Diversity and Inclusion Educational Aids

The Society for Education in Anesthesia Diversity and Inclusion Committee is compiling and disseminating educational aids on Diversity and Inclusion on a monthly basis.

May 2024: "Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month"

Submitted by Dr. Odinakachukwu Ehie, MD, FASA. Associate Professor of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, Division of Pediatric Anesthesia. Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco. Head of Clinical Skills, UC Berkeley - UCSF Joint Medical Program. Vice Chair, Society of Pediatric Anesthesia Committee of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Chair, Society of Education in Anesthesia, Committee of Global Health, Immediate Past Chair, California Society of Anesthesiologists Committee of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is an annual observance in the United States dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. Occurring in May, this month honors the rich diversity of communities and cultures that are under the AAPI umbrella, including but not limited to East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander descent.

AAPI Heritage Month serves as a critical time for reflection on the historical and contemporary experiences of AAPI individuals. It acknowledges the myriad ways through which these communities have enriched American society, from advancements in science, education, and technology to notable achievements in arts, humanities, and governance. This period of recognition also provides an opportunity to address the social injustices, discrimination, and unique challenges faced by AAPI communities.

Importantly, AAPI Heritage Month encourages a comprehensive understanding of the stories and experiences that form the backdrop of the AAPI community's presence in America. It is a call to action to continue advocating for equity, justice, and inclusivity, ensuring that the voices and experiences of AAPI individuals are recognized not only in the realm of historical contributions but also in the ongoing narrative of American life.

In celebrating AAPI Heritage Month, we are reminded of the strength found in diversity and the ongoing need to foster understanding and solidarity across all communities. It is a reaffirmation of our commitment to uphold the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and to champion the varied and vital roles AAPI communities play in shaping the social, economic, and cultural fabric of our nation.

Please spend a few minutes to listen to this TEDx talk by Sophia Antoun, Ohio State University

April 2024: "World Autism awareness day"

Submitted by: Laura Pinault, MD. Associate Professor, Vice Chair of Education and Program Director at the University of Kentucky

“Being disabled is the one group that you don’t have to be born into -you can become disabled at any time. So, my fight for equality and disability justice should be your fight, because you may very well become a person with disability one day." 

Ola Ojewumi, Founder and Director of Project Ascend

On April 2nd we celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, which invites us to think more broadly about the community of persons with disabilities. A lot of traditional DEIJ advocacy has not been focused on the disabled community. This is perhaps due to a perception that disabilities are individual biological conditions and not often recognized as group identities [1]. Yet, disabilities can be viewed as forms of natural human diversity. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 42.5 million Americans live with disabilities [2]. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2023, 22.5 percent of people with a disability were employed—the highest recorded ratio since comparable data were first collected in 2008 [3]. However, unemployment rates were much higher for people with a disability than for those with no disability across all educational attainment groups [3]. “Ableism” is a term that describes discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities [3]. Ableism characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities and as inferior to the non-disabled [3]. Unfortunately, it is a pervasive attitude within our culture. However, as the quotation above aptly summarizes, disabilities are common within the human experience and happen across the spectrum of lifespans. Including the voices of the disabled in our communities and workspaces will inevitably lead to greater understanding of human needs. It would follow that inclusion would also lead to better solutions for problems faced by the disabled community.

I encourage you to reflect on the needs of our disabled communities and watch this wonderful video produced by DohaDebates entitled “My Disability Justice, Journeys of Empowerment.”


  1. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/11/12/could-disability-be-further-included-diversity-efforts
  2. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/07/24/8-facts-about-americans-with-disabilities/#:~:text=Overall%2C%20there%20are%20about%2042.5,care%20or%20independent%20living%20difficulties.
  3. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm
  4. https://cdrnys.org/blog/uncategorized/ableism/

March 2024: "A diverse team, teamwork, and outcomes"

Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD, Associate Professor, Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

In Harvard Business Review’s, The Secrets of Great Teamwork, the authors discuss the work of J. Richard Hackman to describe the basics of team effectiveness: a compelling direction, a strong structure, a supportive context and a 4th important condition, a shared mindset.1 A strong structure describes teams that have a mix of members for a more balanced set of skills.

Diversity in knowledge, views, and perspectives, as well as in age, gender, and race, can help teams be more creative and avoid groupthink.1

Dr. Katherine Phillips took a deeper dive to understand better the relationship between diversity and outcomes. She gives a wonderful summary of her story and her path to understanding how diversity works in her Ted style talk in the Talks at Columbia series. https://youtu.be/lHStHPQUzkE

With a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Stanford, Dr. Phillips a Professor at Columbia Business School until her death in Jan 2020 at the age of 47, spent most of her career looking for a causal relationship between diversity and outcomes.2 She placed people with their own individual perspectives in rooms and provided these participants with unique pieces of information toward solving a problem.3,4 She would then manipulate the groups in the rooms: homogenous vs diverse (she defined diverse on a superficial level, i.e., race as well as a deeper level i.e., convictions, politics). Some of her conclusions:

  • Diverse groups work harder than homogenous groups.
    • They share information better and they are more open to other viewpoints.
  • Diverse groups are more likely to share the unique information and perspectives that they have when they see that there are surface (superficial) differences among them.
  • Diversity serves as a trigger that leads to more conflict and better outcomes.

‘Everyone changes their behavior when in the presence of diversity’4
Dr. Katherine Phillips
While Dr. Phillips’ work focused on the business side of society, I can only imagine the benefits of a more diverse group of healthcare providers on the outcomes of our patients.

  1. https://hbr.org/2016/06/the-secrets-of-great-teamwork
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/business/katherine-w-phillips-dead.html
  3. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JdDPYFPwUo

February 2024: "Black History Month"

Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD, MS, MPH, FASA, Professor of Anesthesiology Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Vice Chair Clinical Operations and Director DEI Anesthesiology, Montefiore Health System

February is Black History Month – a time to celebrate the culture of Black people across the diaspora. Art, across all ethnicities, is a language that speaks to an individual in their own dialect. We are living in a time of wars, retrenchment of freedoms, unstable political climate, global warming, and general dismissal of human life. Through all of this upheaval, art brings beauty.

Clavers Odhiambo is a Kenyan fine artist specializing in realistic oil painting since 2014. He creates life like paintings of human figures and portraits.

Please spend 5 minutes looking at the video below of Clavers creating an extraordinary portrait. See if you can guess who it is! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcjTyNiI6Wg

January 2024: “How racism makes us sick”

Submitted by: Isabel Pesola, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Westchester Medical Center, NYMC, Valhalla, NY

TED Talk by David R. Williams, Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard's T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University.


Why does race matter so profoundly for health?

In this TED talk, David R. Williams asks: What if we decided to tackle the striking levels of early death and poor health that are due to the color of one's skin?

Income status and education matter in health outcomes, but there is more to the story. Life expectancy is markedly reduced for blacks compared to whites, regardless of education status; i.e a white high school grad lives longer than a college educated black, at any level of education.

Why does race matter to life expectancy? Factors like implicit bias, residential segregation and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality. But is there a way to measure the racism experienced by individuals? David R. Williams expands on his validated racism measuring scales, the “Major Experiences of Discrimination” and the “Everyday Racism” and presents evidence for how racism is perpetuating a rigged system.

We continue to see the impact of racism in the present of this country, but there is hope. Across America, large institutions have incorporated social intervention along with medical care, education for children of prisoners, gateway colleges, among others. We all must continue to do our part.

