Black women physicians comprise a small proportion of the academic medical leadership workforce; In 2020, they made up 2.3 percent of US medical school faculty, an increase of only 1.4% from 1990 when they made up less than 1% of medical school faculty. Moreover, the largest proportion of all self-identified Black faculty are at the Assistant Professor rank.
Bennett CL, Ling AY. Proportions of Faculty Self-identifying as Black or African American at US Medical Schools, 1990-2020. JAMA. 2021;326(7):671–672. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.10245 https://pubmed.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/34402840/
Research studies have consistently shown that patient-provider racial and gender concordance leads to better patient health outcomes. A Black woman patient receiving care from a Black woman doctor has more trust, better communication, and shared medical decision-making.
In addition, Black women physicians like other racial and ethnic minority physicians, are
more likely to practice primary care and serve in underserved communities than their white counterparts.
Obstacles faced by Black women physicians are unique because of their dual identities as both Black and women, making initiatives focused only on gender diversity and inclusion insufficient for addressing these interpersonal and institutional dynamics.
Diva Docs Boston is an organization composed of over 250 Black women physicians and trainees (medical students, residents, and fellows) working, studying or living in Greater Boston. Our members are represented in every medical speciality and work in a variety of health and non-health care settings.
Diva Docs Boston is part of the Diva Docs Black Women MD Network, Inc. a national professional digital networking platform that creates and promotes sponsorship opportunities for Black women doctors so that they can advance and thrive in their careers. Founded by Dr. Philomena Asante in December 2021, the Diva Docs Black Women MD Network, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status incorporated non-profit organization that provides a safe space for Black women doctors to connect with each other and to an extensive, diverse network of sponsors, supporters, allies, disrupters, and social justice accomplices. As a collaborative community we engage, educate, empower and above all, elevate Black women physicians. We unapologetically amplify Black women in medicine worldwide.
Philomena Asante, MD, MPH
Dr. Philomena Asante is a pediatrician, public health leader, and school/college health expert passionate about creating a diverse healthcare leadership workforce. She leads Diva Docs Boston, is the founder of the Black Women MD Network, and the executive director of the Diva Docs Black Women MD Network Inc., NFP. Dr. Asante is also the creator of the Diva Docs series of health columns highlighting the important perspectives of Black women physicians on health disparities in Coverage--the not-for-profit public health news website of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA).
Dr. Asante received her bachelor’s degree in French language and literature with high honors from Harvard College, her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and her master of public health degree in international health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed two post-doctoral fellowships in general academic pediatrics and health services research at Boston Children’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
Although Dr. Asante has worked in a variety of primary care, urgent care, academic/research, and hospitalist settings,in recent years her career path has focused on the intersection of health and education: From 2014-2018, Dr. Asante served as the director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health at the Boston Public Health Commission, where she oversaw a city-wide program that operated seven school-based primary health care centers in Boston public high schools in collaboration with Boston Medical Center. From 2018-2020, Dr. Asante was the medical director at Northeastern University Health and Counseling Services. Currently, Dr. Asante is a staff physician at Boston University Student Health Services where she provides direct clinical care to Boston University students, while pursuing her Social Impact MBA degree at Boston University's Questrom School of Business.
Dr. Asante is a founding member of PROWD (Promoting and Respecting Our Women Doctors), a national organization of gender- equity researchers who collaborate with each other on a volunteer basis to support the healthcare workforce. She is the Vice-Chair of the Women Physicians Section Governing Council at the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), and a member of the MMS Committee on Diversity in Medicine. She has also served as the deputy chair of the Alumni Engagement Committee at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.
In her spare time, Dr. Asante enjoys spending time with her family, taking long walks along the ocean, breathing new life into old pieces of furniture, and growing colorful, fragrant flowers in her English cottage style garden.