As you have seen in my last post I have really enjoyed the conference. Exhilarating is the best way to describe the feeling. But I am a white male in his early 50s. That makes me, statistically, the equivalent of the majority of attendees at the conference. And so I have to call for a second time for an action plan to resolve the lack of minority representation at the Health 2.0 conference!
As long as we do not work all to rectify this situation we will miss the very important voices of the minorities who are helping to make this country the great place it is. If I am not mistaken there was not a single African American, Latino or Asian panelist during the entire conference! I am afraid we are all so ensconced in our comfort zone that we no longer pay attention to the massive silo we are helping to recreate.
So, please, great organizers of this important conference, can we please make sure that we have better minority representation at the next conference? If we want to promote a national transformation of the healthcare system, based at least in part on the transformation of the patient-doctor relationship, from the paternalistic model to a deliberative one, we must make sure we become more inclusive in our work, on a daily basis.
I completely agree. We did not focus enough on this as in past conferences.
At our 2008 Ix Conference (see http://ixcenter.org/events/conference08/index.cfm), we had a whole track on “Ix & Health Disparities,” which had a whole set of sessions on relevant issues. The first day of the conference also had plenary session on “Ix & Health Literacy” and another on what we learned in the Patient-Centered HIT Initiative from observing patients and clinicians in safety-net settings.
In our IxAction Alliance, we have been pushing further down this path as well, and it’s on our agenda for future work.
Hey Giles, there was an Indian, a Frenchman, a Brit an a Jew. Surely good enough?
OK….joking aside, you are quite right AND this is a serious issue both for the conference AND for the Health 2.0 crowd as a whole. In fact Leroy Jones cornered me and started describing the political issue that
We clearly need more female & minority representation…..not something easy to do in the young tech crowd. But your point is completely taken. We’ll be working on this with your and other help.
oops, hit print too sooI mean “In fact Leroy Jones cornered me and started describing the political issue that would result from this issue NOT being addressed in DC”
Very important and relevant post/point, thanks. Aside from racial diversity let’s also not forget social, gender and race issues as well. Without doing so, I am afraid e-patients might be helping to create a form of “e-risk” for all those who can’t become engaged, empowered and so because on relations/constructions of gender, race and class. I think it’s also important to not simply settle for diverse “representation” either. Instead, allow and encourage these voices to actually speak and be heard, rather than be “present”. The e-movements hold too much hope for an responsible and participatory healthcare agenda to make this only done and achieved by an isolated group of individuals….
I agree that the problem is bigger than the conference. It applies to all the health conferences I have attended in the last 13 years, bar a few organized by the NCI or organized specifically to deal with this issue.
But with some help, from Josh, myself (if you want) and others, I am quite confident it can be addressed in time for the next SF Health 2.0 conference.
I think Leroy Jones has a point! But that should not be the main reason to deal head-on with this issue for which we are all equally responsible.
I enjoyed my time @ Health 2.0, but the lack of diversity was apparent. The ideas discussed are things that everyone should be hearing about. I was impressed with all the presenters and conference attendees that I met. Regardless, there are even more voices and ideas that can be added to the mix.
At this point, it is not about who is not there. It all about making sure you get those voices and ideas to the table.
This is no time for finger pointing or blame. There are too many people dying and suffering that can be and will be made better by the efforts of the people working in this industry. I have seen the Health Care System up close and personal . . . when you are sick or ill getting treatment and getting better can never be about who you are.
Feel free to reach out anytime.
PS: You should know the fearless co-founder of Health 2.0, Matt Holt, has opened up a dialoging with me.
Working Together we will make a difference.
All the best,
Leroy Jones, Jr.
About Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.
“E-HEALTH RECORDS” – NEW SHOW /a>
It’s not just the panelists, it’s the attendees who aren’t diverse. Background/class/culture… all play a role. The differences in approach have been made abundantly clear to me. So make the conference(s) affordable and get more people, more diversity? NOT just the panelists!
You can have all the diverse panelists you want, and the message will not get out to their communities. We all need more dialogue on this issue.