Come together, right now: Why diversity matters

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 60, No. 9, November 2018, Page 427 President's Comment

We don’t have an aging health care system as much as we have an outdated collection of silos where excellent work is done, but rarely connected or scaled.

Dr Eric Cadesky
Dr Eric Cadesky

We don’t have an aging health care system as much as we have an outdated collection of silos where excellent work is done, but rarely connected or scaled.

In my previous President’s Comment [BCMJ 2018;60:389], I reviewed the challenges we face in improving health care. We need solutions that are innovative, fair, and inclusive. That is why we need diversity—now.

Aside from the intrinsic benefits derived from including others, there is evidence that diversity is our best chance of achieving needed health care reform. Studies have shown that diverse teams are more creative,[1-4] achieve better results,[5-7] act more ethically,[8] and promote more social responsibility.[9-10]

Slowly, through medical school admissions and licensing processes, we as a profession are better reflecting society. Working toward diversity intentionally ensures that our leadership will as well. This is about more than gender, ethnicity, demographics, abilities, health, family situation, and sexual orientation—this is about experiences and attitudes. This is about respecting those who think differently because they have lived through different times, places, and experiences. This is about trying to move barriers so that we include everyone who wants to participate.

Like health care itself, diversity is complex and evolving. Learning from the initiatives of other organizations, Doctors of BC will soon embark on consultation to support greater diversity in our governance structures, including committees, the Representative Assembly, and the Board.

How do we make this happen? We can’t find solutions unless we understand the problems. Our consultation will focus on understanding the barriers that are keeping us from being diverse and inclusive within our leadership structures.

Improving diversity will only be successful if everyone feels a sense of belonging and is part of the process. Watch for information about these consultations in newsletters, on the Doctors of BC website, and through social media.

This will be neither easy nor comfortable, but it is worthy. We must look at ourselves and each other without judgment, united in our common vision of a medical association where all members feel safe to be themselves, choose to participate how they want, and know they belong.

We have many challenges ahead and to meet them we need every voice, every idea, and every person. If “diversity is an action, inclusivity is a culture, and belonging is a feeling,”[5] then Doctors of BC is committed to model our motto and show that we are Better. Together.
—Eric Cadesky, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP
Doctors of BC President


1.    Higgs M, Plewnia U, Ploch J. Influence of team composition and task complexity on team performance. Team Performance Management 2005;11:227-250.

2.    Ka-yee Leung A, Maddux WW, Galinsky AD, Chiu C. Multicultural experience enhances creativity: The when and how. Am Psychol 2008:63:169-181.

3.    Miller T, del Carmen Triana M. Demographic diversity in the boardroom: Mediators of the board diversity–firm performance relationship. J Management Studies 2009;46:755-786.

4.    Dezsö CL, Gaddis Ross D. Does female representation in top management improve firm performance? A panel data investigation. Strategic Management J 2012;9:1072-1089.

5.    Zalis S. The truth about diversity—and why it matters. Accessed 3 September 2018.

6.    Avery DR, McKay PF, Tonidandel SD, et al. Is there method to the madness? Examining how racioethnic matching influences retail store productivity. Personnel Psychol 2012;65:167-199.

7.    Woolley AW, Chabris CF, Pentland A, et al. Evidence for a collective intelligence factor in the performance of human groups. Science 2010;330:686-688.

8.    Cumming DJ, Yan Leung T, Rui OM. Gender diversity and securities fraud. Soc Sci Res Network. Working Paper Series 2012;58:1572-1593.

9.    Soares R, Marquis C, Lee M. Gender and corporate social responsibility: It’s a matter of sustainability. Accessed 5 October 2018. Catalyst 2011.

10.    Bear S, Rahman N, Post C. The impact of board diversity and gender composition on corporate social responsibility and firm reputation. J Business Ethics 2010;97:207-221.

Eric Cadesky, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP. Come together, right now: Why diversity matters. BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 9, November, 2018, Page(s) 427 - President's Comment.

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