Our Commitment to Diversity

Regardless of where you do your residency, you’ll need someone who has your back. That would be me.

Gina Walton, MD
(She/Her/Hers)

VICE PRESIDENT, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION, GRADUATE MEDICAL
EDUCATION ASSOCIATE DESIGNATED INSTITUTIONAL OFFICIAL ATTENDING PHYSIATRIST, PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION

Regardless of where you do your residency, you’ll need someone who has your back. At Sinai Chicago, that person is me — Dr. Gina Walton.

On my journey to becoming a physician — and still today — I’ve often been the only Black person in the room, the only woman in the room, la única que habla español — the only one who speaks Spanish.

This is unfortunately the case for many medical trainees and physicians of color in this country. Yet, people’s lives in our communities literally depend on having more physicians of color treating them. Research shows that when physicians and patients share the same ethnicity, this improves maternal health outcomes during childbirth, management of pain, patient medication adherence, routine health screenings, and many other components of quality healthcare.

Sinai Chicago has looked in the mirror and seen its flaws on diversity — namely having very few Black and Latinx residents and physicians, despite serving a predominantly Black and Latinx community.

Of course, we put out a statement after George Floyd’s murder, just like everyone else. When COVID hit our communities hard, we even held town hall meetings asking to hear the voices of our staff and communities regarding racism and health inequities.

Pero sabemos que no es suficiente — But we know that’s not enough.

It’s time to make meaningful changes that translate into health equity and improved outcomes for our community.

It’s time to save more lives and give new life!

Our vision is to curate Sinai residency programs to be the model for urban residency programs in underserved communities across the United States.

Our goal is to build a residency program that reflects who we are, especially since people of color are disproportionately affected by healthcare disparities. Plus, people of color have been historically excluded from medical training. Only about 5% of physicians in the U.S. are Black and just under 6% are Hispanic, although these groups make up approximately 40% of the U.S. population.

Bottom line: We need to be a bigger medical presence in our communities.

As a Black woman, and a Spanish-speaking physician who has worked in private practice, large academic hospitals, and for the U.S. government, I can sincerely say that Sinai feels more like home than any other place that I have worked.

Sinai’s top hospital leadership is engaged and supportive of this new commitment to our patients and residents. We will recruit, retain, and promote physicians of color and other physicians who have values and experiences that are relatable to the community we treat and care for each day.

To our future residents, here is what Sinai Chicago is committed to:

  • No code-switching. We will assume your brilliance on day one. We will not ask you to neutralize any part of who you are, and we’ll help you become the physician you want to be.
  • We will not shy away from discussing racism. We will not allow another colleague’s discomfort to silence you. If you ever feel dismissed, come to us. We’ve got your back.
  • We will support your journey to becoming a practicing physician as if our people depend on it. Because they do.

¡Nuestras comunidades cuentan con nosotros y nosotros contamos contigo!

Our communities count on us, and we are counting on you!

Gina Walton, MD
(She/Her/Hers)
VP Diversity & Inclusion, Graduate Medical Education
Associate Designated Institutional Official
Attending Physiatrist, PM&R

Learn More About The Sinai Urban Health Institute

Sinai Community Institute (SCI) has a history of developing effective community-based health and social service programs to improve the health and well-being of our community.

Learn More About The Sinai Community Institute

Sinai Urban Health Institute works to achieve health equity among communities through excellence and innovation in data-driven research, interventions, evaluation, and collaboration.

Share Your Thoughts With Us on Our Commitment to Diversity

8 Comments

  1. Amna
    April 26, 2022 at 2:09 am · Reply

    Dr Walton, I just want you to know that I felt every word you wrote to my core. From being black and female and the incredible yet subtle racism it brings, to promising a platform for our voice as females, as women of colour to be heard and not hushed, I’m genuinely moved. I can tell just by reading your statement that you mean every word. Your promise to never neutralise who we are made me realise all the times I would just easily give up on my worth to please a program, thank you for reminding me of my own worth! Sinai is now one of my top choices, solely based on what you wrote. Thank you for your words.

  2. Arzu
    December 11, 2021 at 7:03 pm · Reply

    Dr. Walton, I am not a part of this community yet, but I am really impressed about your vision and dedication. You are inspiring others! Looking forward to joining you!

  3. Addis
    October 17, 2021 at 9:20 pm · Reply

    Dr. Walton- I love the commitment. Great work. Our community will greatly appreciate this.

  4. Linnea
    October 17, 2021 at 3:54 pm · Reply

    Dr. Walton,
    As applicant for the 2022 Cycle, this is everything I needed to hear. The first step is recognizing there is a problem. Actions, will always speak louder than words on a page when addressing DEI. I see the action, hopefully this will be a guiding light to other urban residency programs to take a hard look in the mirror at the diversity they are reflecting. You are really doing amazing work!

    • Jessica
      October 27, 2021 at 11:33 pm · Reply

      I absolutely agree! It is wonderful to see that under represented communities are being spoken for! In professional settings such as medicine, something as “minute” as cultural diversity is often overlooked. But when patients can relate to their physicians, quality of care can go much further. Sharing a common ground can be especially beneficial.

  5. Jeremy
    September 29, 2021 at 11:41 am · Reply

    Love the commitment to DEI I’m seeing at Sinai!

  6. Palacios
    September 23, 2021 at 7:20 am · Reply

    Doctora Walton, es un placer en conocerte! As a current applicant for this 2022 residency cycle, these words are encouraging. DEI is a labor of love, with emphasis on labor. Glad to see the initial steps that will translate into amazing outcomes .

  7. Sabra Luke, MD
    September 20, 2021 at 11:23 am · Reply

    Dr. Walton – you are doing great work! Sinai Chicago’s commitment to diversity and inclusion shows that we are a diverse and inclusive community of passionate people who are working hard to make a difference in the quality of healthcare for our patients… and this work has just begun.

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