SVS publishes DEI supplement to highlight challenges and opportunities within the specialty

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With a firm eye on healing disparities in healthcare and within the vascular surgery specialty itself, the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) has published a 2021 diversity supplement as an addition to the August issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery (JVS). The supplement, “Creating success in comprehensive vascular surgical care through diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI]” includes a broad range of perspectives on the challenges the Society faces to improving opportunity and health outcomes for all. Bernadette Aulivola, MD, of Loyola Medicine, Chicago; Dawn Coleman, MD, of the University of Michigan Health, Ann Arbor; and Joseph Mills, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, served as guest editors.

The supplement’s summary of “what we have learned and how to move forward is the measure of the moment,” said Ronald L. Dalman, MD, of Stanford University, Stanford, California, SVS president during the document’s creation. The measurement’s precedent, he wrote in the supplement introduction, lies in the 2010 JVS diversity supplement.

The 2010 publication focused primarily on vascular health outcome disparities among under-represented minority populations. “This year’s update turns that focus inward, to challenges within the profession itself,” said Dalman.

“The SVS is deeply committed to understanding inequities related to gender, race, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation and developing strategies to make meaningful changes,” said Aulivola. She served as chair of the SVS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, created in 2019.

The diversity supplement covers 16 topic areas. These include not only those that would be expected in a document such as this, such as a review of healthcare disparities in vascular surgery; mentorship; inclusion and retention opportunities and challenges; and pay disparities, for example, but also the unexpected, including a study into bias and letters of recommendation.

In addition, the document includes a glossary of terminology and concepts relating to DEI. The list is designed to provide the vascular surgical community with a common vocabulary to help propel change toward improved diversity, equity and inclusion policies, practices and culture.

“Scientific and anecdotal research has shown us that many vascular surgeons are working tirelessly to address disparities within healthcare, but new approaches are essential in making continued progress,” Aulivola said. “Publications like this supplement serve to enhance our understanding of current status of diversity-related issues in vascular surgery. The focused efforts of the SVS DEI committee will assure that we become a stronger specialty that is better equipped to care for a diverse patient population.”

The new supplement advances on the promise and vision of its 2010 predecessor. Moving forward, the SVS aims to implement the structural changes necessary to ensure the future of the SVS and the wellness and professional success of its evolving membership.

Click here to read the full 2021 diversity supplement.

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