There seems to be a lack of qualified doctors in an agricultural and rural part of California. The problem appears to center around workplace discrimination suffered by minority doctors who attempt to work in the area. In contrast, doctors who do not fit into a state and federally protected group did not have the same experiences.
For those minority doctors who did experience discrimination due to race, LGBTQ+, gender, ethnicity or some other protected status, some commonalities became apparent through a survey conducted by the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences. Some of the respondents were forced to deal with vandalism of personal property, loss of professional privileges and negative comments. The problem is so pervasive that some minority doctors decided to leave the area entirely.
Rural and agricultural areas such as California’s Central Valley have a need for more primary care providers, but fulfilling that need will not happen while minority doctors continue to suffer this type of discrimination. Many respondents suffered isolation and discrimination that even extended to their children. Members of the LGBTQ+ community in particular faced losing their privileges if they publicized their status. The hostility, bias and harassment could reach a point where leaving the area was the best solution.
Combating this type of workplace discrimination may feel like an uphill battle. However, due to the protected status of most minority doctors, they do not necessarily have to walk away from work they love. Consulting with an employment law attorney could reveal available legal options for putting an end to this type of treatment. The more people who come forward, the better the chances are that the atmosphere in these agricultural and rural areas could eventually change.