Reflections on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Posted on: Tuesday 10 November 2020
Author: Emma Harvey

Having been associated with FPM in some capacity (Associate, Member, Fellow) for over 20 years, it has always been gratifying to see the balanced proportions of men and women members and fellows, and also the high numbers of people of black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in attendance at FPM events. New membership intake is currently running at around 60:40 for men and women, which is an improvement from an 80:20 split we saw twenty years ago, but still not reflective of the ratio of men and women now entering medical schools (45:55).

Additionally, when you look at the leadership at FPM the ratio of men and women in senior board and committee positions is not currently sufficiently diverse, and not reflective of the membership. Likewise, when you look at many pharma companies, both large and small, the number of women and people of BAME backgrounds in leadership positions is not always reflective of the overall mix of the industry as a whole. We can all think of a few examples where this is not the case, however, there is no consistent pattern.

Recently, FPM launched a new initiative, Women in Pharmaceutical Medicine. This is the first part of a new programme to raise the importance of EDI in FPM and also to offer support to pharmaceutical physicians who may struggle to be recognised at work. This also links to the values to which FPM aspires. These values have been developed as a collaborative piece of work between board, staff and members, and are due to be formally launched in 2021. They were recently profiled in a National Health Executive article discussing the importance of values with respect to race.


Most of you will be working for companies that have EDI policies and initiatives in place. The RCP, RCPCH, RCPSYC and others have also all recently published their own agendas on this important issue.

It’s important too that FPM not only recognises that there is work to be done within its own structure, but also identifies cross-industry opportunities to support EDI for pharmaceutical physicians as individuals.

What we can promise you as we move forwards with this initiative is that the intention and energy are in place to make the necessary changes within FPM.

We are looking at the structure of committees and groups as well as the make-up of our Trustees and other functions to try and ensure each body is more inclusive. When we plan various FPM activities such as events and publications we will pro-actively look to ensure speakers, panels and authors are appropriately diverse. Where this is not possible – whether through a lack of diversity in volunteers, or where expertise is predominantly white and/or male – we will critically evaluate why this is the case.

We also want to try and offer support to FPM members and fellows who may be having challenges in their own organisations. To that end we would like to hear from you about what you would like to see happen at FPM. Can we provide mentorship for example? Do you want to see case studies of how women and people from BAME backgrounds have navigated the challenges of career development in an ‘old boys’ network?

I used to think that I couldn’t influence how things were done and then I realised that the only way to influence things is to get involved. This can be as simple as submitting an idea or perhaps you would like to join one of the FPM committees or write a blog for the website or journal. We each have something different to offer.

Have your say

Please submit your thoughts and ideas via the form below. Unless you indicate otherwise these will be anonymous. If you would prefer to email us please use Emails will be treated confidentially, unless you say otherwise.

All your ideas will be invaluable in helping ensure that what FPM delivers for you is what you actually want from us and will help us uphold our values.

This is the start of our journey, so please help us move with the times and evolve. FPM is your professional body, and it can only really represent what you want if you share your views or get involved. You can do so anonymously or perhaps you have a story you would like to share openly. Either way, please work with us. We will be delighted to hear from you and even more delighted to have you volunteer to get involved!

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FPM's Values

We areThis means
Professional Being accountable for our work and actions
Innovative Seeking solutions proactively
Caring Treating everyone with dignity
Collaborative Working positively with others
Credible Being honest and ethical in our work
Learned Investing in developing knowledge and skills

About the author – Emma Harvey

Emma Harvey is the mother of 3, wife of one, youngest of three sisters and a dog owner. When not managing her children, dog and husband, she is also FFPM, a member of the FPM Policy and Communications Group, an appraiser for revalidation and Global Head of Medical Affairs for an SME.

Emma Harvey
Emma Harvey

equality, diversity and inclusion