Dear AUGS Members,
It appears that COVID has not been the only concern that is affecting us as a country, but global warming and its winter sequelae are also visiting many of us with a vengeance! I hope that everyone continues to keep themselves and their family healthy and happy despite these and other challenges.
I am excited to report to you the efforts of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness (DEI) Task Force. At the recent Board meeting, Gina Northington and Elisa Trowbridge as Co-Chairs, provided an overview of this work effort on behalf of the entire task force. This has been a thoughtful and thought-provoking experience that will help AUGS members at all levels of our professional endeavors and has resulted in a new AUGS DEI Statement and updated Member Code of Conduct. The findings from the past fall's Climate Survey resulted in an action plan including five key areas:
- Leadership and Engagement: Creation of a professional culture that promotes ongoing conversation regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice within the AUGS board, committees, and member communities.
- Knowledge and Education: Provide consistent educational opportunities to ensure professionals in the field of urogynecology have the knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality, culturally competent, and equitable care.
- Research: Promote the scholarship of under-represented health care professionals and scientists. Support research dedicated to addressing the needs of marginalized populations.
- Recognition: Designate days for formal acknowledgment of enslaved women subjected to abuse in the name of advancing science.
- Advocacy: Engage, partner, and invest in the work of community-based organizations, advocates, and activists promoting inclusiveness and advancing access to health care for all women. Leverage relationships with governmental agencies and private industry to reduce health inequities.
Some immediate action items from the Action Plan that will be advanced include:
- Formation of a writing group of DEI Task Force members to publish the results of the climate survey, DEI statement, action plan, and overall process used to accomplish this work.
- Formation of a permanent DEI Committee to continue to advance the action plan as developed by the task force. We are currently seeking members to join this new committee. If you are interested in serving, please click here.
- Creation of the Anarcha, Betsey, Lucy, et al (ABLE) Endowed Lectureship starting in 2021
I applaud the work of the DEI Task Force and am thankful for these efforts that should benefit the entire Society.