The Everyday Discrimination Scale and Major Experiences of Discrimination

December 2023: Understanding our Veterans

Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD, Associate Professor, Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Every year just before the start of the holiday season, the US, France, Australia, and Canada celebrate Veterans Day.1 This day formerly known as Armistice Day commemorates the beginning of the end of WWI. Armistice day became a federal holiday in the US in 1938 and after WWII and the Korean War, Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day to commemorate American veterans particularly the living who have served in the military.

Like our US population, the demographics of veterans today is also changing. Twenty percent of the over 9 million Veterans Administration healthcare users are members of racial and ethnic minorities and today women make up 10% of veterans and there are approximately 1 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterans and like all so many other people, one of their biggest concerns is healthcare.2,3 From accessing disability benefits to the slowing privatization of veteran’s healthcare to mental health to gender affirming care.4 Like the rest of our populace, disparities in care plague members of this group of patients as well.5

While 1 in 5 veterans experience PTSD, many who need treatment do not seek help.6 There is some evidence that the incidence of this chronic and disabling condition may be more common in African American veterans7. As anesthesiologists, we often include in our perioperative care a plan that includes consideration of PTSD when we know about it. While our time with patients is often brief, the perioperative period can to the veteran like many other patients be traumatizing. Trauma informed care is an approach to care that recognizes the impact of trauma and tries to promote environments that avoid re-traumatization. The links provided here provide some opportunities to understand and consider ways of mitigating the problem in our spaces. 7,8

  1. Veterans Day 2023: Founding, Fact & Meaning | HISTORY
  2. Ward RE, Nguyen XT, Li Y, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Veteran Health Characteristics. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(5):2411. Published 2021 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/ijerph18052411
  3. The Ongoing Veteran Healthcare Crisis - National League of Cities (nlc.org)
  4. The Challenges Facing the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2021 - Center for American Progress
  5. Ward RE, Nguyen XT, Li Y, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Veteran Health Characteristics. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(5):2411. Published 2021 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/ijerph18052411
  6. The stigma that stops veterans from getting help for PTSD | PBS NewsHour
  7. Coleman JA, et al. Racial differences in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms among AA and Caucasian male veterans. Traumatology. 2019;25(4): 297-302
  8. Ward RE, Nguyen XT, Li Y, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Veteran Health Characteristics. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(5):2411. Published 2021 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/ijerph18052411
  9. What Does it Mean to Be Trauma-Informed? | Psychology Today
  10. What is Trauma-Informed Care? - Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center (chcs.org)

NOVEMBER 2023: Commit to KindNess at work

Submitted by: Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE (he/him/his)

November is the month of giving thanks to ALL no matter what race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status they belong to. While I was contemplating what educational tip we should publish this month, this Harvard business review tip flew into my inbox.

Commit to Kindness at Work

When anxiety is high and morale is low, kindness isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Being kind doesn’t only benefit the people around you; research shows it also benefits your own mental health. Here’s how to be kinder at work.

First, remember that being kind to others starts with being kind to yourself. Set priorities and boundaries, and take time to recharge when you need it. Once you meet your own needs, you can turn your attention to others.

Next, be intentional about establishing and sustaining relationships at work—especially if you’re on a remote or hybrid team. Make plans to meet virtually or in person with your colleagues. Ask about their pets, their recent move, or their family. Most importantly, practice active listening. Showing someone that you genuinely care about what they have to say is an impactful display of kindness.

And don’t be shy about giving your colleagues authentic praise. Recognizing and acknowledging people lets them know you appreciate them and their contributions.

Finally, be conscientious with your feedback. When you know your teammates more deeply, you can also better understand how to offer them honest, constructive input on their work. Being kind means offering feedback for the betterment of the person receiving it—and the overall success of your company.

This tip is adapted from “Why Kindness at Work Pays Off,” by Andrew Swinand

Along with this piece, this TED talk by Raegan Hill about the power of kindness encompasses my feelings of thanks to all. In a world full of animosity, distrust, and hopelessness, kindness is the beacon of hope.

Kindness breaks language barriers, touches people from all distances, and unites us all—different or alike.

Consider kindness as part of your daily routine; positive intent rather than malice. We all need it right now, our world needs it.

October 2023: The Bias Behind Undiagnosed Chronic Pain

Submitted by: Darryl Brown, MD

According to the Centers for Disease control, approximately 20.9% of adults in the United States experience chronic pain and 6.9% of adults have high impact chronic pain, which is defined as not only pain that lasts 3 months or longer but pain that substantially limits the ability to function daily, i.e. unable to work outside the home, go to school or perform household chores.1,2 The prevalence of high impact chronic pain is higher in certain groups including older adults, females, adults who are currently unemployed, veterans, those living in poverty and those with public health insurance.3 It is clear that disparities exist in the prevalence of chronic pain among certain groups and this may be attributed to undiagnosed biases.

Dr. Sheetal Dacaria’s TED Talk, “The Bias Behind Your Undiagnosed Chronic Pain,” explores the hidden biases which come to play when treating patients with pain. Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience due to actual or perceived tissue damage and is an inherently personal and subjective experience. This experience is shaped by environmental and social cues which are influenced by one’s past experiences. For many physicians, treating pain may be challenging especially when there is no clear source of pain. Dr. Dacaria, an anesthesiologist, asserts that when there is no discernible source of pain, it becomes subject to interpretation. And when pain is open to interpretation, it becomes susceptible to undiagnosed bias. These implicit biases lead to inaccurate diagnoses and inadequate treatment for those who are suffering.

Dr. Dacaria shares her own personal experience with pain and the challenges she faced when she sought treatment. She argues that healthcare professionals must be aware of and acknowledge their biases and recognize the impact these biases that they hold have on the care of patients with chronic pain. This anesthesiologist calls upon us to have increased empathy for patients who are suffering with chronic pain to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, receives appropriate treatment of their pain.


  1. Rikard SM, Strahan AE, Schmit KM et al. Chronic Pain Among Adults- United States, 2019-2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023; 72:379-385. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7215a1
  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/research-results/prevalence-and-profile-of-high-impact-chronic-pain
  3. National Center for Health Statistics Data Presentation Standards for Proportions https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_02/sr02_175.pdf

Dr. Brown serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai Morningside and West Hospitals in NY.

SEPTEMBER 2023: AUGUST 26 is "women's equality day"

Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD

August 26th is a day to celebrate the dedication and work of women like Susan B Anthony known as a strong organizer and tactician, who together with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an educated abolitionist and strong orator and writer devoted over 50 years of their lives to women’s rights. Starting in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York with the first convention to discuss women’s suffrage, these two women provided an annual platform for speakers like Sojourner Truth, an African American who became a preacher and women’s rights advocate, to continue this important discussion. 

After the deaths of Anthony and Stanton in 1906 and 1902 respectively, the work of these two founders of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association was continued by Carrie Chapman Catt, a graduate of Iowa State University who was an outspoken suffragist who fought for peace and Dr. Alice Paul, 26 years Catt’s junior, a graduate of Swarthmore College with a master’s in Sociology and a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania; and a law degree from the Washington College of Law at American University. Dr. Paul lead rallies and hunger strikes, including picketing the White House to support this key cause in American history. African American ministers like Florence Spearing Randolph necessarily lead separate African American societies, like the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association to support this movement integral to assuring equity for all women. 

