We Celebrate 100 Years of the South Central Section of the AUA with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By: Fernando J. Kim, MD, MBA, FACS | Posted on: 01 Apr 2022

The South Central Section of the AUA (SCSAUA) is the most ethnically diverse section of the AUA, with approximately 1,500 members from 8 states and 7 countries including Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua (fig. 1).1

Figure 1. The 2020–2021 Executive Committee showing their 100th meeting spirit. Left to right, James Cummings (Past President), Fernando J. Kim (Secretary), Mike Cookson (President), Ajay Nangia (Treasurer), John Davis (President-Elect).

During the 2021 annual section meeting preparation, the SCSAUA Executive Committee (fig. 2) decided to create the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Figure 2. Map of South Central Section of the AUA.1

“This initiative is vital to help us understand and identify specific challenges and issues that underrepresented groups encounter in our section to advocate a culture of inclusion.”

This initiative is vital to help us understand and identify specific challenges and issues that underrepresented groups encounter in our section to advocate a culture of inclusion. Moreover, the planning of the scientific committee of the 100th Annual Meeting of the SCSAUA was very attentive and meticulous in order to be diverse and inclusive.

The 100th Annual Meeting of the SCSAUA was held in Scottsdale, Arizona from September 29 through October 2, 2021, following COVID-19 safety precautions. We commemorated the centenary of the SCSAUA and “Celebrated Diversity” with an exciting scientific and social program that culminated with the inaugural session on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Fernando J. Kim, MD, MBA, FACS moderated the session titled “Diversity in Urology: How the SCS Can Lead the Way.” The guest speakers were Steven Kaplan, MD, who lectured on “AUA Initiatives to Address Diversity and Inclusion,” and Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, FACS, who presented “Playbook to Enhance Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity on a Department and Care Center Level.”2

“Female urologists expressed concerns and challenges in academic practice and the lack of mentors to help them promote their careers.”

The discussion generated by the presentations was engaging and informative. It made us pause to reflect on comments and questions from the audience that merit the attention and future actions from the SCSAUA to address DEI issues. Female urologists expressed concerns and challenges in academic practice and the lack of mentors to help them promote their careers.

Figure 3. In-person panels were augmented by virtual connections to speakers who could not attend.

The faculty was composed of 120 urologists from academic centers, private practices, Veterans Affairs and safety net hospitals targeting the inclusion of underrepresented groups in our section. We had 21% female faculty and 32% ethnic minority faculty in attendance. Of all discussion panels, 41% had female urologists (fig. 3).3

During the conference, the DEI committee, consisting of Drs. Max Gallegos, Frances Alba, Julie Riley, Elizabeth Malm-Buatsi and Fernando J. Kim, concluded that the SCSAUA should provide DEI education to our members regarding challenges that underrepresented minorities face in our specialty in our section.

The DEI initiative will include creating data collection and analysis surveys to determine the need for change, study strategies to implement actions and creation of recommendations affecting DEI policies and practices.

Reading the article from Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS titled “AUA Announces Diversity and Inclusion Task Force” in the April 2021 issue of AUANews 4 made me remember very similar instances when implicit biases disrespected and insulted different cultures, ethnicities, sex, age and other characteristics that create diversity without equity or inclusion. In conclusion, we should not miss the opportunity to learn and build the capabilities needed to engender DEI with an aim of fostering an enduring process to promote equality, fairness of opportunity, inclusive leadership, openness and freedom from bias and discrimination.

  1. American Urological Association: South Central Section. 2021. Available at https://www.auanet.org/membership/who-we-are/aua-sections-and-demographics/south-central-section.
  2. South Central Section: 2021 Presentations. 2021. Available at https://scsaua.org/meetings/past-meetings/2021presentations/saturday.aspx.
  3. Davis JW: President’s Message. South Central Section of the American Urological Association 2022. Available at https://scsaua.org/about-us/president-s-message.aspx.
  4. Downs TM: AUA announces Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. AUANews 2021; 26: 1.
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