Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Mission: The University of Chicago Department of Surgery Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee is committed to addressing and eliminating discrimination in all forms within our department through continuous self-assessment, targeted programming, advocacy, and creation of an increasingly diverse and culturally competent workforce by embedding diversity and inclusion as an integral component of surgical excellence.

In doing so, we aim to remove barriers to healthcare access, to provide the best care for our community, and to create an optimal and equitable environment to work, conduct research, and train.

View our Surgical Excellence in Action gallery.

DEI Steering Committee Leadership

Upcoming Events:  In addition to the events below, during the month of May we celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, and Mental Health Awareness Month! 

  • Eid al-Fitr, May 1st – May 2nd
    o    Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims across the globe, because it marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.
  • Kadji Amin - "We Are All Non-Binary: A Brief History of Accidents", May 2nd, 5:00-6:30pm
    o    This talk offers a genealogy of the emergence of nonbinary identity, not as a progress narrative in which we move toward an enlightened recognition of the many types of human gender and sexual diversity, but rather as the outcome of a slow avalanche of historical accidents. Hybrid location: 1126 E. 59th St. and via Zoom
  • Cinco de Mayo, May 5th
    o    During the 1862 Battle of Puebla, a small grassroots group of Mexican soldiers claimed victory over the invading and heavily-armed French military of thousands. The holiday commemorates a developing nation's resistance to the lending practices of wealthier foreign countries.
  • Discrimination in the 21st Century: Fostering Conversations Across Fields, May 6th – 7th 1201 E. 60th St.
    o    This conference will bring together researchers from different fields to discuss crucial themes around discrimination. Experts from economics, artificial intelligence, behavioral sciences, healthcare, sociology, and more, will interact with each other through presentations and open panel discussions. Register Here!
  • Black Women and Reproductive Justice, May 10th 4:00 -5:30pm
    o  Celebrate new writing by award-winning authors Natalie Y. Moore and Dolen Perkins-Valdez centering Black women and reproductive justice. The authors will be in conversation with Candice Norcott, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at UChicago. Register Here!
  • Grand Rounds, 17th Annual Dr. David B. Skinner Memorial Lecture, May 11th 7:15-8:00am
    o   Please join the Department for the 17th Annual Dr. David B. Skinner Memorial Lecture in Room G-217 or ZoomSteven C. Stain, MD, Chair of the Department of Surgery at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center will deliver the lecture. The title of his lecture is: "What Does American Surgery Have to Learn from:  W.E.B. Dubois & Booker T. Washington?"  This lecture has been approved for 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  The code to obtain your credit will be provided at the lecture.
  • International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, May 17th
    o    The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and rouse interest in LGBT rights work globally.
  • Grand Rounds, SAAS Visiting Professor, May 18th 7:15-8:00am
    o    Please join the Department for a special Grand Rounds presentation featuring Anahita Dua, MD, MS, MBA, FACS. The title her lecture is: “Predicating Personalized Arterial Thrombotic Risk to Guide Thromboprophylaxis Therapy and Surgical Site Infection Risk Assessment in Peripheral Artery Disease Patients.” This lecture has been approved for 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  The code to obtain your credit will be provided at the lecture.
  • World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, May 21st
    o    The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is a United Nations–sanctioned international holiday for the advocacy in exploring diversity topics and issues.
  • Memorial Day, May 30th
    o    We celebrate the U.S. military personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting our nation. We also recognize our veterans as well as all military personnel, within the Department of Surgery and beyond, who continue to serve.

Ongoing Events:

  • UCM Wellness Series, hosted by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience - Information here on virtual wellness programming


Along with the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Orthopedic Surgery, the Department of Surgery is proud to participate in the Pritzker School of Medicine's Underrepresented in Medicine Visiting Clerkship Program. The program is sponsored through the generous support of Peggy A. Montes, a former IL public school system teacher, co-founder of Bronzeville Children’s Museum, and longtime Chicago/Cook County civic leader.