While these leaders and the many women who worked alongside them were pivotal to the final certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, this achievement would not have been possible without the support of men. In 1920, it was an overwhelmingly male Congress and 36 state legislatures that approved the 19th Amendment. Other male supporters included figures like: Daniel Anthony, Susan’s father who provided both moral and financial support; Frederick Douglass, the only African American to attend the first woman's rights convention in Seneca Falls; Dr. Peter Wilson, a member of the Cayuga Nation and the first Native American to graduate from Geneva Medical College spoke in favor of universal suffrage; and Parker Pillsbury a minister and advocate for abolition and women’s rights.

Achieving gender equity in medicine requires that we include our intersectionality. In medicine, ensuring that we, men, women, and non-binary members of different ethnicities, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic backgrounds have a voice helps to assure that our increasingly diverse population of learners and patients have the best possible experiences and outcomes.  Dr. Michael Kimmel, Professor of Sociology and Gender studies who serves as the director of the Center for the Study of Men and masculinities at Stony Brook University weighs in on the benefits of gender equity in this thoughtful and spirited TED talk.










M. Angele Theard, MD, Associate Professor, Anesthesiology, Neuroanesthesia fellowship director, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

AUGUST 2023: Continuing Our Quest for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce in the Age of the Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action

Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD

Amidst the attention medical centers across our nation are placing toward actualizing initiatives for diversifying our healthcare workforce, it is hard to ignore the recent US Supreme Court decision on Affirmative action in university admissions policies. The Supreme Court decision (6-3 in the case of University of north Carolina and 6-2 in the case of Harvard because Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from the Harvard case) handed down was that Harvard and University of North Carolina’s (UNC) admissions programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment.1 Chief Justice Roberts summarized the majority opinion: it is “unlawful for colleges to take race into consideration as a specific factor in admissions”.2 In an informational video from the American Medical Association (AMA), Dr. Sanjay Desai, AMA’s chief academic officer and group vice president of medical education and Dave Henderson, MD, AMA vice president for equity, diversity and belonging in medical education discuss the impact of the Supreme court decision on realizing more diversity in our healthcare workforce.3  Despite concerning suggestions of “color blindness” and the lack of consideration of the impact of affirmative action on increasing diversity, the need for diverse undergraduate students to apply and complete medical school and training continues.  While “race cannot be taken into consideration as a specific factor in admissions” Chief Justice Roberts in the majority opinion explains, “applicants must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual “and continues….. “universities can still consider an applicant's discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.” 2

In response to the Supreme Court decision, the Association of American Colleges supported by several other national organizations filed an Amicus brief that asks the Supreme Court to not disrupt the admissions processes that medical schools have designed based on the court’s long-standing precedents.Additionally, the AAMC has since updated its website offering insights into holistic admissions processes defined as: mission-aligned admissions or selection processes that take into consideration applicants’ experiences, attributes, and academic metrics as well as the value an applicant would contribute to learning, practice, and teaching.4 Understanding the value or assets that URiM medical students and residents bring to medicine and assuring a space in our selection process for this important consideration helps to facilitate a holistic approach to candidate selection.

As program directors make efforts to diversify their selection teams, one opportunity to understand the diverse wealth of experiences candidates may bring to your program is presented in an article by Drs. Uzendu, Boudoulas, and Capers. In addition to research experience, clinical skills, leadership ability and academic curiosity, the authors included a category: Diversity Cultural Competency Rating, which at Ohio State University has contributed to the training of at least one URiM interventional Cardiologist for 8 years in a row.  They asked candidates questions regarding experiences with community outreach and/or immersion experiences with cultures other than their own with clear scoring rubrics to help in the selection of diverse and broad-minded candidates.  Scored interview questions to identify a candidates’ understanding of health disparities integral to caring for our increasingly diverse populace are equally important (questions can easily be reframed based on specialties and level of training):  

Ask a question related to depth of understanding about racial healthcare disparities. Grade on numeric scale based on completeness and depth of knowledge.

  • Answer with only surface understanding of the problem = 1 point
  • States the problem and 1 underlying cause (SDOH, Structural racism etc) = 2 points
  • States the problem and discusses 2 or more underlying causes = 3 points

This end to the social construct of race for undergraduate admissions is an important opportunity to ensure that we continue to thoughtfully recruit, evaluate, and select the best and brightest diverse candidates.  As members of a society focused on education, patient safety, research, and leadership, we have a wonderful opportunity to share experiences and promote collaboration for understanding to support future generations of Anesthesiologists and all healthcare providers.


  1. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/22pdf/20-1199_hgdj.pdf
  2. https://www.ama-assn.org/medical-students/medical-school-life/affirmative-action-ends-how-supreme-court-ruling-impacts
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/29/politics/what-affirmative-action-ruling-does-scotus/index.html#:~:text=The%20Supreme%20Court%27s%20landmark%20decision,a%20specific%20factor%20in%20admissions.
  4. https://www.aamc.org/services/member-capacity-building/holistic-review#:~:text=Holistic%20Review%20considers%20the%20“whole,learning%2C%20practice%2C%20and%20teaching
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34037303/

 M. Angele Theard, MD Associate Prof, Anesthesiology, Neuroanesthesia Fellowship Director, APM, University of Washington, Seattle, WA


Submitted by: Josephine Hernandez, MD

Dr. Courtney Cogburn is an associate professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center. She employs a transdisciplinary research strategy to improve the characterization and measurement of racism and in examining the role of racism in the production of racial inequities in health. Dr. Cogburn’s work also explores the potential of media and technology for eradicating racism and eliminating racial inequities in health. She is the lead creator of 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality experience of racism that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. She is currently developing projects focused on Black futures, imagination, radical storytelling and healing.

She is the Chief Equity Officer and Director of Knowledge Transfer with Learning the Earth with Artificial Intelligence and Physics, an NSF Science and Technology Center. She is also the Associate Director of DEI and co-chair of the Computational Social Science working group at the Columbia Data Science Institute.

I had the pleasure of hearing about Dr. Cogburn’s work as our inaugural JEDI speaker for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Anesthesia Week Lecture series. Her virtual reality work focuses on helping us better understand the world through the eyes of marginalized group members. What was amazing was how even a short immersion into another’s skin may have lasting effects. Below I have put links to her Ted Talk and her work on virtual reality:

Cogburn, C.D., Bailenson, J.N., Ogle, E., Asher, T. & Nichols, T. (2018). 1000 cut journey. ACM SIGGRAPH (2018). Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3226552.3226575


Josephine Hernandez, MD
Vice Chair of JEDI
Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA


Submitted by: Claire Rhee, MD, Ed Nguyen, MD, Kara G. Segna, MD, Katie J. O’Conor, MD

As we enter Pride Month, we recognize its dual purpose as an opportunity to celebrate and advance equal rights, as well as to commemorate historic human rights transgressions against the LGBTQIA+ community.1 As healthcare providers, this month reminds us of the privilege we have to take care of all people no matter what their background is. The transgender population in particular has been experiencing extreme discrimination and exclusion. Numerous states have introduced anti-transgender legislation and other discriminatory laws including restrictions on important gender affirming healthcare. Despite the regressive affront of anti-transgender legislation,2 advancements in gender-affirming care have placed anesthesiologists in an ideal position to deliver groundbreaking care to improve the wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable patients.3,4

Research consistently demonstrates the safety, efficacy, and necessity of gender-affirming care. Gender-affirming care includes not only gender-affirming anatomic procedures and medical/hormonal treatment, but also using a more thorough, informed approach in all aspects of the healthcare experience for transgender patients. Even if you do not work with patients undergoing gender-affirming surgeries, you are likely still caring for transgender patients undergoing other surgeries and perioperative care.5

Transgender patients often avoid seeking medical care due to fear of discrimination and mistreatment.6 Of those that do make it into our clinics and operating rooms, one-third report negative experiences.7 Treating all patients with respect and dignity is important. 

