Project IMPACT from VisualDX Aims to Reduce Disparities in Medicine

Project IMPACT from VisualDX Aims Reduce Disparities in Medicine image

VisualDX is launching Project IMPACT (Improving Medicine’s Power to Address Care and Treatment), a global effort to reduce disparities in medicine and highlight ways to bridge gaps of knowledge and improve healthcare outcomes for patients of color. Inaugural members include thought leaders on skin of color and diagnostic accuracy from renowned organizations such as the Skin of Color Society (SOCS) and New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Group.

Dark skin is significantly underrepresented in medical literature and curricula, comprising an average of just 4.5% of images in medical textbooks. Consequently, clinicians of all licensures and specialties are often insufficiently trained to recognize disease patterns in patients of color. To confront this issue, VisualDx, SOCS, and NEJM Group organized a webinar series in the fall of 2020 to educate providers on structural racism in medicine, disease patterns in dark skin types, and culturally competent care. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from more than 32,000 registrants from close to 100 countries, VisualDx created Project IMPACT to raise awareness and adoption of educational and clinical resources and solutions that bolster clinicians’ ability to accurately diagnose disease in black and brown skin and improve health equity.

“Dermatologic and systemic diseases present with varying shades of color, erythema, and patterns in patients of color with melanin-rich skin. The Skin of Color Society (SOCS) has been working to advance healthcare equity, education, research and mentoring since our founding in 2004. We now are honored to collaborate and share the expertise of our members with VisualDx and NEJM Group on this vitally important initiative,” commented Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist, SOCS President, Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Howard University College of Medicine and Former Vice-Chair for Diversity and Community Engagement at Duke University College of Medicine, Department of Dermatology.

VisualDX announced the launch at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Annual Education Conference. For more than 20 years, VisualDx has worked with board-certified physicians across the globe to collect hundreds of thousands of professional medical images displaying the full spectrum of disease presentations across skin types. As a result, more than 30% of images in its platform represent dark skin types. Studies also indicate that clinicians leveraging VisualDx at the point of care can improve diagnostic accuracy as well as patient education and engagement, particularly for traditionally marginalized groups.

“Lack of sufficient medical education on darker skin has had direct implications on health disparities in patients of color,” said Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and Director of Clinical Impact at VisualDx. “Project IMPACT was created with the understanding that a far-reaching, collaborative effort is needed to eliminate systemic racism in healthcare. I’m honored to lead this charge and help build a global community dedicated to transforming medicine for the good of all patients.”

Students, educators, clinicians, and patients working toward greater health equity are encouraged to take the pledge to make an impact and to share their stories on social media using the hashtag #ProjectIMPACT. To learn more and join Project IMPACT, visit

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