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Wilkins appointed to National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee for Unequal Treatment Revisited

Feb. 16, 2023, 10:25 AM

Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI

by Danny Bonvissuto

Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, Senior Vice President and senior associate dean for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence and professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) committee for Unequal Treatment Revisited.

“My entire career has been dedicated to understanding and mitigating health disparities,” Wilkins said. “I’m honored to be appointed to the Unequal Treatment Revisited committee and play a role in recommending interventions to address racial and ethnic health disparities, which have become intractable in the United States.”

The 17-person committee is comprised of national leaders with a range of relevant expertise across medicine, public health and economics.

Their goal is twofold: examine the current state of racial and ethnic health care disparities in the U.S. and provide an update on the NASEM’s last report, which was published in 2003.

“Twenty years after the landmark Institute of Medicine report, “Unequal Treatment,” was published, striking racial and ethnic health disparities continue to be pervasive,” Wilkins said.

“The original report provided evidence-based recommendations for policy, legal, regulatory and health systems interventions to address disparities. The uptake and implementation of these recommendations has varied, which has limited progress toward eliminating health disparities.”

The scope of the committee’s update will cover many topics, including bias in diagnostic tools, public health programs, health plans, clinical training and ways to diversify the work force.

“Those of us at Vanderbilt have had the luxury of Dr. Wilkins’ leadership, wisdom and thoughtfulness,” said Walter Clair, MD, vice chair for Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Medicine. “This is an opportunity for others to directly benefit from her knowledge and commitment.”

Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, Hugh Jackson Morgan Professor of Medicine and chair of the department, said Wilkins is the ideal person to serve on the NASEM committee.

“Her experience as a clinical investigator, as a geriatrician and in her institutional roles in the diversity, inclusivity and health equity space make her unparalleled as a voice for equal treatment in U.S. health care,” she said.

“Knowing that she will lend her insights to this committee absolutely makes me feel better about how the field will address these important issues.”

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