When connecting with patients on a personal level through validation, we are actively working to improve the healthcare system that provides some of our most marginalized patients with the care they deserve.

  • Take a few minutes when meeting every patient to:
    • Introduce yourself and state your pronouns (normalizing and welcoming these disclosures)
    • Ask for the patient’s name and pronouns (and avoid using the term “preferred”)
    • Document any changes in the medical record 
  • Ask about anatomy when necessary, and with anatomical terms. This may be important when considering pre-operative pregnancy testing, airway management, sleep apnea screening, or other procedures.

  • Ask about all medications, including hormones and supplements:
    • Practice shared decision-making regarding peri-operative medication management.
    • Recognize that cessation of gender-affirming therapies may exacerbate dysphoria and comorbid mental health concerns.

  • Collect accurate, gender inclusive data (with both gender and sex assigned at birth) in all studies and surveys.

  • Take time to self-educate; when you make mistakes, apologize and correct.

  • Recognize that we don’t need to understand someone’s identity, we just need to respect it.

For more in-depth engagement on this topic, consider:  

An op-ed by a transgender medical student: https://stanforddaily.com/2023/03/05/letter-to-the-editor-in-defense-of-the-trans-agenda/

An overview of gender affirming care:

A data-based dive into the experiences of transgender adults in the US:  https://transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/usts/USTS-Full-Report-Dec17.pdf

Disclaimer: This piece represents an actionable snapshot of the authors’ perspectives and recommendations on a dynamic topic at the time of publication. 


1. Morris BJ. A brief history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender social movements. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbtq/history. Updated 2023 Mar 16. Accessed 2023 May 31. 

2. American Civil Liberties Union. Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights in U.S. State Legislatures.https://www.aclu.org/legislative-attacks-on-lgbtq-rights. Updated 2023 May 26. Accessed 2023 May 31.

3. Turban JL, King D, Kobe J, Reisner SL, Keuroghlian AS. Access to gender-affirming hormones during adolescence and mental health outcomes among transgender adults. PLoS One. 2022 Jan 12;17(1):e0261039. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0261039. 

4. Almazan AN, Keuroghlian AS. Association Between Gender-Affirming Surgeries and Mental Health Outcomes. JAMA Surg. 2021 Jul 1;156(7):611-618. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2021.0952. 

5. Segna KG, Joo SS, Stone AB. Transgender and Nonbinary Patients and Perioperative Scoring Systems: It Is Time for Inclusion. JAMA Surg. 2023 Apr 5. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2023.0259. Epub ahead of print. 

6. Grant JM, Mottet LA, Tanis J. National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care. https://cancer-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/National_Transgender_Discrimination_Survey_Report_on_health_and_health_care.pdf. 2010 October. Accessed 2023 May 31.

7. James SE, Herman, JL, Rankin S, Keisling M, Mottet L, Anafi M. The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality, 2016. 

Dr. Rhee is a Johns Hopkins Anesthesiology-Pediatrics resident physician.

Dr. Nguyen is an Assistant Professor in the Johns Hopkins Division of Ambulatory Anesthesia and a member of the anesthesia team of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender and Gender Expansive Health.

Dr. Segna is the Johns Hopkins Medicine Director of Transgender Anesthesia, Fellowship Director for Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain, Regional Anesthesia Director for Bayview Medical Center, Dual Faculty in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine College Advisor Program, and Director of the Johns Hopkins Pain Course. 

Dr. O’Conor is the Chief Diversity & Equity Officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine and a SEA DEIJ Committee Member.


Submitted by: Tomás A . Lazo, MD

Years ago, someone in school once asked me if I was doing anything to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. As a native Salvadoran, I was confused by this question and asked them to elaborate on the question. "Well, isn't that Mexican independence day?" they asked. After a deep breath I went into an explanation of incorrect assumptions that were made. Unfortunately, these microaggressions happen all the time and we can do a lot to improve the cultural awareness of our environment and our colleagues. For this month, I figured we could dispel some common myths associated with this holiday, dive into the historical relevance of Cinco de Mayo, and celebrate the richness that is Mexican culture. Below are some links that do just that, including a 1-minute and 20-minute podcast about this exact topic.

Here are the highlights that I think folks should know. Cinco de Mayo is:

  • NOT Mexican Independence Day – that is on September 16th, where the country was liberated from Spain in 1810
  • Also known as Battle of Puebla Day, noting the unlikely victory over Napoleon III’s French army in the Franco-Mexican War in 1862 in the city of Puebla
  • Not widely celebrated in Mexico, but has been Americanized as a means to celebrate Mexican culture
  • The majority of celebrations for Cinco de Mayo center around large Mexican-American populations, such as in the southwestern United States and large metropolitan areas

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/05/720376183/the-real-history-of-cinco-de-mayo (1-minute NPR audio podcast)

https://firstnamebasis.libsyn.com/211-cinco-de-mayo-is-not-mexican-independence-day (20-minute First Name Basis podcast, with additional references)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xidt-Z0icNk (YouTube video of adorable children performing a traditional Mexican dance)

I hope this serves to provide a little more information about Mexican culture and Cinco de Mayo. And fun fact, Salvadoran Independence Day is September 15th, which is shared with most other Central American countries, including Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

Tomás A. Lazo, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Division of Pediatric Anesthesia
Oregon Health & Science University


Submitted by: Isabel Pesola, MD

During the month of April, we celebrate the diversity that surrounds us all. This celebration was introduced in 2004 1 as an opportunity to honor and learn about diverse customs, cultures, and experiences. This occasion is a great time to pause to appreciate the unique backgrounds and identities of others and better leverage diverse perspectives for greater innovation, problem-solving, productivity and collaboration.2

This month, I would like to share with you a very special perspective article from the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Sara Whetstone from UCSF: “Reflections of a Black Program Director”.3 Dr. Whetstone opens up about the honor of helping to lead the training of physicians and in particular her passion about helping trainee members of underrepresented in medicine (URiM). While well-prepared for her administrative role, she shares with readers her feeling of being overwhelmed by the responsibility of her role in educating Black Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) in a system that reflects many of the inequities of the society we live in. As the only Black program director at her institution leading a majority-URiM residency program, Dr. Whetsone is aware of the expectations her residents have of her which reflect the same hopes she had as a Black woman resident: words that supported rather than questioned her competence; actions that championed rather than jeopardized her success; and efforts to promote an environment which created for her and trainees who looked like her a sense of belonging. Despite the hurt she feels when Black and Brown residents experience harm from evaluations which suggest that they are incapable of learning or nurses’ undermining of residents’ expertise in front of patients, Dr Whetsone shares with readers her determination and joy in helping to facilitate her residents’ growth and development as physician members of our society in a program that she helped to equip with the voice of URiM trainees and experiences providing racially and socially conscious care to communities.


  1. https://nationaltoday.com/celebrate-diversity-month/
  2. https://thediversitymovement.com/celebrate-diversity-month/
  3. Whetstone S., Reflections of a Black Program Director” New England Journal of Medicine, Feb 16, 2023. N Engl J Med 2023; 388:e18. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMpv2214871

Isabel Pesola, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
New York Medical College, Westchester Medical Center/Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital


Submitted by: Darryl P. Brown, MD

Gender equality month is celebrated during the month of March, with March 8th being designated as International Women’s Day. It is a time devoted to bringing attention to gender inequities and to promote equality.

