AUA Northeastern Section Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives

By: Jodi K. Maranchie, MD, FACS | Posted on: 01 Apr 2022

The AUA Northeastern Section (NSAUA) straddles the Canadian border, representing upstate New York, western Pennsylvania and Canada from Manitoba to the Atlantic coast, with membership hovering around 50% U.S. and 50% Canadian (see figure). This position offers unique opportunities and challenges. The smallest section at about 1,000 members, the NSAUA is home to 5 U.S. and 11 Canadian residency programs. At present, 16% of our total membership is female, including 10% of urologists and 27% of trainees. Dr. Anne-Marie Houle was our first female president in 2008. Our current president, Dr. Julie Franc-Guimond, is the second. The Executive Board in 2022 is 50% female, and women fill 20% of committee positions and represent 30% of invited faculty in the scientific program.

Figure. NSAUA geographical membership breakdown.

The NSAUA has a strong tradition of research support through both our annual Datta G. Wagle Young Investigator Award (which has been granted twice to women over the past decade) and 2 sponsored AUA Foundation grants, most recently awarded to Drs. Wei Chen and Nicolas Montalbetti. We are equally proud of our AUA Leadership Program participants, who have included 3 women and one Black male–all of whom have gone on to serve in section leadership. Opportunities are balanced whenever feasible between nationality and gender, and participation is open to urologists of all ages.

Although we are fortunate to have diverse gender and cultural backgrounds represented at the leadership level,1 the racial make-up of the overall NSAUA membership is not known. Plans to establish a committee devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion were on the agenda for the March board meeting. One charge for this group is to survey the membership for self-identification and needs, which we hope will help direct future endeavors and accessibility.

Another important NSAUA initiative has been the translation of AUA Foundation patient education materials into French to make them available to our French-speaking patients and physicians. This has been organized as a volunteer effort with members donating their time to improve and promote inclusivity.

Under Dr. Franc-Guimond’s leadership, the NSAUA Scientific Committee has developed a dedicated diversity, equity and inclusion panel for the annual scientific meeting. This year’s inaugural panel, which will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 27–29, will feature Dr. Melanie Morris of Winnipeg, Manitoba presenting her work on culturally directed care. Dr. Morris is a Métis and the first indigenous pediatric surgeon in Canada. She is a recognized mentor to indigenous medical students and trainees, and she participates in the anti-racism “Medallion Project.” She works directly with indigenous parents, children and Elders to evaluate hospital spaces and create an environment where indigenous children and their families can feel safe. Dr. Morris has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women for her work and ongoing efforts to center care on the cultural needs of her patients. We anticipate an engaging and informative session and hope that you will join us.

  1. The Northeastern Section of the American Urological Association: Board of Directors. Available at https://nsaua.org/about/board.aspx.
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