Message from Our Diversity & Inclusion Champion
As the University of Arizona Department of Surgery continually strives to become a world-class academic, research, and teaching institution, it is imperative that a robust culture of inclusion serve as the foundation for growth and nurtures the next generation of surgeons. Inclusion is not merely the recognition and naming of differences, but rather the acknowledgement that every individual is a human being whose varied personal traits and backgrounds influence their needs, behaviors, and experiences. Indeed, an inclusive culture is one that allows all people to ‘bring themselves to work.’
Inclusion is active. Diversity and inclusion must be consciously interwoven into the cultural fabric so that all people feel like they belong in the workplace — and that they can succeed there. This effort has to start at the top; empathetic leadership is key. This type of leadership entails identifying differences in everyone’s experience and values across the organization so that change can be made relevant for each person. Inclusion also takes knowing that lasting change must activate different parts of the system —not just top down, but also bottom up and middle out — in different ways.
Inclusion can’t just consist of a few programs; it must be a fundamental part of the organizational framework. It is important that everyone ask themselves, “Have I created conditions where every person can contribute in their unique, meaningful way and feel safe and secure doing so?” And if there are instances where that’s not the case, one must have the courage to admit it and work to change.
We as leaders in the Department of Surgery are committed to creating a culture where every individual can contribute their full potential. We are fully aware that this requires investigating the systems and processes in the organization to uncover sore spots and blind spots and then finding ways to reinvent them. It is our mission to ensure that team members speak up and are heard so they feel safe and empowered proposing novel ideas, making decisions, taking and giving feedback, and sharing credit for team successes.
Andrew Tang, MD, FACS
Department of Surgery Diversity & Inclusion Champion
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Trauma, Critical Care, Burn, and Emergency Surgery
Trauma Medical Director, Banner University Medical Center