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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:

  • Election Day, November 8th - VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! 
     
  • Hearing One Another, November 9th., 10th – 11:30AM - Hearing One Another introduces practical approaches to help people develop effective communication and listening skills. The UChicago Inclusion Workshops series aims to create a more inclusive campus climate. These workshops were developed by the Second Science Project, which was founded at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in collaboration with the Second City. The workshops combine behavioral science with improvisational practice to cultivate insights and interpersonal skills central to understanding and relating to one another across dimensions of diversity. Register Here!
     
  • Inclusion in Practice, November 10th, 10AM – 12:00PM - This workshop is the second in the Inclusion Workshop series and provides practical approaches to help people learn from and appreciate one other’s differences. The UChicago Inclusion Workshop series aims to create a more inclusive campus climate. These workshops were developed by the Second Science Project, which was founded at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in collaboration with the Second City. The workshops combine behavioral science with improvisational practice to cultivate insights and interpersonal skills central to understanding and relating to one another across dimensions of diversity. Register Here!

Ongoing Events:

Physician/Resident Mentors Needed for LMSA program - The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) has just launched their National Mentorship Program. This program connects pre-medical students, medical students and physicians with mentors/mentees for 1 on 1 mentorship. For more information, please check out the google form here!

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.

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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 dei@bsd.uchicago.edu if you're interested in joining one of our subcommittees!

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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!

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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!

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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.”