In honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month, PAGNY is proud to feature Dr. Linelle Campbell, MD, MS, Emergency Medical Attending at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi!
Dr. Campbell’s commitment to healthcare equity, racial justice, and provider well-being is nowhere more evident than her Twitter (@docnellcam). One look at her profile, and you’ll find her engaging in discourse about COVID-19 disparities in the Black community, equity and NYC Health + Hospitals’s performance improvement initiatives, and racial disparities in residency matching. A common theme emerges: there is always more work to be done to improve outcomes for both patients and medical professionals.
Dr. Campbell’s experience as an Emergency Medicine Attending at H+H/Jacobi informs her equity-centered perspective. In the safety net hospital’s Emergency Department, Dr. Campbell understands and witnesses firsthand her patients’ struggle to trust the healthcare system. She notes that “a percentage of [H+H/Jacobi’s] patient population… have not had great experiences in healthcare.”
Medical racism has existed since the inception of the American healthcare system, but the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on communities of color and policing pushed Dr. Campbell to speak out. Reacting to a 2021 New York Times report on police departments attributing police custody deaths to sickle-cell anemia, a genetic blood condition disproportionately present in the African-American population, Dr. Campbell asked, “How much more evidence do we need to show the individual, collective, systematic, and systemic disregard for black bodies in this country?” Dr. Campbell actively works to combat medical racism in healthcare, whether speaking her mind on Twitter or at conferences held by the National Medical Association and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, among others.
As a physician leader working alongside the next generation of medical residents, Dr. Campbell acknowledges the privilege that comes with her position to make change at the micro level. Leveraging her experience, she models what it means to provide exceptional care to her team to “build back the trust [their patients] have lost along their healthcare journeys.” She hopes that the Jacobi community walks away from their experiences in the Emergency Department healthy and with a “better perspective.”
With increasing evidence demonstrating that patient-clinician demographic concordance improves patient satisfaction, treatment adherence, and clinical outcomes, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), responsible for matching medical students into American residency programs, launched their first investigation into match demographics in 2022, and published their findings earlier this year. Assessing demographic data across ten different medical specialties, the NRMP concluded that African-American medical students made up 5.7% to 11.0% of residency program matches in 2022.
With African-Americans constituting 14% of the American population, Dr. Campbell tweeted on representation in the 2022 residency match: “Glad to see so many new docs that look like me…. But if that ‘so many’ is still hovering at 5% not much has changed and we need to do better. To change that 5% means we have to start way before medical school. #morethan5percent.”
In Dr. Campbell’s words, being a PAGNY provider explicitly means “working in a health system where equity in patient care is paramount at all levels. She comes to work each day ready to learn from her patients and to advocate for their health and well-being. “I know that I can't save the world by ending every inequity we have in healthcare but I am motivated every day to try and be a small part of the large change we need.”
We are proud to feature PAGNY professionals like Dr. Campbell who lead the charge in improving equitable conditions and outcomes for both medical providers and patients. We firmly believe in the value of a workforce that reflects the communities we serve because we know it improves our care and consider equity in all aspects of our organization to ensure that any professional has the chance to fulfill their most ambitious potential.