Gabrielle Horstman, MD/PhD
This month we would like to highlight one of the new programs launched this year by the Inclusion in Neurocritical Care (INCC) Committee– The INCC Virtual Book Club! This program was created in response to multiple requests from members like you during the 2020 Annual meeting. Fully embracing the virtual nature of the meeting, the idea for a book club stemmed from a very active chat discussion during the Women In Neurocritical Care (WINCC) keynote address given by Dr. Chere Chase-Gregory where she illustrated her personal struggles and successes on her rise as Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer of Novant Health.
The goal of the INCC Virtual Book Club is to both raise awareness and facilitate discussion amongst members on various aspects of core attributes of the Neurocritical Care Society: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We strive to provide a safe and welcoming environment for honest discussion and reflection of relevant yet often difficult topics. Our first selections explored female gender bias in leadership as well as an examination of racism in the US.
On the heels of Dr. Chase-Gregory’s keynote, we first examined the struggles faced by women in leadership with Between Grit and Grace: The Art of Being Feminine and Formidable by Dr. Sasha Shillcutt. Using examples from all professions – not just medicine – Dr. Shillcutt illustrates the everyday hurdles women face when in positions of leadership.
Often circling back to the theme of an antiquated expectation of sacrificing a sense of self by “being more like a man” to succeed, she stresses that women can be leaders and still be their authentic selves. During our discussion, every single person expressed how much the book resonated with them. Every person on the call gave examples of their own experiences with gender bias in the work place. Every. Single. One. As distressing as that notion is, a beautiful sense of camaraderie emerged throughout the discussion prompting a new motto of “lift as we rise” in order to ensure we all succeed.
We next took a page from Oprah’s Book Club with a deep dive into racism with Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. Ms. Wilkerson examines the history of racism in the US through the lens of the caste system, deftly using historical comparisons as well as personal narratives to drive home her eight “pillars of caste.” The power of her comparisons of caste with India and Germany resonated deeply with our readers, eliciting a wide range of changing emotions both during reading and beyond. It left many with a sense of responsibility to do something more, prompting several personal stories within the group. Discussion even lead to identification of inherent racial biases within medical computation, such as calculation of glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Given the popularity of this read, we will be hosting a second discussion on August 11 at 8:00 p.m. EST.
Our next Virtual Book Club will be held in November. We are always looking for new members and new reading suggestions! To join the Book Club and/or provide suggestions, please email us at email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you at our next event!