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  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

  • AAST's mission of inclusion and diversity is accomplished through the following:

    • Creating, welcoming, and actively promoting diversity within its membership and leadership
    • Ensuring transparency and equity in all decisions related to scholarships, membership, and leadership positions
    • Actively promoting diversity in programming and participation in the Annual Scientific Meeting
    • Initiation of educational efforts aimed at eliminating health inequities and increasing cultural awareness within the profession of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
    • Advocating for issues that affect disadvantaged patient populations
    • Striving to dismantle systemic inequities that influence the work of the organization
    • Providing career development opportunities for surgeon scholars and leaders from diverse backgrounds
    • Further developing diverse representation on the editorial boards of both AAST journals, TSACO and JTACS.

    Inaugural Annual Diversity, Equity,
    and Inclusion Networking Breakfast

    Calling all surgical trainees and faculty members! Are you looking to connect with members of the acute care surgery community who are interested in championing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field including our very own AAST leadership? Look no further! You’re invited to an exclusive networking breakfast hosted by esteemed AAST members and faculty passionate about fostering a diverse and inclusive surgical community. The event will feature small, round table, moderated discussions with trainees and surgeons at all career stages, offering guidance on DEI research in acute care surgery. Participants can expect valuable mentorship and conversations with senior members of the field, as well as personal and professional development advice from AAST members and leaders. Breakfast will be provided in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Discussion topics will include mentorship, health disparities and health equity research, health services and outcomes research, and career development/professional development.

    AAST’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and Associate Member Council Diversity Essay Contest

    DEI Essay Contest 1

    The AAST’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and Associate Member Council are hosting an essay contest for medical students, residents, and fellows as a part of this year’s 83rd Annual Meeting of AAST & Clinical Congress of Acute Care Surgery. The contest serves to give voice to underrepresented medical students, residents, and fellows, and promote diversity within the field of acute care surgery. The winners of this contest will have their essays published in Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open and receive registration and two (2) nights of housing at the 2025 Annual Meeting.

    AAST/SBAS Visiting Professorship Program

    The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma DEI Committee partnered with the Society of Black Academic Surgeons to promote the careers of early to mid-career AAST-SBAS members and recognize academic excellence. This professorship will provide an active member of AAST and SBAS at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor who is within 15 years of their faculty appointment the opportunity to serve as a Visiting Professor for the Department of Surgery at a host institution. The host institution will sponsor the visiting professor visit over a 2-day period and provide opportunities for the visiting professor to not only to give Grand Rounds, but provide other opportunities for mentorship and involvement with students, residents, and faculty.

    2023 Visiting Professor and Host Institution 

    Randi Smith head shot dec 2021    Picture1

    Randi N. Smith, MD, MPH             

    Dr. Randi N. Smith is an Associate Professor of Surgery and serves as a trauma surgeon and surgical ICU doctor at Grady Memorial Hospital. She has published numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts on violence prevention, global surgery, and clinical outcomes with a focus on understanding the social determinants of health that lead to trauma and health disparities. Dr. Smith has been awarded for her involvement in pipeline programs aiding in bridging the gap between youth from backgrounds underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) and the medical field. She has founded and is Medical Director of The IVYY Project, a hospital-based violence intervention program at Grady.

    2024 Visiting Professor and Host Institution 

    mbaka-maryann  Picture2

    Dr. Maryann Mbaka is an assistant professor at the University of South Alabama, Department of Surgery and serve as a trauma surgeon within the Division of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery & Burns. She graduated from Northwestern State University with Bachelor of Science degrees with honors in Mathematics and Biology. Dr. Mbaka attended University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for Medical School. She completed her residency training at UCSF-East Bay and Critical Care fellowship at University of Florida-Gainesville. 

