The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has announced the appointment of Ranna Parekh as its first director of diversity and inclusion. Parekh will work with the ACC Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and other societies and organisations to lead and expand initiatives to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within the field of cardiovascular disease, for a fully inclusive organisation and profession.
In a press release, Parekh said: “Given the rapidly changing demographics in the United States, ensuring health equity will be even more critical in the upcoming years. I am deeply committed to principles of inclusion, cross cultural understanding and community involvement and am honoured to be able to work with the ACC’s members in using the College’s diversity and inclusion principles to realize ACC’s vision of ‘a world where innovation and knowledge optimise cardiovascular care and outcomes’ for all.”
The Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion was established in 2016 to address the low percentages of women entering the cardiovascular workforce, recognising that diversity is not just an issue for cardiologists but also for quality patient care. The initiative has expanded to harness the power of the diversity of ACC’s members to advance patient care, spur innovation and improve health equity among individual patients and populations through a five-year diversity and inclusion strategic plan.
Parekh will take up her position at the end of July. She will use her expertise and experiences to identify and explore barriers to entry into the field of cardiology, develop diversity and inclusion related educational services and projects, and lead and coordinate the diversity and inclusion efforts of both staff and members across the College.
Parekh has more than 10 years of experience leading diversity initiatives to build awareness, increase access, and address and mitigate disparities, and almost 20 years of experience practising child, adolescent and adult psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital. Parekh was deputy medical director, director of diversity and health equity and director of minority fellowship programs at the American Psychiatric Association from January 2015. She has also held the position of assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the center for diversity at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She is the co-author of Overcoming prejudice in the workplace, an e-book that provides tips to help readers understand and respond to insults at work and in their private lives, and editor of several textbooks on diversity in medicine and health.