Following a year of study and including more than 40 separate goals, objectives and requested actions, the SVS Executive Board has received, reviewed and embraced the report of the SVS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force as a blueprint for response and change.
It now has begun the task of implementing the report and its recommendations, which means integrating it throughout the structure of the Society. The plan, said SVS president Ronald L. Dalman, MD, must be comprehensive and “worthy of the detail included in the report.”
Creating a new Diversity Committee as part of the SVS governance structure is the highest priority and “will be essential in helping to guide and serve as a resource to the Executive Board and Strategic Board of Directors, as well as many other councils, committees, sections and task forces,” said Dalman. The SVS already is selecting committee volunteers from among the applications received.
The SVS will publish the Task Force report along with the plan for implementation to make it available to all members. Dalman will give progress statements as recommendations are approved and implemented.
One objective is well under way for implementation: increasing editorial positions for women and minorities in Journal of Vascular Surgery (JVS) publications. JVS recently appointed Ulka Sachdev-Ost, MD, associate professor of vascular surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and chief of vascular services at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, as associate editor for clinical research focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, a new position. Women and members of under-represented groups in medicine were strongly encouraged to apply.
The Executive Board also is expected to approve an SVS diversity position statement. The statement—the new Diversity Committee’s first task—will clearly articulate the SVS’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion related to gender, race, ethnicity and sexual identity in the field of vascular surgery and within the Society.
Other recommendations expected to receive early attention are the appointment of a liaison to each SVS council and key committees to provide perspective on diversity and inclusion, as well as encouraging all members to update their profile information in the SVS database through the upcoming annual member census survey.
The comprehensive report and plan address training, working with regional and national societies, as well as the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery (APDVS), to develop DEI policies.
New sessions at the 2021 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) form another plank, in addition to extending the new branding toolkit and campaign to include diversity and inclusion, and developing a program for practice support for minority vascular surgeons.
The Executive Board will mandate discussion and action over the course of the next year for all Society-related boards, councils, committees and task forces.