BALTIMORE, Feb. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Urological Association (AUA) announced a milestone in its implementation of key diversity and inclusion initiatives that reaffirm the AUA's commitment to being a fully inclusive, deliberately diverse and equitable organization that respects and values its membership, staff and the urologic communities it serves worldwide.
The AUA Board recognizes that a culturally aware and diverse membership is integral to the evolution and growth of the organization as well as the specialty of urology. To that end, in December of 2020, the AUA announced the formation of a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Task Force with a charge to develop actionable recommendations for the Board by February 2022. The Task Force was made up of 14 AUA members representing the breadth, depth and diversity of urology. Tracy M. Downs, MD, chaired the Task Force and Simone Thavaseelan, MD, was vice-chair.
At the February 2022 AUA Board meeting, the D&I Task Force presented, and the Board approved, a series of high-level recommendations to enhance diversity and inclusion in various aspects of the AUA and the urologic community. These recommendations were organized into five focus areas (Just and Inclusive Environment, Diversity in the Workplace, Structural Competence, Advocacy and Research).
A key outcome of the Task Force's recommendations is the establishment via the AUA Bylaws of a formal, standing AUA Diversity and Inclusion Committee to advise the Board and other AUA leadership on D&I initiatives and help implement other Board-approved recommendations. The chair of the committee will hold the position of AUA Chief Diversity Officer and will consult regularly with the AUA Board. Details of the structure, composition and mission of this committee will be developed and announced in the coming months. Other key areas of focus will include:
- establishing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) award to recognize members' efforts and achievements in DEI;
- enhancing AUA surveys and databases to include collection of voluntary demographic information;
- creating mentorship opportunities for underrepresented individuals in urology;
- establishing a DEI abstract category for the AUA Annual Meeting;
- incorporating DEI and health disparities in AUA educational programming; and
- increasing diversity among researchers at every stage of the career journey.
"The Board made an intentional decision to ensure that the AUA would be a leader in advancing D&I initiatives in the urology community. Key to that leadership was the commitment to lead by example," stated AUA President Raju Thomas, MD, FACS, FRCS, MHA. "The work that Drs. Tracy Downs and Simone Thavaseelan and the entire D&I Task Force did was indeed impressive, and in line with the entire AUA organization's expectation. The Board is inspired by their recommendations and looking forward to implementing them over the coming years."
As evidence of this commitment, the AUA is proud to adopt the Diversity Statement developed by the D&I Task Force (www.AUAnet.org/Diversity-Statement). "I am proud of the work that the Task Force did and the recommendations we put forth to the AUA Board. I am also honored to be part of an association that is willing to face the gaps in diversity and inclusion within the organization and the community and commit to being a force of change," said Tracy M. Downs, MD, chair of the AUA D&I Task Force. "The adoption of this Diversity Statement and the creation of a standing Diversity & Inclusion committee are the first of many steps we will be making together to ensure the urologic community is a diverse and inclusive one."
The AUA will work as an organization and with others in the urologic community to implement the recommendations presented by the D&I Task Force and approved by the Board. The AUA recognizes that the strength of any community is rooted in diversity and is committed to leading the way in advancing diversity and inclusion within urology.
About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology and has nearly 24,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.
Caitlin Lukacs, Corporate Communications and Media Relations Manager
SOURCE American Urological Association