Building a more inclusive medical network by affirming identities

Introducing Doximity's new name pronunciation feature

Feb 23, 2023 · Geetika Baghel, MD · Félix Manuel Chinea, MD

Fostering an equitable and inclusive practice environment is crucial to addressing physician burnout and providing the best possible care to patients. Despite recent advancements in U.S. medical school diversity, 84% of physicians of color have reported experiencing racism and microaggressions in the workplace which can have a positive correlation with burnout in later career stages. So how can digital health innovators design tools that better support physicians? At Doximity, we’re working to ensure our network is an inclusive space for millions of U.S. medical professionals to connect and be productive.

Why names matter

Part of fostering an inclusive network requires promoting respect and trust amongst our members. And what better way to show you respect someone than to pronounce their name correctly? Names are a central part of our identity, representing who we are and where we come from. Our names carry generations of our culture, legacy, and tradition. Incorrect name pronunciation, even when unintentional, can be a microaggression and a source of stress. It can also have a tangible effect on career progression, often pressuring candidates to assimilate or anglicize a core part of their identity. Given the weight names carry in building trust and relationships, they can be one of the earliest opportunities for inclusion.

Creating affirming and respectful spaces

Over the last year, our Profiles team has made investments in product inclusion through features that allow our clinician members to add the phonetic spelling or recorded pronunciation of their name, as well as their personal pronouns, to their profiles. When colleagues visit the profiles of our clinician members, they will be able to read or listen to the correct pronunciation of their names and avoid potentially misgendering them in written or oral conversation. These features are designed to promote a more affirming and respectful space for our clinician members as they use our tools to connect with colleagues.

By supporting healthcare professionals in correctly pronouncing each others’ names and affirming their gender identity, our features can help promote trust between clinicians and care teams, and most importantly, patients.

“Professional resumes and curriculum vitaes (CVs) have not historically made space for information that shares and affirms personal identities. Large network sites like Doximity can help normalize this culture change by providing it as a default option on our clinician member’s online CV.”

Continuing our growth

Doximity is focused on making our network more inclusive and offering tools that make our clinician members’ lives easier as they build trust with and care for diverse patients. While features supporting correct name pronunciation and affirming gender identity through shared pronouns are an important step, we understand that this only scratches the surface of the work ahead. As the leading digital platform for U.S. medical professionals, we are committed to centering and amplifying historically marginalized voices, so we can best serve our clinician members and society.

Illustration by April Brust

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