New diversity, equity and inclusion pillar signals additional priority for SVS Foundation

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Vincent Rowe

The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Foundation has been guided by the three long-term pillars of research and innovation, community vascular care and patient education, and disease prevention. Recently, the Foundation added a fourth pillar—for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. It will emphasize, among other projects, research into healthcare disparities and care delivery solutions, scholarships and career advancement for underrepresented minority vascular surgeons, and workforce development.

“DEI is an important cornerstone of the Society for Vascular Surgery itself and we applaud adding diversity, equity and inclusion as a bedrock pillar for the Foundation as well,” said Vincent Rowe, MD, chair of the SVS DEI Committee.

“This helps us support our community of vascular surgeons,” said Palma Shaw, MD, co-founder of the SVS Women’s Membership Section. “We are investing into the future of vascular health with programs for our diverse communities and helping the Society more closely resemble the patient population. People want a surgeon who looks like them.

“The new pillar reaffirms the Society’s commitment to DEI and enables the SVS Foundation to serve as the portal for initiatives of SVS’ many regional societies, such as diversity scholarships or attendance at training courses. I look forward to witnessing how the SVS and SVS Foundation move forward in the space of DEI.”

Early plans for DEI initiatives include targeted scholarships, awards and research grants for diversity candidates, research projects focused on healthcare disparities or bringing programs to underserved areas.

The new pillar highlights, among other tenets, research into healthcare disparities—one of the updated SVS research priorities.

The new pillar reaffirms the Society’s objectives, supported by the DEI Task Force, which now has become an ongoing committee, as well as a summer DEI summit, with outcomes to be announced soon ahead of a second summit planned for January 2023. In addition, the Society’s new research priorities added healthcare disparities as one of seven important topic areas. The focus in that area is evaluating “interventions aimed at improving vascular health in all socioeconomic, racial and ethnic populations.”

Both Rowe and Shaw pointed to how commemorative months—Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, among them—celebrate the diversity of modern life. “We mark these months and others to celebrate the diverse voices of the vascular community,” said Shaw.

“We will be funding the future of vascular health through a lot of these initiatives,” said Rowe. “We want to grow and nurture these initiatives, while we grow and cultivate our increasingly diverse vascular workforce.”

To learn more about the SVS Foundation, visit vascular.org/SVS-Foundation.

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