The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Diversity Issues is committed to the following goals:
- Keep diversity and inclusion represented in all areas of the ACS
- Engage constituents to ensure their needs are addressed within the workforce, education, and clinical care arenas
- Highlight best practices in surgery addressing workforce diversity, inclusivity, and health care disparities
- Provide data and metrics to guide the efforts on diversity and inclusion for the ACS
- Collaborate with other areas within the ACS both nationally and regionally to support these efforts at all levels
This past year, the committee updated the ACS Statement on Diversity, which all ACS Committees use to ensure diversity among membership and leadership. In addition, the committee regularly supports programming at the Clinical Congress on topics of diversity and cultural competency and recently released new resources to support surgeons with challenges they may face with diversity and cultural competency.
These resources include the following:
- Needs assessment tools: Diversity, inclusion, and equity can be promoted at both the individual and organizational level, and assessment tools can provide a stimulus to implement change and elucidate deficiencies. Nationally recognized assessment tools are available for member use.
- Cultural competency at work: To provide effective and equitable care for patients of all backgrounds, surgeons must recognize and understand the potential influence of culture, divergent beliefs, and values on the ways in which patients and their families seek and receive care as well as the way in which we—as individual surgeons, a profession, and institutions—deliver care. These resources provide an introduction to the key tenets of cultural competence for the surgeon at the individual and institutional level.
- Recognizing implicit bias: There is increasing recognition of the role implicit bias plays in health care disparities, including for surgical patients. Implicit bias also may affect how surgeons interact with colleagues, trainees, and other members of the health care team. As implicit bias operates in an unintentional and often unconscious manner, it can exert its influence on the way in which surgeons care for and communicate with patients and team members silently. A series of resources on recognizing implicit bias in surgical practices, as well as a series of quick tests for testing one’s own implicit biases in the workplace, are available.
- Creating diverse surgical teams: Diverse teams have been shown to be more effective, creative, and successful. Much of our understanding of diversity within teams comes from business and management literature, but more recently efforts have been made to extend this to the setting of health care teams, including surgical teams. The resources available provide some theory, evidence, and tips on how to foster diversity in the workplace and in the health care team.
All of these resources are accessible from the Committee on Diversity Issues web page on the ACS website.