Initiatives from the New York Section on Diversity and Inclusion

By: Peter N. Schlegel, MD | Posted on: 01 Apr 2022

The New York Section of the AUA has had a long emphasis on enhancing diversity and inclusion within its membership as well as leadership. The current New York Section Board is the most diverse group that we have had as leadership in the history of this longstanding section of the AUA. The leadership group is the result of a series of deliberate choices to better represent those who have traditionally been underrepresented in medicine.

In addition to leadership diversity in the New York Section of the AUA, it is important to remember that our section leadership works in concert with the leadership of the Section of Urology of the New York Academy of Medicine. Not only does the New York Academy of Medicine have a very diverse leadership, but they also administer medical student and other research fellowships that take a proactive role in identifying qualified candidates who have been underrepresented in medicine (URiM), starting with their medical student scholarship programs.

In consideration of the importance of supporting URiM medical students before they have made subspecialty choices, the New York Section has made the choice to invest funding support for a new Summer Medical Student Fellowship that will provide specific priority to minorities and underrepresented researchers for funding. The program provides a $4,000 stipend for the medical student or fellow to engage in basic, translational, clinical or health services urological research in an academic laboratory of a medical facility in the New York Section. The program is administered in collaboration with the Urology Care Foundation, which will assist with application review and applicant selection based on the New York Section’s guidelines.

In order to help minority medical students identify urology as a specialty that is attractive, these funding initiatives in New York link mentors with students to enhance the likelihood that URiM students will enter our specialty. Although additional programs support residents and early career attendings in New York, the early identification of medical students to guide their career development pathway was a key goal of developing this program and providing funding for these scholarships. Medical student scholarships are an important opportunity for career development, especially for URiM students in whom the New York Section is actively investing to change the proportion of practicing minority urologists who are currently underrepresented in our field. This scholarship program, developed in collaboration with the Urology Care Foundation, is a model for other sections to support increased participation of minority students in urology.

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