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Voices of DEI: Lisa Suter, MD

March 14, 2023
by Amy Anderson

Introducing Lisa Suter, MD, of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.

What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you personally?

To me, equity is a fundamental aspect of high-quality healthcare (as others have noted, there is no quality without equity and no equity without quality). I have devoted most of my academic medical career to quality measurement. Therefore, equity and the elimination of healthcare disparities are a central focus for me in the second half of my career. Also, as a woman who has experienced gender bias but also as a white, upper middle-class person who has experienced privilege and directly benefited from sponsorship in my career, I feel a deep personal commitment to ‘pay forward’ the best parts of my experience and knowledge; to apply continuous improvement principles not only to my patient care but also to my interactions with my peers and co-workers; and to help Yale be the best learning environment and medical center for all people it can possibly be.

Why do you value diversity?

It is way more fun and interesting, not to mention a diversity of experiences, skills, and perspectives enables higher quality work and better solutions. And diversity can produce these benefits more efficiently due to the early involvement of different perspectives, compared to work accomplished without diverse input.

Why should an academic setting be equal and inclusive?

Yale is not just any academic setting. It is an international leader in clinical care, research, and education. We cannot maintain or advance our position without also ensuring equity and inclusiveness for all our faculty, staff, trainees, and patients.

Why are you on the diversity committee?

I asked to be the inaugural DEI Vice Chief for Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology because I feel it is my responsibility as a senior faculty to invest my time, experience, knowledge, and influence to advance DEI work at Yale. That said, I am also excited to pass the baton to our next RAI Vice Chief of DEI in the future. This kind of position benefits from new energy and diverse viewpoints and lived experience, so I see my tenure in this role as finite.

What do you look forward to most?

I am excited to witness the fruits of the investment YSM has made to promote DEI initiatives and to hear the full spectrum of voices, perspectives, and experiences at Yale. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Yale, reflecting this rich and inclusive vision.

What have you noticed in the department?

Discussions of DEI-related topics seem to pop up everywhere now – in Grand Rounds, on the wards, in classrooms, committee meetings, and labs. The energy generated by people invested in DEI initiatives is palpable and I am thrilled to see our department take a leadership role in creatively advance this vital work within YSM.

The Department of Internal Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Internal Medicine knows that diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to our mission; that providing a safe, welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds results in beneficial diversity of thought; and believes that having a diverse team enhances our ability to provide excellent clinical care, research, and medical education.

Submitted by Amy Anderson on March 14, 2023