ST. LOUIS – On April 25, the St. Louis American Foundation recognized Michael Railey, M.D., as a stellar performer in health care for his long lasting support to diversity and cultural proficiency.
|Since Michael Railey, M.D. (right) joined Saint Louis University, his goal has been
to generate a workforce that is culturally humble and diverse.
“It’s an absolute honor to receive this recognition,” he said.
Railey is the associate dean in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and an associate professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University. For the last five years Railey’s mission has been to train young and aspiring physicians.
“When I was preparing to be a physician, it was all about the patients, which was great,” he said. “But now I think what if I can inspire 10 doctors to go out and serve the people in the community? There is a multiplying effect of service that appeals even more to me now.”
Railey looks back to the time when academic medical centers were just focused on training doctors and not engaged in community service. Today, the landscape of academic medicine has changed, he said. “At Saint Louis University, it’s about service to men and women. We look for ways to collaborate with the community and focus our efforts on serving them in the fashion of the Jesuit mission,” Railey said.
Since he joined the University, his goal has been to generate a workforce that is culturally humble and diverse. In his view, when an individual is ready to appreciate another person’s perspective, that’s when he or she has become more culturally competent, Railey believes the ability to work in a cross-cultural setting is a lifelong pursuit.
“We want to train people at all different levels, regardless of what their cultural background is. We encourage diversity,” he said.
Railey and his team at the Office of Multicultural Affairs look for ways to take advantage of different pathways to teach differently and add fresh perspectives to their instruction.
“That’s what improves the excellence in learning,” Railey said.
When Railey trained as a physician, a very small fraction of his class included African Americans, Asians and Latinos, while 90 percent of his classmates were Caucasians. In his observation classrooms are more diverse today.
“Diversity has to be a focus all around the nation,” Railey said. “And when we see that change in diversity in America, we will also need to make adjustments in our workforce in a significant way and train people to deal with that diversity.”
Railey graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine in 1976 and completed his family medicine residency in 1979 at the University of Florida.
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: infectious disease, liver disease, cancer, heart/lung disease, and aging and brain disorders.