OPDA Condemns Racism and Discrimination

February 22, 2021

We have experienced a year when a bright light shone on the structural racism and white privilege prevalent since the founding of our country.  We have borne witness to immeasurable loss and preventable death, from physical violence and from the outsized toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color.

Oppression, as the end product of discrimination and social power, may not always be overtly lethal, but its pernicious effects cause the loss of livelihood, opportunity, and well-being.  We see this oppression in all our institutions, including academic medicine.  And seeing leads to exposing, to examining, to holding those responsible accountable, and to demanding change.  Prejudice and racism are anathemas to those whose calling is to heal.

The Organization of Program Director Associations (OPDA), a convened group of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), is dedicated to promoting the role of residency and fellowship program directors and program director societies in achieving excellence in graduate medical education (GME).  Promoting the role of program director means promoting all program directors. OPDA stands strongly in support of our colleagues in residency and fellowship leadership who are of diverse backgrounds, especially those from groups historically marginalized in our country.  We condemn racism and discrimination, and challenge training programs and healthcare systems to evaluate their educational frameworks, policies and hierarchy in order to improve equity for all.

OPDA is unique in its position of supporting GME across the house of medicine.  We are reaching out to all program directors who are underrepresented in medicine, to better understand how OPDA as an organization can best take action and serve as an effective advocate. We appreciate the support of CMSS in this endeavor.

As physicians, our north star is the public good: providing high quality patient centered care, eliminating health disparities and structural racism, and furthering social justice.  Ensuring a safe, equitable and positive environment for our patients, learners, as well as our educators, is integral to our success.  

Elise Lovell, MD  
Chair, OPDA

Deborah Spitz, MD
Vice Chair, OPDA

Daniel Dent, MD
Executive Committee, OPDA

Julie McCausland, MD
Executive Committee, OPDA

David Wininger, MD
Executive Committee, OPDA

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