Mid-Atlantic Section's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives

By: Thomas Guzzo, MD, MPH | Posted on: 01 Apr 2022

As Secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Urological Association (MA-AUA) it is an honor to highlight our section’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. There is strong and committed support from our sectional leadership to maintain, grow and further expand diversity at the sectional level. We are proud of the diversity we have on our Board of Directors with regard to gender, race and practice setting, which allows for diverse perspectives and ideas that drive our section forward clinically, academically and educationally. The MA-AUA Board has also recognized the importance of diversity in its approach to honoring its outstanding membership highlighted by our section’s 2 AUA Award recipients. We are honored to be represented by Dr. Arthur L. Burnett, this year’s recipient of the Hugh Hampton Young Award, and Dr. Kirsten L. Greene, this year’s recipient of the AUA Mid-Career Award.

The AUA has taken several important and notable steps to address diversity and inclusion in our organization such as creation of the AUA Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and last year’s inaugural diversity and inclusion focus issue of AUANews. While these are commendable first steps, there is still much work to be done to bridge the equity gap in urology and within our organization.

“There are many important areas where we can place our time and focus to improve equity within urology and the AUA.”

There are many important areas where we can place our time and focus to improve equity within urology and the AUA. While supporting, retaining and promoting our current underrepresented colleagues and trainees in urology is an important and self-evident strategy, this simply will not be enough to narrow the gap. Studies of our own training programs have demonstrated a lower proportion of underrepresented minority trainees in urology relative to some of our peers in surgical and medical training.1 There is a clear need to expand the pipeline of underrepresented minorities in urology, and early exposure is paramount. With this in mind, the Mid-Atlantic section has funded and established a Pre-Medicine Enrichment Program (PEP). The MA-AUA PEP is a scholarship program developed with the goal of empowering historically underrepresented minorities who are first generation undergraduate students considering a career in medicine. Recipients of this scholarship will be enrolled in a mentoring and support program that focuses on developing key skills within 4 core areas essential to a successful career in medicine. The 4 core pillars include academic study, career planning, personal growth and scientific research. The selected undergraduate will participate in an 8-week mentorship and support experience during the summer of their second year of undergraduate studies. The 8-week experience will include a research project, clinical shadowing and biweekly mentorship meetings. The MA-AUA has allocated approximately $100,000 over the next 3 years to financially support section programs that serve as hosts for participants in this program. The program has built-in flexibility to meet each scholar’s unique needs and goals. This flexibility will also allow us to use feedback from the initial scholars themselves to shape the goals and direction of the program as it grows and matures. Ultimately, if successful, we will explore philanthropic opportunities to ensure the long-term viability of the program.

Census data from the AUA have clearly demonstrated a need to broaden underrepresented populations in our field. The MA-AUA section is committed to creating an environment of inclusiveness for its membership. Creating an environment that fosters diversity and inclusion will allow us to bring colleagues to the table with wide ranging ideas, energy and collective experiences that can only serve to elevate an already outstanding surgical subspecialty. Additionally, we are focused on supporting programs, such as PEP, that can generate early exposure to urology for underrepresented groups where barriers to such exposures may have existed in the past, which will ultimately expand our future applicant pool. It is very clear that a rising tide will raise all ships in urology.

  1. Shantharam G, Tran TY, McGee H et al: Examining trends in underrepresented minorities in urology residency. Urology 2019; 127: 36.
Top 300x250:
Bottom 300x250: