lastly, widen your circle of eyecare professionals to include ODs, technicians, opticians, and managers who are from other parts of the country, serve rural areas, or specialize in something that you are hoping to learn more about.
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