A Message from ASCRS President on Diversity and Inclusion

When I took over as President last month, I highlighted a few of the areas that would be top priorities for the coming year; creating an innovative strategy for education, working together to define best practices, streamlining the bidirectional flow of information from the membership and committees to ASCRS leadership and promoting a more diverse and inclusive society.
I would like to update everyone on our efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion awareness and practices in ASCRS.
1. We have created a Task Force on Diversity & Inclusion. Most of the members serving on the task force had been meeting independently for several years. I have very much appreciated the opportunity to hear their ideas and engage in some very cordial, forthright and productive discussions. Several of the initiatives discussed below are a direct result. Task Force members include:
  1. Jason Hall (Boston Medical Center)
  2. Dana Hayden (Rush University Medical Center Chicago)
  3. Erin King-Mullins (Georgia Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates)
  4. Jonathan Laryea (University of Arkansas for Medical Services)
  5. Valentine Nfonsam (University of Arizona Health Science Center)
  6. Lynn O’Connor (Colon and Rectal Surgery of New York)
  7. Wayne Tuckson (University Colorectal Surgery Associates)
2. In the coming weeks, you will receive a survey focused on understanding the demographic makeup of our society. We need data to better know who we are and where we may lack representation. I appreciate your participation.
3. We will be hosting a diversity breakfast at the Annual Meeting next year in San Diego to provide an opportunity for folks to step forward, meet and greet, as well as ask questions and share their thoughts.
4. We have added a symposium on diversity and inclusion to the 2021 Annual Meeting.
5. The Task Force and I will be planning a webinar in August that we encourage you and your colleagues to attend. Stay tuned for details.
6. All ASCRS committees have been offered an opportunity to host a webinar on a topic related to their mission; and I have encouraged committees to feature speakers from a broader cross-section of our membership.
7. Last, but certainly not least, the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force is looking into potential plans to improve equity in colorectal cancer screening and treatment. We are the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. This should be in our wheelhouse and something we should be well-positioned to address.
I would also like to highlight the need for respectful dialogue, acknowledging that all of us by our very nature have implicit bias. We have all had different experiences based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, region of the country, rural vs. urban, academic vs. private practice, etc., and we need to be willing to acknowledge our experience and seek understanding. Thank you.
More to come,
Neil H. Hyman, MD
ASCRS President