While the Visiting Clerkship Program is suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19, the initiative is aimed at fourth-year medical students from groups who have been traditionally underrepresented in US medical schools – Black/African American, Mexican-American, Native American (American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiians), Puerto Ricans, and Asians (specifically Hmong, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Filipino) who are in good standing at LCME-accredited US medical school. Our department will match visiting students with a resident and assign a faculty advisor for support, networking and mentorship.

Students apply through VSAS and complete a Pritzker-specific supplemental application. The program will pay a $2,000 stipend to students for supporting costs associated with participation at the end of the rotation.

Please use the link above to check on the status of the program as the pandemic develops.

Learn more about where people in our department volunteer.

Ombuds Program

The DEI Steering Committee has officially launched an “Ombuddies” program, which provides faculty and staff with the opportunity to communicate candidly with a select group of surgical leaders to address positive or negative experiences within the Department. Anyone can reach out if they have questions, comments, or just need a sounding board to discuss an issue.


Our Work

The DEI Steering Committee oversees our commitment to this mission through six domains that are integrated into our everyday work:

  1. Clinical Care, Access, and Continuity: Providing equitable care and integrating social determinants of health into our practice
  2. Communications: Highlighting our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through formal and informal communications and celebrating our accomplishments within the work environment
  3. Community Engagement and Activism: Building trust with members of our community and advocating for change
  4. Education and Evaluation: Upgrading our curricula for trainees, faculty, and staff, addressing bias in recruitment and evaluation, and teaching anti-racism
  5. Hiring, Career Development, and Promotion: Recruiting diverse clinicians and staff, mentoring, and creating avenues for career development
  6. Wellness: Mitigating psychological distress associated with bias or discrimination

We’re very appreciative of the robust enthusiasm from our amazing DEI subcommittee members; many of our subcommittees have grown substantially within the past few months! Through our educational discussions and significant initiatives, it is our hope that DEI stays embedded in all the work that we do – in the OR, clinic, and beyond. We must remain dedicated to our DEI mission, and understand that the structure needs to evolve like an ecosystem; we’re all in this together. To that end, as we strive to strengthen all aspects of inclusion both within our department and beyond, support from the DOS community is critical.

Email us at if you're interested in joining one of our subcommittees!


World-renowned Gender Affirmation Surgeon Joins the Department of Surgery!

Dr. Ervin Kocjancic joins us from University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was Professor of Surgery. He specializes in pelvic health, Urinary incontinence, and reconstructive Urology. Dr. Kocjancic is an international expert in gender affirmation surgery. In collaboration with multiple UChicago subspecialties, he will expand the Gender Affirmation Program at UChicago, launch an LGBTQ+ friendly urology clinic, and revitalize the UChicago cancer survivorship program. Welcome to the Department of Surgery, Dr. Kocjancic. We're lucky to have you!


The Department of Surgery Gets "Deep" with New Podcast!

What are the conversations happening in and outside of the operating room, between surgeons, that matter to patients? Our Surgery residents have seen how attitudes and biases towards marginalized people lead to poor health outcomes. Bringing these conversations between surgeons outside the operating room, Deep Cuts is the newest podcast from The University of Chicago Department of Surgery exploring why diversity, equity, and inclusion matter in surgery, and how these topics impact the patients and community served on the South Side of Chicago. You can check out the podcast here!


STEM-Out Mexico Program

Since 2018, Sonia has organized the annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation Outreach (STEM-Out) Mexico program, funded by the Provost's Global Faculty Awards, which provides training for UChicago graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in STEM communication and outreach in an international environment.

STEM-Out Mexico has opened opportunities for UChicago graduate students and postdocs to get formal training in how to develop and implement scientific curricula in an international setting. Sonia knows from her own experience the positive impact these opportunities have in the professional career of scientists. She has been able to strengthen her resume, develop new collaborations, attract resources, among other relevant impacts in her career.

“International collaborations have already resulted in a Mexican PhD student contributing to a research project in my lab, recruitment of a postdoctoral fellow, and generating new questions and approaches to research that would not have been possible otherwise.”