Being a woman in medicine has its unique challenges. These challenges are exacerbated by being a member of a minority group with a strong, Spanish accent.
I am originally from Venezuela. Both of my parents and grandparents are physicians, so being a physician has always been what I wanted. Due to the political instability in Venezuela, I left at the age of 17 and moved to the Dominican Republic, where I also completed medical school. I grew up hearing my mother’s stories about discrimination and bias, but it wasn’t until I started my own journey in medicine that I experienced it myself.
During my residency training, my medical knowledge was frequently questioned because of my accent or my ethnic background. It did not really matter that I graduated first in my medical school class or excelled in the USMLE exams, prejudice followed me. When I started fellowship training, I initially thought that moving to a more diverse program would help me feel more included, but the same stereotypes shadowed me. Despite the hardships, I found that the best way to improve how stereotypes affect minority women in medicine, was to embrace it myself.
In the past year, we have mentored many Latinx in medicine and are developing a mentorship program designed for underrepresented groups in medicine. Everyone is fighting a battle we do not have any idea about. No one should feel like they do not belong, independently of their race, ethnicity, sex, religion, or sexual orientation. Diversity drives excellence, and I am proud to be a Latina woman in medicine.
Narjust Duma, MD
Chief Hematology/Medical Oncology Fellow
Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Mayo Fellows Association
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Dr. Duma is a guest blogger for InCrowd this month. This is a part of a series of women in medicine sharing their experiences in the medical field. Check our blog for upcoming pieces and you can find our previous pieces here:
First in a Series : What Does It Mean to be a Woman in Medicine?
Second in a Series: No Child Left Behind
Third in a Series : Sexism and Saving Lives
Fourth in a Series : Lipstick and Life Lessons
Fifth in a Series : “And..How Old Are You?”
Sixth in a Series: The Non-Medical Profession That Completely Changed How I Practice Medicine
Seventh in a Series : Mentorship in Medicine is Essential
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