Diversity in Cardiothoracic Surgery Workforce Benefits Patients, Professionals

An important new session offered this morning will address the role of diversity and inclusion in the cardiothoracic surgery workforce and explore why physicians who are underrepresented in medicine are important for the optimal delivery of cardiothoracic surgical care.

David T. Cooke, MD

The session was developed by the Society’s Special Ad Hoc Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, which was created last year with a mission of fostering inclusion and diversity within STS, as well as the cardiothoracic surgery specialty.

Diversity and Inclusion in Cardiothoracic Surgery: What’s In It For Me?

Monday, January 29
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Floridian Ballroom B-C

“It is the vision of our President, Dr. Richard Prager, to see a workforce equipped to care for diverse populations both nationally and internationally by cultivating an open environment,” said Task Force Chair and session moderator David T. Cooke, MD.

During the session, David A. Acosta, MD, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, will share his expertise on the value proposition of diversity and inclusion.

“Studies have demonstrated that diversity provides a more robust learning environment. Students who interacted with students from racial/ethnic-diverse backgrounds demonstrated the greatest engagement in active thinking, growth in intellectual discourse, engagement and motivation, and growth in intellectual and academic skills,” he said.

A diverse physician workforce also benefits patients, Dr. Acosta added. “Studies have also demonstrated that racial/ethnic concordance and language concordance between patients and physicians have major benefits. For example, patients state that they experience better interpersonal care with racial/ethnic concordance, hence, better patient satisfaction.”

Following Dr. Acosta’s talk, Dr. Cooke will lead a panel discussion with STS First Vice President Keith S. Naunheim, MD, STS Public Director Christopher M. Draft, and others representing a variety of backgrounds and career stages.

“The panelists will offer their insights on the importance of a diverse workforce and how it benefits their patients,” Dr. Cooke said. “The goal of the session is to educate attendees about how diversity and inclusion can be valuable to their practices, service lines, training efforts, and relationships in the communities where they practice.”

Moving forward, the Task Force will help STS create programs and resources that will not only further diversify the cardiothoracic surgery workforce, but also lead to a better understanding of health care disparities among cardiothoracic surgery patients and, ultimately, better patient outcomes.

“Diversity and inclusion are important to STS. We know that the more diverse the cardiothoracic surgery workforce is, the better we can serve our communities,” Dr. Cooke said.

Share Your Thoughts on Diversity

If you haven’t done so already, please take 10 minutes to fill out the STS Diversity and Inclusion Survey at sts.org/diversitysurvey. Results will be used by the Society to develop and implement programming and other resources. Individual responses will remain anonymous, and aggregate survey results will be reported after analysis for peer review and/or general dissemination.