Australian Hand Surgery Society

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APFSSH Inaugural Diversity Symposium

Above Right, R to L: Ted Mah, Jai Sungaran, Roohi Ahmad, Margaret Fok, Gillian Smith & Jennifer Green.

APFSSH Inaugural Diversity Symposium – Evidence & Strategies for Increased Innovation & Better Health Care Outcomes

The theme of the APFSSH Congress in Singapore was Diverse and Inclusive and two symposia were held to explore the concept of diversity and inclusion and how they affect our organisations, our recruitment of hand surgeons, the leadership of our organisations and, ultimately our patient care. The Congress Diversity Symposium was moderated by Ted Mah & Jennifer Green.

Margaret Fok opened the symposium with the evidence-based benefits of diversity – attracting the top talent, being more innovative and making better decisions; the data showing inequity of healthcare delivery to patients who are female or from minority cultures; and the strategies to improve diversity – visible role models, mitigating unconscious bias in selection to training and promotion; flexibility in the workplace and mentorship/sponsorship.

Gillian Smith explained why the UK NHS has been vigorously promoting diversity in the medical workforce in the UK and creating opportunities for those from less economically privileged and more culturally diverse communities to enter medical school as they are more likely to work in areas of need. In the UK, doctor’s children are 24 times more likely than their peers to enter medicine.

Jai Sungaran spoke about the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s initiatives to increase the inclusion of culturally diverse members in leadership roles and to provide sponsorship for aspiring orthopaedic surgeons of diverse cultural backgrounds. The purpose being to provide better healthcare to Australia’s very multicultural community.

Roohi Ahmad discussed how leaders can improve the diversity of their organisations by being positive role models and creating a culture where everyone is welcome regardless of gender, race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

It was an honour to be able to convene this inaugural event at APFSSH and I would like to thank my co-moderator Ted Mah for his insightful questions and all the speakers who contributed to this important discussion about equity in healthcare.

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