More than a year ago during its retreat, the ACEP Board of Directors discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion and agreed that making improvements in these areas would be a multi-year project. The Board made one of the 13 objectives within ACEP’s strategic plan to “promote and facilitate diversity and inclusion and cultural sensitivity within ACEP.” ACEP President Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP, hosted a summit in April 2016 and appointed the diversity and inclusion task force, led by Aisha Liferidge, MD, to welcome this generational shift in diversity, which is directly tied to ACEP’s future success. Here are a few initiatives ACEP is currently undertaking:
- Annals of Emergency Medicine has published “Why Diversity and Inclusion Are Critical to ACEP’s Future Success,” written by Dr. Parker; Steven J. Stack, MD, FACEP, an emergency physician and past President of the American Medical Association; and Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, director of EM practice at ACEP. This “burning platform” paints the current landscape of diversity in emergency medicine and its patient populations, describes how studies show that embracing diversity and inclusion can improve patient care, and outlines research that shows inclusiveness benefits organizations and even companies. Read the article at www.annemergmed.com.
- ACEP and its chapters are taking a hard look at ensuring that the faculty members at our educational conferences represent a variety of races, religious affiliations, cultural identities, sexes, gender identities, and other forms of diversity far beyond the obvious visual distinctions. Expanding the opportunities for faculty and course topic selection improves the well-being and resiliency of members while also improving patient care.
- A Diversity Leadership Task Force, led by Dr. Stack, will help broaden the diverse representation among ACEP leadership. This approach will potentially attract, retain, and engage new members; develop new leaders; and build upon the expertise of current members. Diversity and inclusion of leadership positions will help many to overcome collective biases and nurtures creativity of thought, collaboration, and problem solving.
- Dr. Liferidge’s task force has developed objectives to guide its activities over the next several years. The task force has identified five focus groups: age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. It recognizes there are additional groups to pursue in the future. The task force has outlined three objectives:
- Engage the specialty of emergency medicine on diversity and inclusion.
- Identify obstacles to advancement within the profession of emergency medicine related to diversity and inclusion and develop ways to overcome those obstacles.
- Highlight the effects of diversity and inclusion on patient outcomes and identify ways to improve those outcomes.
This task force is developing tactics to accomplish each of these objectives. Upcoming projects for the task force include ongoing conference calls and an in-person meeting during the ACEP Leadership & Advocacy Conference in March, as well as the development of proposals for consideration by the ACEP Board and Council Steering Committee, a webinar on bias and cultural competence, a social media campaign, and more.