AS LONG AS diversity in medicine is only available in small doses, I will be a feminist.
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, the Medical University Hospital Innsbruck covered its facade with an AS LONG AS net. The phrase diversity has been a hot topic in public discourse for quite some time, even though many people may not be aware how wide and deep the issue truly goes. Particularly in medicine, which is a highly complex field in itself, diversity is in need of much more attention.
Diversity in medicine goes beyond deconstructing a binary gender system, it is just as much about including different ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. If medical research paid more attention to these aspects, we would come closer to the ideal of giving every person the individual medical treatment they need. Unfortunately, we still have a very long way to go.
Diversity in the medical field is still only available in small doses, which mostly affects the lives of women, LGBTQ* communities and people of colour. White, Western men are still considered the prototypical patient in both research and treatment. This leads to un- or misdiagnosed illnesses, wrong drug dosages and treatments as well as higher death rates. We are all different and the field of medicine needs to include our diversity.
Medical students need to learn about gender and diversity in medicine right from the start. It shouldn’t be a subject for the few students already interested but must become a mandatory part of every curriculum. A university clinic is a place of research and treatment where hundreds of doctors, nurses, other medical personnel and patients come every day. They all can see our AS LONG AS net calling for a higher dose of diversity in medicine.
In 2020, the Medical University’s diversity management had once again received one of the main prizes in the “Diversitas” competition organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. This award helped fund the highly visible As LONG AS net.
Come join us in spreading equality!
Medizinische Universitätsklinik Innsbruck, Gender Medicine & Diversity Unit
Univ.-Prof.in Dr.in Margarethe HOCHLEITNER, Direktorin des Frauengesundheitszentrums an den Universitätskliniken Innsbruck und Leiterin der Koordinationsstelle für Gleichstellung, Frauenförderung und Diversität an der Medizinischen Universität Innsbruck
Rektor der Universitätskliniken Innsbruck Wolfgang Fleischhacker
© photo credits: WESTFotostudio