Diversity & Inclusion

Message from Our Diversity & Inclusion Champions

University of Arizona Department of Surgery is a diverse group of surgeons that recognizes the importance of creating an inclusive culture and equitable workplace. We recognize that each individual is unique. The differences include, but are not limited, to internal dimensions such as personality, race, age, gender, ethnicity, ability, and sexuality and external dimensions such as geographical location, marital status, income level, educational background, work experience, and religious and political beliefs.  

The Department of Surgery Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee works to provide opportunities for our group to learn the importance of diversity, equity and inclusivity. We do this through book clubs, guest lectures, and discussions. We recognize the disparity that exists between the healthcare providers and patient demographic that we serve and aim to bring together a diverse group of surgeons that represents the community. We assist faculty members who are underrepresented in medicine, eliminate barriers to faculty advancement, and create a framework that is fair and gives access to opportunities. 

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. We recognize inclusion can’t just consist of a few programs; it must be a fundamental part of the organizational framework. It is important to our group that all of us ask the question, “Have I created conditions where every person can contribute in their unique, meaningful way and feel safe and secure doing so?” If there are instances where that’s not the case, we must have the courage to admit it and work to change. 

University of Arizona Department of Surgery is committed to creating a culture where every individual can contribute their full potential. We are aware that this requires investigating the systems and processes in the organization to discover barriers and eliminate them. Our mission is 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. 

We aim to provide the best care to our diverse community, work daily to reduce the disparities that exists, improve access to care to all people.  

Follow this link for more Diversity, Inclusion & Equity resources from the College of Medicine – Tucson.

Naren Patel, DPM, AACFAS
Department of Surgery Diversity & Inclusion Champion
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Letitia Bible, MD
Department of Surgery Diversity & Inclusion Champion
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns, and Acute Care Surgery

“Coming from both European and Native American lineages has allowed me to be a translator and a facilitator. It has allowed me to build bridges.”

- Jennifer Erdrich MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Surgical Oncology

Learn about Dr. Erdrich's experience

Racial representation among Department of Surgery faculty, staff, residents, fellows, APPs, and students.

 

Racial representation among Department of Surgery faculty, staff, residents, fellows, APPs, and students.

“As newer generations come into our field, the most important thing is they see it as a safe zone. Being open and in tune to [diversity and inclusion] allows more diversity in who comes into the field, who approaches medicine, and how we learn from those people.”

- Bellal Joseph, MD, FACS
Professor, Surgery
Chief, Division of Trauma, Critical Care, Burn, and Emergency Surgery
Vice Chair, Knowledge Expansion

Learn about Dr. Joseph's experience

Gender representation among Department of Surgery faculty, staff, residents, fellows, APPs, and students.

1 of only 24 female department of surgery chairs in the United States.

of only 24 female department of surgery chairs in the United States.

“In the Southwest, we’re particularly in need of people from underserved communities, such as Native Americans and Hispanic populations, because that’s patients. To receive the best care, they need to see themselves in our institutional structure.”

- Wei Zhou, MD, FACS
Chief, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Professor, Surgery

Generation representation among Department of Surgery faculty, staff, residents, fellows, APPs, and students.

Generation representation among Department of Surgery faculty, staff, residents, fellows, APPs, and students.

“I live diversity and inclusion. I not only believe in inviting people to the party, but asking them to dance.”

- Valentine Nfonsam, MD, MS, FACS, FASCRS
Associate Professor, Surgery
Division of Surgical Oncology
Program Director, General Surgery Residency

38% of Department of Surgery residents and fellows are female.

of Department of Surgery residents and fellows are female.

“For diversity and inclusion to be successful, it needs to be two-dimensional. One, we need the majority to be open-minded enough to give people who are not in the majority space to be diverse. Second, once individuals who are in the minority are successful, they need to invest that back into their communities.”

- Marlon Guererro, MD, FACS
Associate Professor, Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology
Vice Chair, Quality & Performance

50% of Department of Surgery division chiefs are female.

of Department of Surgery division chiefs are female.

Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.

 

Who We Are