Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | November 15, 2019

Dr. Erica Taylor Will Always Save You a Seat at the Table

What does it mean to “live” a value? Basically, it’s about walking the talk.

It means identifying what values resonate with you, and caring so much that you’re willing to do whatever you can to help make them more present in the world. For Dr. Erica Taylor, those deeply held values are leadership, diversity, and inclusion.

It’s a natural affinity, given her history as a trailblazer in her field. As an engaged Duke faculty member and orthopaedic hand surgeon at Duke Raleigh Hospital, Dr. Taylor is part of a practicing specialty that is only 5.8% female and 1.9% African-American.  She honors her mentors by lighting the way for others following her lead. In her roles as Duke Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Medical Director and the Chair of Diversity and Inclusion for the Department of Orthopaedics, Dr. Taylor takes a stand for the notion that anyone who wants a seat at the table should have one.

“There is real power in relationships and personal interactions. It is important that no one sits against the wall in meetings and that everyone comes to the table,” she said. “Everyone should have a say. Great leaders helped me to realize the value in my own voice.”

Whether integrating patient care across specialties or working to improve the efficiency and quality of inpatient operating room care, Dr. Taylor’s leadership style crosses boundaries to be collaborative and welcoming.

She also keeps an eye out for future generations, working with the Duke School of Medicine Inclusion Council to share best practices across the various departments. Within her own department, she creates and executes workshops for young students who are interested in careers in orthopaedics. 

“I define mentorship as making an investment in the success of another,” she says. “Through our programs and recruitment efforts, we facilitate networking experiences for students who may not have otherwise been exposed to orthopedic surgery, which we know leads to underrepresentation in our workforce. Again, it’s about bringing more people, and more diverse perspectives, to the table.”

On top of her busy career and commitment to mentoring, Dr. Taylor is also pursuing her MBA at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, which has broadened her perspective on strategic leadership. She’s one of five surgeons in a class of 174. When not at school, business meetings, the operating room or mentoring others, Dr. Taylor enjoys spending time meeting new people, enjoying action movies, and cheering at football games with her husband and their three young daughters.  

“If you think about the acronym that sums up our health system values, TIDES,” she says, “it’s great that diversity is right there at the center. It really is foundational. When we embrace differences among people, and make sure everyone has a seat and a voice at the table, we can achieve so much more. And that’s excellent news for our patients, who want their care to be within a culture of inclusive excellence.”

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: