VisualDx’s Project IMPACT Addresses Racism and Implicit Bias in Medicine
April 21, 2021
Project IMPACT (IMPACT stands for Improving Medicine’s Power to Address Care and Treatment) is a global effort to reduce disparities in medicine and highlight ways to bridge gaps of knowledge and improve healthcare outcomes for patients of color. NEJM Group is collaborating with the Skin of Color Society (SOCS) and VisualDx to highlight information gaps and knowledge resource solutions designed to improve diagnosis and care for patients of color.
Dark skin is significantly underrepresented in medical literature and curricula, comprising an average of just 4.5% of images in medical textbooks. Consequently, clinicians of all licensures and specialties are often insufficiently trained to recognize disease patterns in patients of color.
“Lack of sufficient medical education on darker skin has had direct implications on health disparities in patients of color,” said Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and Director of Clinical Impact at VisualDx. “Project IMPACT was created with the understanding that a far-reaching, collaborative effort is needed to eliminate systemic racism in healthcare. I’m honored to lead this charge and help build a global community dedicated to transforming medicine for the good of all patients.”
Recognizing how diseases present on all skin types is key in reducing diagnostic error and improving patient care. For more than 20 years VisualDx (www.visualdx.com/diversity) has worked with board-certified physicians across the globe to collect hundreds of thousands of professional medical images displaying the full spectrum of disease presentations across skin types. Project IMPACT includes a gallery of images comparing disease presentation in different skin colors.
To further honor its commitment to reducing healthcare bias in the skin of color through education, information, and shared resources, Project IMPACT has created a free, comprehensive resource library comprised of articles and books on healthcare disparities, dermatological conditions in people of color, as well as resources for professionals and consumers.
Take the Pledge and Join the #ProjectIMPACT Community
Improving health equity is a goal that will take a collaborative and dedicated effort. There are many ways to be part of #ProjectIMPACT and help make a difference. Students, educators, clinicians, librarians, and patients working toward greater health equity are encouraged to take the pledge to make an impact and to share their stories on social media using the hashtag #ProjectIMPACT.
To learn more and join Project IMPACT, visit projectimpact.org.