The Skin of Color Society is a proud collaborator on Project IMPACT, which VisualDx launched on February 24, 2021 at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Annual Education Conference. Designed to reduce disparities in medicine and highlight ways to bridge gaps of knowledge and improve healthcare outcomes for patients of color, Project IMPACT stands for Improving Medicine’s Power to Address Care and Treatment. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Group and the American Academy of Dermatology Association are also collaborators on this groundbreaking initiative.
As SOCS Immediate Past President Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD, FAAD commented in connection with the official rollout, “Dermatologic and systemic diseases present with varying shades of color, erythema, and patterns in patients of color with melanin-rich skin. SOCS has been working to advance healthcare equity, education, research and mentoring since our founding in 2004. We now are honored to collaborate and share the expertise of our members with VisualDx, NEJM Group (and now, the American Academy of Dermatology Association) on this vitally important initiative.”
SOCS leader Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, FAAD serves as Director, Clinical Impact for VisualDx and leads the Project IMPACT initiative. In her words, “Each of us, on an individual level, can make a difference with the patients we see by becoming aware of gaps in our own knowledge and biases that we may have. We can begin to become part of the solution.” Dr. Elbuluk is a featured expert in a short video created by VisualDx about Project IMPACT, along with Jadesola Olayinka, BSc, who serves as a member of the medical student advisory board for VisualDx.
As stated in a news release announcing Project IMPACT, “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. To confront this issue, VisualDx, the Skin of Color Society (SOCS) and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Group organized a webinar series in the fall of 2020 to educate providers on structural racism in medicine, disease patterns in dark skin types, and culturally competent care. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from more than 32,000 registrants from close to 100 countries, VisualDx created Project IMPACT to raise awareness and adoption of educational and clinical resources and solutions that bolster clinicians’ ability to accurately diagnose disease in black and brown skin and improve health equity.”
We are proud to note that several outstanding SOCS leaders were the featured experts in the hugely popular webinar series that spawned Project IMPACT. Titled, “The Impact of Skin Color and Ethnicity on Clinical Diagnosis and Research”, the four-part series addressed structural racism and racial bias in medicine, hair disorders in people of color, pigmentary disorders, keloids, COVID-19 comorbidities, and cutaneous manifestations of systemic diseases in children and adults.
For more information about Project IMPACT, visit: www.visualdx.com/projectimpact