STS Moves to Create a More Diverse Specialty


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

David Tom Cooke, MD

Session aims to cultivate environment of inclusion in cardiothoracic surgery

Recognizing the growing diversity of cardiothoracic surgery patients and the population at large, the Society’s Special Ad Hoc Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion has designed a new session to 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.

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

During the session, David A. Acosta, MD will explain how a diverse environment can improve health care outcomes, as well as an organization’s overall effectiveness and productivity. Dr. Acosta is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges. Afterward, Dr. Cooke will lead a discussion among a panel of Society leaders, a patient advocate, a medical student, a cardiothoracic surgery resident, and academic and community-based cardiothoracic surgeons. Results from a recent survey of US-based STS members will be presented, and questions from the audience will be encouraged.

“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 develop 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 the STS. We know that the more diverse the cardiothoracic surgery workforce is, the better we can serve our communities,” Dr. Cooke said.