Health Equity in Action: Dr. Sarahn Wheeler


Great work to advance health equity is under way by DHIP physicians and employees. The impact of persistent health disparities affects all of us, and there are numerous opportunities to contribute to the mission of delivering excellent care equitably to all patients while creating an environment of inclusion and belonging. "Health Equity in Action" series aims to highlight our DHIP teammates who have devoted their scholarly time and efforts to addressing health disparities, serving as an inspiration for all of us to get involved. This is our work to do.

Today, we highlight Dr. Sarahn Wheeler from the Duke Dept of OB/GYN.
DHIP Member: Sarahn Wheeler, M.D.
Practice Location(s): Duke Birthing Center, Duke Perinatal Consultants of Burlington, Duke Perinatal Consultants of Cary, Duke Perinatal Consultants of Durham and Fetal Diagnostic Center

Dr. Sarahn Wheeler is a practicing maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Duke University Medical Center, Assistant Professor in the Duke University School of Medicine, and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the OB/GYN department.

What has your experience been like with advancing health equity?

When asked what her experience has been like with advancing health equity in the DHIP and at Duke Health, Dr. Wheeler explains how each of her roles – clinical, research, and administrative – intersect with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), improving clinical outcomes, and health equity. For her clinical work, she highlights the importance of improving maternal and fetal outcomes, particularly among Black women. This work fuels her research focus as she seeks to mitigate race disparities and improve the overall patient experience through qualitative studies that inform interventions development. As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for OB/GYN, she believes that empowering providers with cultural humility through resources and training is an integral aspect of how providers can best care for diverse populations.

What is important about your clinic work and the role of equitable practice? 

Dr. Wheeler feels the greatest sense achievement in her D&I work when she can see the impact that learning opportunities have on providers and staff. When providers share situations when a prior training helped them to identify issues and see the DEI intersection with health outcomes, she feels optimistic that positive change is possible. As Dr. Wheeler reflects on what it means for her to see others feel confident with addressing health equity concerns: "Seeing more and more people are identify D&I issues and feeling empowered to address them is an important step in the right direction."

For DHIP members and staff interested in health equity projects, please visit: or contact us at​