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Welcoming Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Jessica Hippolyte

“I remember coming to Children’s National Hospital and thinking that not only would I have a really wonderful clinical experience, but that staff were interested in learning about me and my passions. They gave me insight into what life could be like for me here as a resident. I knew that this was where I needed to be.”

Dr. Jessica Hippolyte, pediatric emergency medicine fellow and former chief resident, chose Children’s National to launch her medical career because it’s a world-class hospital. She also selected it because of hospital leadership’s decision to focus on diversity and inclusion in hiring trainees as well as faculty.

In 2015, Children’s National started the Advancing Diversity in Academic Pediatrics program. In addition to clinical work, the program includes mentoring, networking and special sessions to prepare future pediatric residents from underrepresented backgrounds to meet their career goals. When the program began, there was 12 percent diversity represented in the incoming resident class. In 2021, it’s 51 percent diverse — more than three times the national average within medical residency programs.

Patients see the difference. “I can think of encounters in the last few weeks — even last night — while working in the emergency department, where I saw the patient and family’s eyes light up when I entered the space and there was an immediate connection. It was clear they were excited about having a Black physician take care of them,” says Dr. Hippolyte.

Recent studies by Stanford University, UCLA and University of Pennsylvania, to name a few, show that patients tend to have better outcomes when they receive care from providers who look like them. The commonality establishes trust and rapport. Providers of color make up 44 percent of Children’s National staff. Dr. Hippolyte imagines a day when medical staff everywhere more fully mirror the diverse patients they serve.