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The future of surgery - Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion through early mentorship

Published:December 22, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2022.12.011
      The importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in medicine cannot be overstated. Not only can increased DEI have positive effects on physicians’ mental health and well-being as well as help to enhance productivity, innovation, and collaboration, but DEI has been associated with improved patient compliance and clinical outcomes.
      • Gomez L.E.
      • Bernet P.
      Diversity improves performance and outcomes.
      ,
      • Backhus L.M.
      • Kpodonu J.
      • Romano J.C.
      • et al.
      An exploration of myths, barriers, and strategies for improving diversity among STS members.
      Despite these significant benefits for both surgeons and the patients they care for, there is still much work to be done in order to fully achieve DEI in surgery. Women are significantly underrepresented in many surgical fields and this underrepresentation is especially apparent in surgical subspecialties such as neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery where less than 10% of surgeons are female.
      • Arya S.
      • Franco-Mesa C.
      • Erben Y.
      An analysis of gender disparities amongst United States medical students, general surgery residents, vascular surgery trainees, and the vascular surgery workforce.
      There is also a significant lack of representation with regards to race and ethnicity.
      • Keshinro A.
      • Butler P.
      • Fayanju O.
      • et al.
      Examination of intersectionality and the pipeline for Black academic surgeons.
      Only 7% of surgical faculty members and 10% of surgical trainees are of racial or ethnic minorities that are traditionally underrepresented in medicine.
      • Edwards J.A.
      Mentorship of underrepresented minorities and women in surgery.
      This lack of DEI is even more pronounced in academic surgery where the vast majority of assistant, associate, and full professors of surgery are male
      • Arya S.
      • Franco-Mesa C.
      • Erben Y.
      An analysis of gender disparities amongst United States medical students, general surgery residents, vascular surgery trainees, and the vascular surgery workforce.
      ,
      • Riner A.N.
      • Herremans K.M.
      • Neal D.W.
      • et al.
      Diversification of academic surgery, its leadership, and the importance of intersectionality.
      and only approximately 3–5% of academic surgeons are of racial or ethnic minorities that are traditionally underrepresented in medicine.
      • Zhu K.
      • Das P.
      • Karimuddin A.
      • et al.
      Equity, diversity, and inclusion in academic American surgery faculty: an elusive dream.
      The lack of diversity among academic surgeons, in particular, is especially concerning given the impact these surgeons have on training the next generations of surgeons.
      • Backhus L.M.
      • Kpodonu J.
      • Romano J.C.
      • et al.
      An exploration of myths, barriers, and strategies for improving diversity among STS members.
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