Sara Sanford’s TED Talk highlights an overlooked point when discussing gender equality in the workplace. While there has been a significant increase in the presence and representation of women in the workplace, simply having women present and “tolerated” is not enough. Stanford stresses that women must be valued and given equal opportunities for advancement. This begins by first acknowledging the unconscious bias which influences the way women are perceived and treated in the workplace. Stanford argues that lasting change can only come from changes in operations which confront bias, rather than solely focusing on changing the way people think and perceive women in the workplace.


Darryl P. Brown, MD Assistant Professor
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

February 2023: Black History Month

Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD MS MPH  CBA FASA 

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Despite significant contributions to the fabric of the United States, African Americans still feel ostracized and displaced from the country that they helped build and fought for. 

I, Too, a poem by Langston Hughes clearly reflects the feelings of African Americans. Please see below the prose to I, Too and a link to a short pictogram with audio of the poem.

I, Too

I too sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes,
But I laugh , and eat well, and grow strong
Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes
Nobody will dare say to me eat in the kitchen 
Besides they’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed
I too am America.                                           

By Langston Hughes



https://www.history.com/topics/black-his tory/black-history-month


Tracey Straker, MD MS MPH  CBA FASA  
Vice Chair Clinical Operations Anesthesia Montefiore Medical Center
DEI Officer Anesthesia Montefiore Medical Center
Professor Anesthesiology  Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Director General Anesthesia 
Director of Advanced Airway Fellowship and Rotation
Department of Anesthesiology Montefiore Medical Center

january 2023: A desire for freedom unites us all: The New Year and Independence Day in Haiti.

Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD, Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center

The New Year is a time to appreciate our accomplishments and make plans for attaining new milestones. It is also a time to celebrate the past year’s triumphs. And for some here and around the world, this day is also about the victory of a nation in the Caribbean, Haiti that fought for and successfully claimed independence from France. On Jan 1st, 1804, Haiti under the leadership of general Jean Jacque Dessalines declared independence from French colonial rule and an end to France’s enslavement of Haitians.

In the 1700’s, Haiti was one of France’s wealthiest colonies due in large part to the production of sugar cane, coffee, indigo and cotton supported by the enslavement of close to 500,000 Africans. Led by general Toussaint L’Ouverture, this determined populace like many other oppressed people around the world before and after rebelled against enslavement and colonial rule. Haitians fought against French slave owners and an army lead by Napoleon Bonaparte in August of 1791. This 13-year revolution ended with the Battle of Vertieres which facilitated the birth of an independent republic.2 On this day, General Jean- Jacque Dessalines declared Jan 1st, 1804, as Haiti’s Independence Day. For the over 1 million Haitians living in the United Sates, this 219th year since the end of the Haitian Revolution will be marked by remembrance of the heroes of this achievement with music, drink, and food with soup Joumou at the center3. Soup Joumou is made from calabaza, a pumpkin-like squash which gives the soup a yellow color to which is added meat, cabbage, potatoes, and other vegetables, and in some versions, pasta. For Haitians, this soup eaten beginning on the eve of Independence Day and into the next day is part of a celebration which commemorates the sacrifice and resilience of Haitian people.


  1. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/haitian-independence-proclaimed
  2. The Battle of Verniers - Age of Revolution
  3. A Brief History of Haiti's Cherished Soup Joumou | Travel| Smithsonian Magazine

December 2022: November-National Native American Heritage Month

Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD, Dept. of Anesthesiology, University of Washington

On Nov 24th, 2022, the United American Indians of New England (UAINE) celebrated the 53rd annual National Day of Mourning in Cole’s Hill Plymouth, MA (above Plymouth Rock).1,2 Many of the people who attended this solemn and spiritual day fasted starting on Nov 23rd until the social at the end of the Day of Mourning. This day which comes towards the end of the National Native American Heritage Month was meant to remember the genocide of Native Americans and the theft of their land.

New York was the first state to declare “American Indian Day” in 19163. In 1976, as part of the United States Bicentennial Commemoration, Congress asked President Gerald Ford to declare Oct 10-16th as “Native American Awareness Week.” Ten years later, congress passed a law signed by President Ronald Regan designating Nov 23-30 as “American Indian Week.” This practice continued each year with this special acknowledgement of the history of Native Americans in this country. In 1990, Congress passed, and President George W. Bush signed into law the designation of the month of November as the first “National American Indian Heritage Month” or “National Native American Heritage Month” and in 2008, the language was amended to include Alaskan Natives.

Taking the time this month to decolonize Thanksgiving Day is a step toward understanding the history of the abuse and massacre of Native Americans by White settlers. Reading books on the history of Native Americans like James Wilson’s The Earth Shall Weep: A history of Native America and books by Native Americans like Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; understanding which Native American tribes inhabited the land you are standing on;4 and learning from Native American learners/faculty that may be members of your department/institution and your surrounding community are some steps for rethinking this day.


  1. United American Indians of New England - UAINE
  2. Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning for Many Indigenous Communities | Cultural Survival
  3. U.S. Senate: Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month
  4. Native-Land.ca | Our home on native land


Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD MS MPH  CBA FASA 

Established over 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson, September 15th marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. The celebration runs from September 15 through October 15. The celebration started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. September 15 coincides with the independence days of seven Latin American countries and kicks off a nation-wide celebration of Hispanic food, music, history, and dance.

The seven countries that share their independence on or around September 15 are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

The spirit and culture of so many people who descend from geography that includes Southwestern U.S. states to South America and all the islands in between are represented during this celebration.

The 2022 theme , Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation, could not be timelier. We are in the midst of a polarized and deeply divided time in our nation’s history, but we cannot afford to shrug our shoulders or look away from this crisis. In celebrating the contributions and achievements of Hispanic and Latinx Americans, we have an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the absolute best of what our nation aspires to be: a place that welcomes immigrants and their descendants and celebrates multiculturalism, weaving diverse cultures and traditions into our national fabric for the betterment of all.

Please take a moment to visit the website listed below and enjoy many of the wonderful contributions that our Hispanic brethren have shared with us.



Tracey Straker, MD MS MPH CBA FASA
Vice Chair Clinical Operations
DEI Officer Anesthesia
Professor Anesthesiology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Montefiore Medical Center
Adjunct Professor Clinical Medicine CUNY School of Medicine

Chair of National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation

SEPTEMBER 2022: Retention of the Minority Physician: We Are Failing

Submitted by: Jennifer Lau, MD

As educators we have been focused on the pipeline of underrepresented minorities in medicine (URiM) but what we need to talk about is retention. In a 2015 ACGME report black physicians comprised 5% of medical trainees yet were 20% of trainees who are dismissed from training which indicates that there is something about our learning environments that is not inclusive to these trainees1. URiMs reported an increased incidence of microaggressions, differing expectations, and isolation2. In one study URiM trainees who reported discrimination based on race/ethnicity were much more likely to develop depressive symptoms and burnout.3 It is not enough to direct efforts to increasing the admission of URiM physicians, we must look at how well we support them so that they stay and thrive. Dr. Daywalker’s story is a powerful testimonial to how we must examine our system and improve it starting today. https://www.statnews.com/2022/06/20/black-doctors-forced-out-of-training-programs-at-far-higher-rates-than-white-residents/

Tips to create a more inclusive learning environment:

  1. Mission: The guiding mission statement of the institution, department, and program needs to include an intentionality for inclusion and an intolerance for discrimination. Encourage mentorship of URiM faculty and trainees.
  2. Educate the educators: Unconscious bias and allyship training for all faculty and staff. Be aware of bias in situations of assessment such as in clinical competency review and milestone evaluations.
  3. Accountability: Call for assessments of inclusion in national accreditation reviews such as CLER. Survey trainees regularly regarding their experiences and to screen for hostile or discriminating programs.

