Dr. Preeti Parikh, executive medical director at GoodRx, remembers important lessons from her mother while reminiscing about her journey in healthcare that started at a very young age. “My family is from India, and I came to the U.S. when I was two months old. My mother, for whom English was a second language, worked her way through the medical training system and became a doctor. She not only dealt with the challenges of being an immigrant, but also being a woman in medicine during a time when that was rare.”
She continues, “My mother lost her 3rd-year residency spot after a director found out she was pregnant, and she had to take a year off and apply to another residency program. As she built her practice, I saw firsthand how many people from our South Asian and other immigrant communities sought her out to be their children's pediatrician. She understood their cultural backgrounds, how they viewed health, and treated illness. They trusted my mother and looked to her for advice.”
Dr. Parikh sees parallels between her mother’s challenges to promote health equity decades ago, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) challenges in today’s workplace. Over the past 15 years she has worked in both clinical medicine and in a healthcare media startup where her goal was to empower consumers and address health disparities. According to Dr. Parikh, “One of the ways we have addressed health disparities – in my roles as clinician, entrepreneur, and now as an executive medical director – is by ensuring that the experts and health advocates we collaborate with come from diverse backgrounds and represent different ethnicities, LGBTQ orientation, and gender identity.”
‘Diversity, equity, and inclusion’ is a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures, and sexual orientations. And it’s not just for HR professionals. Many more managers, employees, and contractors in the workplace have become aware of this concept in just the past few years. Combined, DE&I help to create “a place where everyone is welcome, supported, and has the resources they need to grow and thrive regardless of identity, origin, or difference in circumstances.”¹
DE&I programs are an essential contributor to engaged and happy employees. “Organizations with strong DE&I initiatives are more likely to have employees with increased job satisfaction, higher levels of trust,” and more engagement.² And healthcare organizations are starting to use internal DE&I progress to spark improvements in health equity for the customers and communities they serve. “Every conversation that we have in healthcare should be thinking about the equity component, just like we do with quality improvement,” said Dr. J. Nwando Olayiwola, chief health equity officer and senior vice president at Humana, at the ViVE 2022 conference. “If it’s not on your scorecard, it’s probably not a priority for your organization.”³
Dr. Parikh wholeheartedly agrees. “At GoodRx, we create opportunities with our solutions to address healthcare disparities – particularly with patient out-of-pocket costs for medication – to make healthcare accessible to all.” GoodRx is not insurance, however it can be used by people with all types of coverage, including those without insurance. People can and should use a GoodRx discount instead of their health insurance or Medicare if the price is lower. Just keep in mind that patients cannot use GoodRx and insurance at the same time.
“Helping people find better prices, improving access to providers, and increasing consumer health literacy are some of the ways we're serving the needs of all Americans, and vulnerable communities, to get the healthcare they deserve,” Dr. Parikh adds. “It’s part of our mission each day when developing new products to consider DE&I implications and ensure that our values stay top-of-mind.”
Click here to see Dr. Parikh talk about the experiences of her mother and herself as they followed different paths, over different generations, to become physicians.
¹ Julianna Lopez, “What is DEI? Defining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, April 12, 2022. https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/what-is-dei
² Sydney Ly, “The True Value of Bringing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Your Workplace,” 15five.com, accessed September 7, 2022. https://www.15five.com/blog/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/
³ Ryan Peterson, “Health Equity Is a Top Priority for Healthcare Organizations,” HealthTech Magazine, September 6, 2022. https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2022/09/health-equity-top-priority-healthcare-organizations