STATEMENT ON RACISM, DEI WORK AND PROGRESS
On June 3, 2020, the ABA released a public statement expressing condemnation for systemic racism and healthcare disparities, setting forth its commitment to address these issues as a leader in the medical certifying board community. The statement came during a period of national unrest in the early days of the pandemic, amid heightened awareness of the role social injustice plays in perpetuating disease and preventing access to health care in this country.
We have long recognized that the ABA plays a distinct role in addressing biases that endanger health care outcomes and in advancing equity and inclusion, particularly as it relates to our organization and assessments.
In 2018, we began taking intentional steps to facilitate discussions and employ strategies to ensure that our volunteers and board leaders are representative of the anesthesiology community. This work has become part of a broader strategy to weave diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into the fabric of the ABA culture. The revelatory nature of the pandemic and the true depth of the nation’s healthcare disparities have led the Board to accelerate DEI initiatives.
Since 2018, our DEI efforts have grown to include the following milestones:
- Established a task force to develop a plan to increase racial, ethnic and gender diversity on the board of directors.
- Expanded collection of demographic data collected from volunteers to include race and ethnicity to gauge whether the volunteer corps is representative of the broader anesthesiologist community.
- Launched unconscious bias training and education using facilitators and self-study for the board of directors and staff.
- Established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, charged with advancing the Board’s DEI strategy.
- Revised the MOCA Content Outline to include new sections on healthcare disparities and diversity, equity and inclusion, which will result in new MOCA Minute-related content starting in 2021.
- Conducted first-ever staff DEI survey to set a baseline for a subsequent DEI strategy and 2021 programming for the ABA’s administrative office.
- Administered a survey to Board volunteers to gauge their attitudes and perceptions about DEI issues related to their ABA work.
- Approved the collection of race and ethnicity information from diplomates, candidates and residents via ABA Go beginning in July to get a fuller picture of anesthesiologist demographics.
- Established a volunteer task force to recommend to the board important DEI and healthcare disparity topics for inclusion in ABA Content Outlines.
- Developing research questions to potentially evaluate the impact of DEI on the Board’s work.
DEI Guiding Principles
In the coming months, the ABA will continue to build upon this foundation through the leadership of the DEI Task Force, whose members are working to establish a framework for long-term, strategic initiatives designed to promote DEI at the ABA.
Direction for this work will be provided by the following guiding principles designed to marshal understanding of our goals relative to addressing systemic racism and healthcare disparities:
- We acknowledge that individual and institutional bias has impacted or excluded marginalized members of our professional and patient communities, regardless of the intention of those excluding.
- We commit to engaging the broader diplomate and healthcare communities in our DEI initiatives to ensure that we gain comprehensive input to pursue meaningful DEI goals and initiatives.
- We commit to communicating transparently and frequently with key stakeholders regarding our DEI efforts, and providing channels to receive and incorporate feedback.
- We will set actionable goals, holding ourselves accountable for measuring our progress toward these goals.
- We will seek out opportunities to collaborate and incorporate evidence-based best practices that enhance our ability to achieve our goals and support broader DEI efforts in healthcare.
- We commit to creating pathways for ABA volunteers and staff to access the resources and mentorship they need to achieve professional success.
- We commit to researching and rooting out instances of bias in our policies and assessments if or when any are identified.
- We understand the importance of increasing awareness related to bias, discrimination, systemic racism and healthcare disparities, and commit to continuously educating and training key stakeholders within our sphere of influence.