For additional ideas to help with addressing retention in medical education training programs please see the JGME Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion series.
https://meridian.allenpress.com/jgme/pages/ripouts [meridian.allenpress.com]

  1. 1McDade, William. ACGME Report on Diversity and Inclusion in Graduate Medical Education. 2015
  2. 2 J Nat Med Assoc (2006) 98 (9): 1441 
  3. 3 Dyrbye LN et al. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(19):2103-2109.

August 2022: Just Be Yourself

Submitted by: Darryl Brown, MD, Mount Sinai Morningside and West Hospital, New York City, NY

You’ve probably heard this advice: Just be yourself at work. Showing up as your authentic self plays an essential part in building meaningful relationships which is critical in any profession however especially so for those in medicine. Social scientist, Bréne Brown states that: “… belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” While the idea of showing up as your authentic self at work largely comes with good intention, it can lead to unintended consequences.

In a well-articulated TED Talk, writer Jodi-Ann Burey explains how authenticity is a dynamic power of those in the majority. She discusses how feeling comfortable enough to show up as your authentic self is a privilege not afforded everyone. This writer brings awareness to the struggles that members of minority groups face when bringing their authentic selves to professional settings. Too often workplace culture fails to support true authenticity of those from minority groups which has the potential to lead to fewer opportunities for growth and may even lead to backlash.

Jodi-Ann Burey wraps up the Ted Talk with steps to achieve equity in the workplace by challenging those in leadership positions to promote change.


Brené Brown (2012). “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”, p.122, Penguin

July 2022: Juneteenth: A day to learn, understand, and to celebrate!

Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

In January 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation officially marked the end of the Civil War and the legalization of the enslavement of human beings. However, structural racism ensured the continued official enslavement of African Americans for 2.5 more years until June 19th, 1865 when General Gordon Granger came to Galveston Texas to share Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation. R44865.pdf (fas.org)

Despite this proclamation, the official end of this American institution has been fraught with countless hardships endured by African Americans in the US from Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. In1979, the state of Texas was the first state to declare this day a national holiday and many states followed. On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth day (short for June nineteenth) also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day became a federal holiday. This is a day to learn, understand, and celebrate!

In 2009, Harvard Professor and Pulitzer Prize winner for history, Annette Gordon-Reed published On Juneteenth, a memoir in which she shares with us her life growing up in a segregated Texas, and the long onerous history of the road from enslavement to freedom in Texas and the United States. https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R44865.pdf. The link below is one of many interviews of Dr. Gordon-Reed discussing her book. Historian Annette Gordon-Reed on the Meaning of Juneteenth | Amanpour and Company - Bing video

June 2022: Celebrating Pride 

Submitted by: Tomás A. Lazo, MD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR

June is an exciting month for a variety of reasons. It is the start of summer, the academic year is coming to an end with graduation right around the corner, and it is time to celebrate Pride month. You will likely start seeing many companies temporarily rebranding their logos to show their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, though be aware that this can be a performative demonstration if you look closely enough. Despite being centered around what most folks think of when they hear about allyship, people within the LGBTQ+ community are still marginalized and face discrimination for being themselves. While gay marriage was legalized in 2015, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve social justice in this sphere.

Healthcare disparities are still ever prevalent in this community. Data points to higher rates of mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. LGBTQ youth are much more likely to commit suicide than their peers, which is further amplified for trans youth. LGBTQ+ patients are not as likely to talk to their medical providers about health matters for fear of discrimination and uncertainty. Many states still do not protect against workplace discrimination. The list goes on and on.

So, what can we do as healthcare workers? What can we do as friends, colleagues, peers, ALLIES? Education is a fantastic place to start. Inform yourself of the history of gay and queer rights in the United States and what members of this community have faced. Here is a short video with a brief history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkzwDOCEDCo In addition to arming yourself with historical knowledge, inform yourself of the variety of terms that sit within the umbrella of LGBTQ+ here: https://www.aecf.org/blog/lgbtq-definitions Finally, we can make sure we are being kind and culturally humble when we interact with members of this community and find ways to be an active supporter, either through advocacy, donations, and/or bettering yourself to care for these individuals.

As we celebrate the beauty within the rainbow this month, think about how we might strive to make the world a better place for our LGBTQ+ community. I leave you with this short, animated Pixar film which will hopefully bring a smile to your face. https://youtu.be/OkLZN0ziLuI

Happy Pride 2022, everyone!


Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD, Oregon Health & Sciences University Portland, Oregon


As we continue to take time to understand one another and our experiences, it is important to understand the role that race has played in our society. Dr. Audrey Smedley who taught at Virginia Commonwealth University was best known for her scholarship on the history of Race in America. She was one of our nation’s first women anthropologists after earning her PhD in Anthropology at Victoria University of Manchester England after completing her BA in History and master’s in Social Anthropology at the University of Michigan. In 2020, Dr. Smedley; mother, researcher, and educators left behind a legacy of work elucidating the social construct – Race. Dr. Smedley explains in an interview in 2003:

“Race is an ideology that says that all human populations are divided into exclusive and distinct groups; that all human populations are ranked, they are not equal. Inequality is absolutely essential to the idea of race…. Race represents attitudes and beliefs about human differences.”1

Below is a link to an article by Dr. Smedley and her son Brian Smedley on this topic: Race as
Biology Is Fiction, Racism as a Social Problem Is Real: Anthropological and Historical Perspective on the Social Construction of Race. The 2nd link below is a you tube video which does a nice job summarizing a review of this historical construct.



1. https://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-06.htm


Submitted by: M. Angele Theard, MD, Oregon Health & Sciences University Portland, Oregon

According to the American Psychological Association, cultural competence is defined as: the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from one’s own. According to a review conducted by authors S. Saha, C Beech, and L. Cooper, the cultural competency movement is discussed in health care beginning in the 1990’s. It was proposed as a way of bridging the divide between the White American cultural perspective of clinicians and the perspectives of mainly immigrant patients with different languages and experiences. Today cultural competency has evolved into a more all-compassing approach that attempts to address sources of racial and ethnic disparities in health care.  Cultural competence is an important aspect of positive physician/patient relationships essential for optimizing patient care. The Kentucky Inclusive Health Collaborative has focused their efforts on providing high quality care through attention to health literacy and cultural competency.

Click on the link below to view a video created by this collaborative and hear insights on the topics of cultural competence from a diverse group of people who could represent some of our patients. 



  1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/03/cultural-competence
  2. Saha S, Beach C, Cooper L. Patient Centeredness, Cultural Competence and Healthcare Quality. Journal of the National Medical Assoc. 2008;100(11):1275-1285.

March 2022: Revealing the Bias Within: Addressing Implicit Bias in the Peri-operative Workplace

Submitted by: Bryan Mahoney, MD, FASA, Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside Hospitals, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY

The Department of Anesthesiology at the Mount Sinai Morningside and West Department of Anesthesiology utilized a simulation-based model based on anecdotes provided by anesthesiology trainees nationwide to create bystander training in instances of implicit bias observed in the workplace.

