The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) hosted on May 1, 2022 an immersive one-day pathway program for 25 Tampa-area high school, college and medical students interested in the specialty of colon and rectal surgery during the society's 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting in Tampa, Florida.
The ASCRS Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Committee led this pathway program for students. Industry partners Ethicon, Intuitive and Medtronic also participated in the program by providing materials such as hands-on surgical robotics and suturing stations and presentations covering technology within the specialty. Other program support includes the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, BEST Academy, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Tour 4 Diversity.
The program kicked off with a welcome breakfast for students and their parents, while also giving them the chance to participate in a Healthy Eating and Colon Cancer presentation. Students and parents were encouraged to take a walk through an inflatable colon donated by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance that displayed descriptive banners next to disease replicas, intended to spark conversation and increase awareness of colon health. Additionally, parents were able to meet with Moffitt to explore colon cancer screening options and community programs and services available to them if financial assistance is needed.
The DEI Committee's mission is to help our colorectal society provide diverse and equitable care to patients and create a diverse colorectal workforce. "Underserved populations tend to fare better when they have healthcare providers they can relate to," states Erin King-Mullins, MD, FACS, FASCRS, Chair of the ASCRS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. "We want to help close the gap in healthcare disparities and inequalities by exposing young minds to how awesome and relatable the field of colorectal surgery can be," states King-Mullins.
ASCRS will host its next DEI pathway program in Seattle, Washington, at the ASCRS 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting.