Diversity, equity and inclusion: Disparities in medicine and vascular surgery

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Recent months have yielded a conversation on systemic racism perhaps unlike any other before. We’ve learned about how it manifests across society, how it impacts those on the receiving end, and how it can appear in subtle guises, including in healthcare.

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the racial disparities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, last month Vascular Specialist explored what role the vascular specialty might play in this crucible, and looked at what that conversation should look like within the vascular profession.

Events since have reminded everyone of another recurring area of disparity: that of inequity across gender. Unfortunately, vascular surgery itself grabbed the international spotlight under this aegis. A paper published in the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) peer-reviewed publication, the Journal of Vascular Surgery, sparked widespread derision for the nature of its classification of so-called “unprofessional” social media content among young vascular surgeons. Its primary target was generally interpreted to be female members of the specialty, garnering the viral moniker #Medbikini on, of all places, social media.

This month, Vascular Specialist continues its focus on systemic racism, broadening coverage with a special issue that explores matters of diversity, equity and inclusion across race, ethnicity and gender. Among our coverage, from SVS ONLINE we hear about the latest scientific findings in studies that investigate demographic disparities in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and carotid revascularization.

From within the vascular surgery ranks, we hear from four African American practitioners who detail their personal experiences of racism as well as their clinical and research interests in the arena of healthcare disparities. And we hear about the research that gave rise to the SVS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. All of it nourishes a conversation that, unlike others before, doesn’t look like it will fade away anytime soon.

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