Download Presentation


Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD, MS, MPH, CBA, FASA, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY

Black History Month is a yearly celebration and acknowledgement of the successes of African Americans. Dr. Carter G Woodson along with Minister Jesse Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), today’s ASLAH (Association of African American Life and History), an organization focused on promoting the achievements of African Americans and people of African descent. This organization sponsored Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. By the 1960s, fueled by the Civil Rights Movement, Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month stating to the public “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

A major part of Black culture is music. Much of America’s music – Jazz, Rock, Country, R&B, and Funk - has as its origin, the blues inspired by the experiences of African Americans. Below is a link to a Black History Month playlist of music that shares aspects of the story of a people and their culture. These artists, through music, speak to protest, resilience, and pride as strengths in our communities.




Submitted by: Tomás A. Lazo, MD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR

I have always been a fan of the NPR Podcast “Code Switch,” as it examines the challenging and ever-evolving relationship between race and society. Since January is host to Martin Luther King Day, I thought this 5-minute listen and portrayal of a specific human aspect of this historical figure may be a great means of providing some much-needed self-reflection regarding anger. While anger is a normal human emotion, we are all too familiar with its destructive impact and potential for harm. However, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was able to harness this raw emotion and put his energy into something more constructive. We may find ourselves becoming angrier and more emotionally charged as of late. The pandemic has been with us for almost two years now. In addition, the reality of systemic racism continues to be ever-present, despite efforts to address it. As a consequence, I myself am overwhelmingly challenged to cope with new and unanticipated stressors. However, if we take the time to provide ourselves some well-warranted grace, perhaps we can use our own anger and frustration as a means of coming to a better understanding of who we are as an individual. In addition, I would argue that the evaluation of that fear, stress, and irritation that we experience can help with clarifying and analyzing the differences that exist between us and provide a better understanding of external perspectives. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, capable of great accomplishments, and also very capable of making mistakes. Instead of focusing on what separates us, let us celebrate our similarities.



Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD, MS, MPH, CBA, FASA, Montefiore Medical Center ,Bronx ,NY

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that can be celebrated by anyone. Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate family, community, and culture. This annual celebration of African American culture lasts 7 days (from December 26 to January 1) with a communal feast, Karamu usually held on the 6th day followed by reflection on the 7th day.  This holiday created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor of Africana Studies at California State University and author of Kwanzaa, a Celebration of Family, Community and Culture is based on African harvest festival traditions. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966.  Dr. Karenga borrowed the word kwanza, meaning “first,” from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, adding the seventh letter, an extra a, to make the word long enough to accommodate one letter for each of the seven children present at an early celebration. 

Each of the days of the celebration is dedicated to one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa represented by the 7 candles: 

  • Unity (umoja)  - black candle (people)
  • Self-determination (kujichagulia)  - red candle (struggle)
  • Collective responsibility (ujima)  - green candle (the future)
  • Cooperative economics (ujamaa) - red
  • Purpose (nia) - green
  • Creativity (kuumba)  - red 
  • Faith (imani) - green

There also are seven symbols of the celebration

  • Fruits(mazao)
  • Vegetables and nuts 
  • Straw mat (mkeka)
  • Candleholder
  • Ears of corn (muhindi)
  • Gifts (Zawadi)
  • Communal cup signifying unity
  • Seven candles symbolizing the seven principles of Kwanzaa

On each day the family comes together to light one of the colored candles in the kinara, or candleholder (each principle is represented by a candle) starting with umoja; discuss the meaning of each day of Kwanzaa; and plan an activity that illustrates the principle for that day. The remaining candles are lit in alternating manner from left to right starting with the red candle (the struggle) for Kujichagulia followed by the green candle (the future and hope that comes from the struggle) for Ujima and so on On December 31, families join in a feast called the karamu followed by a day of reflection on January 1.



Submitted by: Isabel Pesola, MD, Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center

The NIH recently launched the UNITE Initiative to “end structural racism and racial inequities in the health research enterprise” in March, 2021.  So, with new funding, what does Research for DEI mean? Most academic institutions have a lot of work to do in prioritizing and integrating DEI in their research efforts. In the University of Minnesota, 3 faculty members share critical advice to guide us along the path:

  • Dr. Brooke Cunningham, MD, PhD. “Use an ‘Equity’ Lens First” As D, E and I are both overlapping and independent concepts 
  • Dr. Jordan Lewis, PhD “Include the Individual Community’s Values Strengths and Priorities” as engaging the different communities helps understand their needs and the culturally sound interventions to positive impact their health 
  • Dr. Anita Randolph, PhD, “Build a Diverse Team” To increase diversity and engagement in laboratories, institutions and STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics) workforce in general  


You can read more about this plan and keep up with what the NIH is doing to address workforce diversity on the NIH UNITE website


Submitted by:Jennifer Lau, MD, Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship at Keck School of Medicine USC.

Coming on the heels of September, which is Women in Medicine Month, comes the International Day of the Girl. Initiated by the United Nations October 11, 2012 to bring attention to the challenges that girls and women face and to promote their human rights and empowerment.

Today girls and women still face many challenges of gender discrimination and inequities. A recent documentary “Picture A Scientist” shines a light on the ugly treatment still endured by women in STEM.

 We are hopeful that bringing awareness to the continued trials of women today that we can make the changes necessary to pave a brighter future for our girls tomorrow. What will you do to be a part of the change? Can you promote her? Mentor her? Sponsor her? Value her?

“Picture a Scientist” is currently available on Netflix and for purchase on most streaming platforms.


Submitted by: Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE (Professor, Division Pediatric Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin)

August 10, 2021, NYT. Interactive article about a camp and gender-nonconforming children.

This extraordinary camp organized by a mom about 14 years ago (ended in 2018) allowed children to be who they are rather than forcing them to pretend. It provided a supportive environment for any child with gender nonconformity to be free from societal "norms."

The Kids of Camp I Am, a Decade Later



Submitted by: Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE (Professor, Division Pediatric Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin)

Did you know that Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26th annually? Although it was ratified on August 18th, 1920, the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote nationally was officially certified by US Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby on August 26, 1920, hence the observed day.

I wish I could honor all the great women who paved the path to a better world, a braver one. I wouldn’t know where to start; there are so many, most of them unmentioned. I will though invite you to browse through the Harvard Business Review article that interviews retired supreme court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Did you know that Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26th annually? Although it was ratified on August 18th, 1920, the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote nationally was officially certified by US Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby on August 26, 1920, hence the observed day. I wish I could honor all the great women who paved the path to a better world, a braver one. I wouldn’t know where to start; there are so many, most of them unmentioned. I will though invite you to browse through the Harvard Business Review article that interviews retired supreme court justice Sandra Day O’Connor.


A few highlights about her life:

  • Graduated from Stanford Law, 1952; difficulty finding a job because most firms were hiring men
  • First woman majority leader of a US State Senate (AZ)
  • First woman on the US Supreme Court (1981-2006)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2009
  • Founded iCivics, 2009, a non-profit organization to transform civic education for every US student

After she was appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1981, she famously said: "I think the important thing about my appointment is not that I will decide cases as a woman, but that I am a woman who will get to decide cases."


Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD, MS, MPH, CBA, FASA (Professor Anesthesiology, Montefiore Medical Center)

LGBTQ – a common acronym that most people are now familiar with. Most of us know what each letter stands for, but what does LGBTQ really mean? Do you know the meaning of each word? Are you familiar with the many other words not represented in this acronym? As physicians giving healthcare to many individuals, it is important to understand the differences between these individuals, physically and psychologically. If we are to care for our patients with utmost respect for their choices, then we must educate ourselves on choices available in the LGBTQ diaspora. Click on the link below to gain a fundamental understanding of our patients who have chosen an LGBTQ lifestyle.



