“I am honored to be named alongside my colleagues as one of this year’s National Minority Quality Forum 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health. It has been a challenging year with unexpected health trials and worsening health disparities for our minority communities. I am proud to work alongside these leaders in advocating for our patients through education, research and policy,” says Dr. Suleiman.
“I am incredibly honored. I have admired all the past awardees and drawn significant inspiration from their work in many disciplines to address health disparities,” says Dr. Youmans. “The health and well-being of marginalized communities has been thrust to the forefront due to the COVID-19 pandemic and police violence. I hope that the work that each awardee has done inspires the next generation of thought leaders in this space.”
Dr. Suleiman’s passion for pursuing medicine and her dedication to addressing health disparities was inspired by her childhood experience of watching her tribe in Somalia, with limited experience, knowledge and resources, treat musculoskeletal injuries. She added that she is also inspired by her mother, an anesthesiologist and now a community worker serving immigrant populations in Somalia.
According to Dr. Suleiman, medical professionals can actively address and reduce health and social disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on issues of access and cost.
“In my view, our physical function allows us to work, support our families, and maintain our cardiovascular health and mental well-being. These disparities can be overcome through health literacy, cultural competency, informed consent and shared decision-making,” says Dr. Suleiman.
Dr. Youmans became interested in medicine at an early age, and a belief in equity and justice was instilled in him by his parents. To address health disparities, he says he is most passionate about diversifying the training and physician workforce while ensuring inclusion and promoting community outreach and engagement.
“It is well-established that physicians from underserved backgrounds are more likely to care for patients in underserved communities,” says Dr. Youmans. “Regarding community engagement, outreach alone is not enough: We need to move toward a model where community members are active partners in care delivery so that we better understand the challenges and better address the needs of our communities.”
The National Minority Quality Forum assists healthcare providers, professionals, administrators, investigators, policy-makers, and community and faith-based organizations in delivering appropriate health care to minority communities.
Dr. Suleiman and Dr. Youmans will receive their awards during the 2021 National Minority Quality Forum’s Leadership Summit on Health Disparities and Spring Health Braintrust Virtual Summit, which will be held April 26 – 27.