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October 16, 2019

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Steps Forward on Inclusion, Diversity, Access, and Equity at IDSA

By Raul Macias Gil, MD

The diverse nature of infectious diseases is not only represented by the broad spectrum of infections we treat but also by the ever-evolving uniqueness of our Society. Recognizing and understanding people's differences and qualities enriches and strengthens our communities. Diversifying our Society will promote innovation, talent, and intellectual excellence.

As part of IDSA's strategic priorities, the IDSA Board of Directors approved in 2018 the establishment of the Inclusion, Diversity, Access, and Equity (IDA&E) Task Force, led by Tina Tan, MD, FIDSA. Following a call for volunteers, a group of 13 members representing different geographic areas, practice settings, races, and genders was selected for the IDA&E Task Force. Since October 2018, the task force has successfully drafted the guiding principles, developed a case statement, and set short and long-term goals. We created a roadmap  that primarily gravitates around data, education, communication, action, and accountability. The task force has also created an educational toolkit containing extensive literature on how to prioritize IDA&E in the reader's professional setting. 

Besides taking an important role in advising the recently established Leadership Development Committee, the task force also takes pride in offering an entire supplement on diversity in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. These actions not only reflect our commitment and efforts to raise awareness in the ID community but also in other fields. One of our priorities is to concentrate on initiatives to increase the representation of historically underrepresented minorities in our organization. We emphasize the importance of cultivating a welcoming environment, guaranteeing equity and fairness in the development of policies and procedures, and on expanding access and opportunities to all members.

Working alongside extraordinary people of diverse backgrounds at the IDA&E Task Force has been one of the most exceptional experiences in my career. Being involved in this effort has strengthened my commitment and advocacy for a more equitable, diverse, and transparent organization. As a proud first-generation Mexican immigrant, gay man, non-US trained physician, and ID fellow in training, I invite everyone to take action and get involved in the IDSA initiatives, task forces, and/or committees of your interest. At IDSA, we value your opinion, talents, expertise, and most importantly, your time and contributions to foster diversity in our society.

We are #IDAE, we are #Diversity, the #FacesofID and #FutureofID

Raul Macias Gil, MD is an appointed member of the IDSA’s IDA&E Task Force, and infectious diseases fellow at Brown University Alpert Medical School.

@RMGmdID

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