Submitted by: Isabel Pesola MD, Assistant Professor Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center

There are several myths regarding Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) that need to be debunked. The following article, part of a special National Public Radio (NPR) series, to commemorate the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, dismantles the trope of Asian Americans as the” Model Minority”.

Asían Americans are not a monolithic group. They trace their origins to different regions of the world, from Southeast Asia to the Pacific Islands. People of Asian American heritage have a huge variety of ethnicities and cultural characteristics. Not all Asian Americans are wealthy and highly educated. The notion of the “Model Minority “ignores the large differences amongst different groups of Asian Americans regarding income and education level.

Some Asian Americans arrive in the United States as asylum seekers or refugees. Thirty two percent of Asian Americans fear being attacked. There is underrepresentation in positions of power and leadership.

Despite the issues facing Asian Americans, they continue to have the highest voter turnout for presidential elections and are running for state legislatures.



Submitted by: Bryan Mahoney, M.D., Residency Program Director and Vice Chair of Education and Olga Paniagua, M.D. PGY-3 Resident, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine; Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside Hospitals

A review of an ASA mentorship grant-funded project designed to create and educational module on the impact of implicit bias on anesthesiologists and trainees highlighting the first-person experience of these incidents.


Submitted by: Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE

This fictional letter in the Harvard Business Review from a Black manager to a white boss is a must read for all. "I am an executive, but I feel alienated. " I am in the C-suite, yet I am seen as "the authority on diversity and race issues " and not for my executive experience. I cannot change my skin color. "I choose to stay. " Let's start the COLOR brave conversations.

“Dear White Boss…”


Submitted by: Nwadiogo Ejiogu, MD, MA - Icahn School of Medicine - Pronouns: she/her or they/them

On February 28 and March 1st 2021, for the first time the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) along with several other national obstetric and gynecology (OB/GYN) societies will formally recognize the contributions of three enslaved Black women, Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey. Anarcha, Lucy, Betsey and many other unnamed enslaved Black women were brutally experimented on without anesthesia by Dr. James Marion Sims in the mid-1800s. The coerced gynecologic surgeries performed on these women, along with their reproductive and intellectual labor, were integral to the development of obstetrics and gynecology. The details of their lives and the abuse they survived at the hands of Dr. Sims is detailed in the book, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology by Dr. Deidre Cooper Owens.

This inaugural day of recognition was primarily a result of the work of Dr. Veronica Pimentel, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. Her work also provided the impetus for the ACOG joint statement on Collective Action Addressing Racism, a statement which proposes 7 steps to address structural racism. While there were no anesthesiology societies listed in this joint statement or on the statement for the inaugural day of recognition, it is important to understand that our profession is inextricably linked to the troubling origins of the field of OB/GYN. I encourage everyone to honor the lives of Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey by learning about structural racism and how it impacts health outcomes while working to actively address health care inequities in the perioperative environment and beyond.



Submitted by: Tomás Lazo, MD

The role of mentoring is a common theme that is engrained in education. A mentor can mean the difference between encouragement or giving up. Please take a few minutes to listen to Tomas Lazo MD, SEA DEI Taskforce member, discuss the importance of having a mentor who looked like him as he was challenged in school.


Submitted by: Tomás Lazo, MD

As we enter the month of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we acknowledge a man – a man who was not perfect, who had flaws and made mistakes. We also acknowledge a man who was able to transcend his human inadequacies and leave behind a legacy that has lived beyond him. As so many of us strive to see his dream manifest in our lifetime, I ask that you take 2 minutes and 40 seconds to listen and reflect on the words of his dream. What can we do to make his dream our dream? How can we in our own way make an impact?


Submitted by: Odinakachukwu Ehie, MD

This music video is a moving rendition of a song which pays tribute to the 2014 film named Selma, which chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Dr. King is played by David Oyelowo, and Oprah Winfrey plays Annie Lee Cooper who was an African American civil rights activist in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement. This is a powerful message for everyone to continue the fight for equal voting rights and to strive for equity and justice within our society. As John Lewis says, "Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. "


Submitted by: Isabel Pesola, MD

This month we explore a reflection by Dr. Edward Riley, from the California Society of Anesthesiologists. Thank you, Dr. Riley, for such an honestly written piece. https://csahq.org/news/blog/detail/csa-online-first/2020/10/20/voices-in-the-or-a-self-reflection-and-examination-of-unconscious-bias

Dr. Riley’s insights echo those of mine, and perhaps many female colleagues who like me, have been searching for the right tone to speak, or to be heard in the OR- particularly in emergent situations.

Are we commanding with enough authority, or are we too bossy? Are we perceived as natural leaders? Do we need to speak louder? Or do we look too young?

Dr. Riley’s piece invites the reader to evaluate their own bias. As he states, “we can only change our biases if we first name them, own them, and face the reality of how our prejudices affect our interaction with the world”.


Submitted by: Josephine Hernandez, MD

In early June there were peaceful demonstrations decrying the murder of George Floyd and many other Black Americans. There were conversations throughout the hospital about institutional racism, health care disparities laid bare by CV-19 and the rise of white supremacy.

I noticed that there were residents that simply didn’t understand the depth of problem—residents from other countries. How could I have them begin to understand, so they can take part in the conversation?

A colleague, Dr. Sharma Joseph suggested Dr. Camara Jones’ Ted Talk and a brief history of the U.S. My residents and I found Dr. Jones talk non-threatening and really clarified how institutional racism grows and develops roots. My residents had a rich discussion and my residents of color opened up and told them of their experiences. The Ted Talk helped us develop a deeper understanding and created deeper bonds between my residents. 


Submitted by: By Jennifer Lau, MD

I recently read Dr. Kali Cyrus’ vulnerable account “Why I gave up my dream of leading diversity efforts in medicine” describing the overwhelming demands and isolation that she experienced while trying to champion diversity and I could not help but think of how common her story is. While reading this article, I reflected on the frustrations of two colleagues who felt unsupported in their effort to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives at the hospital and medical school level. It is heartbreaking that we, as a healthcare community, continue to fail to support so many talented and driven people.

To achieve sustainable, transformative change we must go beyond verbal support. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has for too long been an institutional check box without deep thought into what that entails. Are we really surprised that studies today still confirm racial bias in patient care or that we still have significant disparities in the make-up of our workforce? The data is clear: there are severe racial and gender incongruities amongst US physicians today affecting patient care. We must strive for better.

To fix this problem we need to do more than just kneel on Instagram or put a #BLM sign in our yards. We need to

  • Use our privilege and influence to ally with our under-represented colleagues
  • Let our under-represented colleagues know that we will stand by them and sponsor their efforts; they are not alone.
  • Persuade hospital leadership to prioritize DEI and invest in sustainable education and personnel to create the necessary changes.
  • Demand that hospital and medical school leadership invest in DEI champions by providing them with non-clinical time, administrative support, and the authority to hold hospitals accountable.

The lack of diversity in our workforce and the unsupported environments in our institutions are a national crisis and should be treated as such. This is the moment that we must stand together. For the sake of our patients and our colleagues, we cannot fail.



Submitted by: Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE

This 6 min short video by Matthew Richardson set to the music of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is about kindness, love and support for each other. It is about caring regardless of differences in our beliefs. 


July 2020: What is Microaggression and Why Does it Matter - A Short Video

Submitted by: Tracey Straker, MD, MS, MPH, CBA, FASA

For July, this educational aid, a short video, comes from National Public Radio (NPR), and is recommended by the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force because it gives the definition of microaggressions in a simplified manner, explains the feelings of unease that they may cause, and gives possible solutions to the problem.