Liaison to the New Diversity and Inclusion Task Force of the Society for Education in Anesthesia

M. Angèle Théard, MD
M. Angèle Théard, MD

M. Angele Théard, MD
Member, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

In the wake of a series of tragic deaths due to systemic racism in the United States, many organizations, including SNACC, have responded with heartfelt messages of support for our communities with the promise of promoting diversity, inclusion and equity in medicine. In addition to a recent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium to engage neuroanesthesia program directors around change, expanding SNACC’s mission statement, and plans to utilize our newsletter to help inform and educate, SNACC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Paul Garcia, has responded to the Society for Education in Anesthesia’s (SEA) request for representation to support an alliance organized to share ideas for change.

In an effort to promote needed inclusion, equity and diversity in medicine, the SEA has launched a Diversity and Inclusion (D and I) task force lead by Dr. Tracey Straker, Professor of Anesthesiology at the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. To share ideas for developing a more inclusive community in academic medicine, Dr. Straker, with the support of SEA's BOD, has reached out to a number of educational/medical societies like the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) and Women in Anesthesiology seeking representatives to form a partnership. The goal of this alliance is to share ideas and resources for innovation and growth in the form of educational materials pertaining to diversity, inclusion, and equity. As a member of SNACC's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I am excited to represent our group in this new SEA initiative.  I look forward to sharing with our membership helpful resources to help us in our similar goal of achieving a more inclusive and equitable medical society.

One valuable resource, which is already being provided by SEA's Diversity and Inclusion task force, is a collection of Diversity and Inclusion Educational Aids. This resource available on SEA's website is a monthly offering of educational resources in the form of short videos, articles, TED talks, etc., meant to bring awareness and provide some insight for understanding bias and structural racism.

Some topics covered thus far include:

  • July: What is Microaggression and Why Does it Matter? - A short audio discussion of definitions and some solutions for microaggressions (National Public Radio).
  • August: Love and Inclusivity - A short video of dance that characterizes caring regardless of differences in our beliefs. 
  • September: Reflection – An article by an African American psychiatrist who discusses the reasons why she gave up her dream of leading diversity efforts in medicine.
  • October: Allegories on Race and Racism - A TED talk by a physician/researcher who helps to clarify how institutional racism grows and develops roots in a non-threatening and eloquent presentation.
  • November: Is Our Tone Too Insecure or Are We Too Bossy? Why Female Voices Are Not Heard in the OR - An article written by a member of the California Society of Anesthesiologists with a title that says it all.

Inclusion and equity work is truly a monumental undertaking, but nevertheless worthwhile. This work will support a more diverse and collaborative environment, which will undoubtedly promote more innovative science together with increased effectiveness in the care of the neurosurgical patient. As this partnership with SEA begins work in this regard, I look forward to providing input from our SNACC organization as well as report back on the fruitions of our group's work through SEA.

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