    AAST/PTS Pipeline Program

    CONGRATULATIONS to the AAST’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee as one of the awarded recipients for the 2021-2022 inaugural Board of Regents Innovative Grant for DEI & Anti-Racism on behalf of the American College of Surgeons. The $50,000 grant awarded by the College will be matched by the AAST and the co-sponsoring societies including the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma [ACS COT] and the Pediatric Trauma Society [PTS]. The committee has accomplished the following goals and looks forward to achieving even more:

    • Introduced and developed the Pipeline Program to establish a strategic mentoring and professional development program for racially/ethnically underrepresented middle and high school students interested in surgery, trauma, and medicine

    • Developed a pipeline of under-represented racial/ethnic minority medical students, residents, and in-training fellows interested in surgery, trauma, and medicine

    Committee chair, Dr. Cherisse Berry, presented a poster at ACS 2023 Clinical Congress covering the great progress the Pipeline Program has achieved since it's inception. The poster can be viewed here.

    Statement of Principles Regarding Meeting Location

    Included in the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma's (AAST) mission statement is a dedication to diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI). Furthermore, the purpose of the Annual Meeting is outlined as "a forum for scientific presentations, exchange of ideas and techniques, and continuing medical education." To be consistent with our commitment to DEl, we believe when choosing locations, the Annual Meeting should consider locations which embrace DEI, but we recognize that systemic inequities are rampant and no location is completely equitable. For this reason, the AAST will strive to embrace diversity by considering a potential location's commitment to DEl initiatives. Additionally, the AAST will attempt to integrate the Annual Meeting's programming into local programs with the aim of combating inequities and advancing DEI for members of the community.

    Statement on Domestic Terrorism

    The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) condemns all acts of domestic terrorism, discrimination, and racism. The AAST calls on our political and community leaders to produce solutions to these persistent acts of hate that prevent individual members of society from diverse backgrounds from living their lives without fear of violence.

    Statement on Proposed JTACS and TSACO Editorial Consideration

    The AAST aspires for our journals to be diverse, equitable, and inclusive. To achieve this goal, the Editors in Chief will develop and adhere to processes, practices, and policies aimed at removing barriers for underrepresented groups in the publication of scientific research. Additionally, the journals will publish content reflecting this commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within the field of Acute Care Surgery.

    Recent Lunch Sessions and Publications

    • Cutting Edge Articles
      • “Allocating a Scare Resource and the Importance of Mentorship and DEI”
      • “A Reflection on Definitions and Meaning”
      • “Fixing the Leaky Pipeline to Careers in Surgery: A Longitudinal Mentoring Program for High School Students”
      • “Supporting Intersectionality in Trauma Surgery”

    • Lunch Sessions
      • “Solutions to Achieving Health Equity and Eliminating Health Care Disparities within Acute Care Surgery”; Presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting 
      • “Quality Care is Equitable Care: A Call to Action to Link Quality to Achieving Health Equity within Trauma and Acute Care Surgery”; Presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting and Manuscript published to TSACO

    DEI Call for Volunteers

    The AAST’S DEI Committee is seeking volunteers to be a part of this committee to help aid, drive, and execute important upcoming projects including the ACS Board of Regents Innovative Grant for DEI & Anti-Racism. The sub-committees that members can volunteer for include the below. If you would like to be a committee member but do not have a preference on which sub-committee you are placed on, that is fine.

    • Communication and Education
      • Liaison to the Communication committee
      • Developing content for Cutting Edge, Tools for Acute Care Surgery (TACS), and social media
      • DEI Essay Contest for medical students, residents, and fellows
      • Virtual Grand Rounds- cultural complications
      • Submitting Program Proposals for the annual meeting
    • Communication and Advocacy
      • Publicize DEI accomplishments- DEI committee, members, organization
      • Highlight/spotlight members from URM groups- cross post with SBAS, LSS, SAAS, AWS
      • Rapid communication response to DEI-related events
    • Outreach
      • Seek outside grants, programs, etc. that can help aide in AAST’s DEI initiatives
      • DEI Innovative grant (announcement after 11/2)
    • Mentorship
      • Visiting Professorships- SBAS, LSS, SAAS
      • Outreach to other societies
      • Pathway to leadership formal mentorship program
    • Research
      • Liaison to the MICT committee
      • Research demographics of the organization- membership, and leadership
      • Creation of Speakers Resource List
      • DEI Research Grant/Scholarship (health disparities/health inequities) – Research and Education Committee

    Please contact Sharon Gautschy if you wish to be placed on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

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