Dr Asiel Adan Sanchez
Dr Asiel Adan Sanchez is a GP with an approach to diversity that is very much grounded in a human-rights framework. They have a quiet determination to change attitudes and breakdown barriers that prevent people from engaging in healthcare systems.
For Asiel, changing our understanding of diversity and inclusion is vital.
Rather than approaching diversity as an “HR and culture” issue, diversity and inclusion need to be an investment from the ground-up.
It involves re-examining process and policy to identify how different communities might be excluded from participating at all levels.
It involves engaging with those communities in a meaningful way that goes beyond simplistic representation or tokenism.
It involves understanding that diversity and inclusion is an ever-evolving process that we must continually work on, rather than a tick-box exercise.
“A thorough approach won’t happen overnight but initiating those conversations and making sure that diversity and inclusion is at the core of key decisions is a great place to start,” Asiel says.
Respect for and acceptance of Diversity and Inclusion can be achieved and everyone and every organisation can benefit. Diversity can help identify some of the blindspots in business objectives. By having more perspectives around the table, there is improvement in problem-solving and innovative approaches to a business’ objectives.
When it comes to applying diversity in healthcare, Asiel believes having a better understanding of diversity, and more importantly the barriers that prevent people from engaging in healthcare systems, means clinicians can provide better care for their patients.
“Diversity in healthcare means that patients who are most marginalised are able to access the healthcare they need. Early on in my medical training, I had the immense privilege or working with great community advocates such as Tony Briffa, Sally Goldners and Associate Professor Ruth McNair. It really changed my understanding of diversity and access to healthcare as a question of human rights more than anything else.”
Patients come from all walks of life. For Asiel, it is one of the joys of working in medicine, particularly as a GP. They are grateful for the opportunity to work with patients across the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as multifaith, culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Embracing diversity and more importantly the barriers that prevent people from engaging in healthcare systems, means clinicians can provide better care for their patients.
So that leaves us with the question, how will this get done? How do we shift attitudes and create change and acceptance?
Outreach, outreach, outreach! No single organisation has all the solutions to achieving “diversity and inclusion”. Being a good ally means using your platforms, networks and resources to reach out to marginalised communities, lifting your voice, continue listening, learning and working towards a mutual understanding.
Learn about Dr Asiel Sanchez and Dr Megan Sharp's MDHS LGBTIQ+ Health: Interdisciplinary and Interprofessional Student Forum project.