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SCCM Demonstrates Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at 2022 Critical Care Congress

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The Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will be on full display at the 2022 Critical Care Congress. Congress will feature a number of sessions that delve deep into DEI topics, offering attendees suggestions for providing equitable care for all patients, as well as advocating for themselves and others in the intensive care unit (ICU).

SCCM’s dedication to diversity began with its founding in 1970 with a pledge to welcome a diverse group of professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and respiratory therapists, working to improve care of the critically ill and injured. Today, SCCM is the only organization that serves the multiprofessional critical care team. SCCM’s commitment to diversity expanded substantially in 2017 with the formation of the DEI Committee to focus on ensuring that all programs, policies, and leadership align with the lived experiences of the diverse membership, including age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic location, language, and practice setting.

SCCM values and seeks diversity and inclusive practices within critical care as well as the organization. It has pledged to provide leadership and commit time and resources to promoting involvement, innovation, and expanded access to leadership opportunities. “Through these DEI sessions at the Critical Care Congress, we hope to bring awareness to the disparities that exist in today’s world with regard to race, gender, religion, ethnicity, and disabilities,” said Roshni Sreedharan, MD, FASA, FCCM, who is presenting in three of these sessions. “We will discuss skills that audience members can use and hope to effect change by helping people recognize and respond to disparities and microaggressions. If the sessions help move the needle of equity even a little bit, that will be a win.”

Bystander, Upstander, or Ally? Strategies for Supporting DEI in the Workplace

Presenters will explore the concepts of bystander (someone who is present and uninvolved), upstander (someone who speaks and acts in support of an individual or cause) and ally (someone who joins with another person or group to support that person or group), providing strategies for what this might look like in the real world, including the ICU.

The session will be moderated by Hira Shafeeq, PharmD, BCPS, and features Dr. Sreedharan, Anthony T. Gerlach, PharmD, FCCM, and Ann E. Thompson, MD, MHCPM, MCCM. In addition to bystander, upstander, and ally concepts, they will discuss microaggressions, with participants enacting scenarios and discussing ways to respond and intervene when witnessing micro- or macroaggressions in the workplace.

How to take Care of Your ____ Patient

Moderated by Oveys Mansuri, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCM, this session will address challenges faced by adult and pediatric patients of underrepresented groups, including religious, ethnic, and gender identity minority groups. Speakers are Louisdon Pierre, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM; Orlando Garner, MD; Sanjiv Gray, MD, FACS; and Adebayo Adeyinka, MD, FCCM.

Dr. Pierre, who is from Haiti, will discuss the benefits of diversity among staff physicians, including how minority pediatric patients benefit from being treated by those who look like them with regard to improved communication and medication adherence. He will talk about how to increase staff diversity through mentoring and other means and how ICUs and hospitals can provide culturally sensitive care to children. “Ultimately, effective social connections are more relevant than racial or ethnic concordance,” said Dr. Pierre. “The goal is to create greater awareness of the inequities in pediatric critical care for at-risk and minority populations and to draw attention to community hospitals that are at the forefront of caring for a large number of critically ill children.”

How to Succeed When You’re the Only ____ in the Room

This session will address challenges faced by critical care professionals who may feel as if they are the only racial, gender, religious, or ethnic minority practicing in a critical care setting. Moderated by Dr. Shafeeq, the session will feature presentations by Dr. Sreedharan; Michaela A. West, MD, PhD, FCCM; and Wendy R. Greene, MD, FACS, FCCM.

“We hope that members who identify as being part of a historically underrepresented group will find this session helpful in navigating upward mobility in their careers,” said Dr. Shafeeq. “We want to empower our members, strengthen their viewpoint regarding diversity, and ensure they regard it as an asset to the profession.”

Dr. West will talk about her experience as a transgender woman, including the challenges she faced transitioning late in her career. She will offer medical, social, and emotional insights into how ICU clinicians can more appropriately interact with, recognize, and validate transgender people as coworkers and patients. For example, some transgender patients have had surgery for voice pitch, which might make it difficult to insert a breathing tube. “Ultimately, transgender patients are like all patients; they want to be treated with respect, accepted for who they are, and have their needs met with competence,” said Dr. West. “When the most vulnerable are safe, everyone is safe.”

Saying the Unsaid: Gender Culture in Critical Care

This session will address improvements that have been made in advancing women in critical care and how further progress can be made. The first step is providing education to trainees on gender and inclusivity. Also important is identifying how the barriers to achieving parity paves the way to a structured approach to removing these barriers. This session aims to create awareness and provide education on the existing gender culture in critical care medicine and strategies for enhancing inclusivity and equity.
Moderated by Talia K. Ben-Jacob, MD, MSc, FCCM, the session will feature presentations by Brittany D. Bissell, PharmD, PhD, BCCCP; Paul O’Donnell, PharmD, BCCCP, BCPS, FCCM; and Dr. Sreedharan. Speakers will discuss whether the days of sexual harassment are really behind us, how to begin to achieve parity, how men can be allies to women, and gender education for critical care professionals. “Over the past several years, real-world events like those leading to the rise of the #MeToo movement have highlighted the fact that there is still much work to be done in the realm of gender equity and prevention of sexual harassment and discrimination,” said Dr. O’Donnell, who chairs SCCM’s DEI Committee. “We hope this session will shed light on the work that still needs to be done and provide useful tools for making progress.”

Microaggressions in the Clinical Encounter: Cultural Humility in Action

This session will address challenges faced by a diverse group of critical care practitioners. Speakers include Joy Howell, MD, FAAP, FCCM, and Chiedozie I. Udeh, MBA, MBBS, FCCM, who will discuss a multitude of microaggressions and how to positively address them as well as strategies to reduce their occurrence in the workplace.

SCCM’s Commitment to DEI Will Continue

Download the 2021 Annual Report to learn more about SCCM’s DEI goals.
SCCM’s pledge to address DEI is ongoing and evolving because diversity in the ICU is an asset. In 2020, SCCM updated and made more transparent its Standards of Professional Conduct to address DEI initiatives. In 2021, SCCM joined the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Equity Matters initiative, which introduces a framework for continuous learning and process improvement in DEI and antiracism practices.

Achieving DEI is a worthwhile and challenging endeavor that will carry on into SCCM’s future. DEI has become part of SCCM’s organizational DNA in the same way as multiprofessionalism has. Similarly, SCCM will continue working to advance health equity by offering special programs, many of them free, to underserved communities in the United States and globally. SCCM recognizes that it can and must do more. “Embracing the values of DEI in the ICU ensures better patient care and a better work environment,” said Dr. O’Donnell. “And by embracing DEI, SCCM and its members can lead by example.”

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Posted: 4/7/2022 | 0 comments

Knowledge Area: Professional Development and Education 

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