To know where to go, you first have to know the starting point. “We cannot adequately measure our progress in the SVS on diversity, equity and inclusion if we do not have the requisite data to measure,” said Society for Vascular Surgery president Ronald L. Dalman, MD.
He is asking all SVS members to take the simple action of completing the upcoming member census and survey in November/December and help the SVS build a more robust database regarding demographics, and member interests and priorities.
It will provide a snapshot of current representation across the Society. “One of the most important findings of the SVS (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Task Force report … is that we as an organization don’t know enough about our membership,” said Dalman. “Full participation in the 2020 census will help us get a more complete understanding of our membership today.”
Immediate past president Kim Hodgson, MD, created the Task Force relatively early in his presidency. He asked co-chairs Bernadette Aulivola, MD, and John F. Edit, MD, to look at the issues broadly, “to focus not just on gender or racial disparities, but also those related to sexual orientation or identity, age, or, the group that I think is most discriminated against, foreign medical graduates.”
And shortly before his term ended, he presented statistics on representation on a wide variety of Society groups, from the overall membership, to councils, committees, task forces, leadership, the Vascular Self-Assessment and Education Program editors and authors, and more.
The Task Force has presented its report to the SVS Executive Board (see story, above), and Aulivola looks forward to forward movement. “Change will happen,” she said, in a post on the members-only SVSConnect messageboard.
The Task Force is working with Dawn M. Coleman, MD, and Joseph Mills, MD, on a Journal of Vascular Surgery supplement that will focus solely on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion, she said. Task Force recommendations include investing not only in recruitment of a diverse group of individuals to the vascular surgery field, but also in providing support and resources throughout their careers. “This includes opportunities for leadership within the SVS and transparency of the appointment process,” she said.
Aulivola briefly mentioned the controversy in August over a JVS article on social media and professionalism, which resulted in viral posts from all realms of the medical field. Those events “have strongly reinforced the need for the SVS to take a proactive stand in assuring that our Society and our field is inclusive and offers equal opportunity and voice to all its members regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation/ identity,” she said.
She and Eidt thanked “the many students, trainees and vascular surgeons who have reached out to help with the work of the Task Force as well as SVS support staff member Sarah Murphy, whose hard work has been a true asset to the progress we have made. We are grateful for the widespread enthusiasm for change.”
Dalman thanked Hodgson for his “foresight last summer in chartering the DEI Task Force, which has provided us with timely guidance as to how to proceed.”