News From the College

ACS and NIH address disparities
in surgical care



As part of a unique, collaborative effort to address disparities in health care, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) presented the first Symposium on Surgical Disparities Research, May 7-8, in Bethesda, MD. (Find more information about NIMHD at Invited thought leaders from throughout the nation attended this meeting to discuss disparities in surgical care, outcomes, and treatment. Leading the program were ACS Past-President L.D. Britt, MD, MPH, DSc(Hon), FACS, FCCM, FRCSEng(Hon), FRCSEd(Hon), FWACS(Hon), FRCSI(Hon), FCS(SA)(Hon), FRCS(Glasg)(Hon), Chair, ACS Committee on Optimal Access; and Irene Dankwa-Mullan, MD, MPH, Acting Deputy Director, Extramural Programs, NIMHD.

The symposium centered on five cross-cutting themes that have been identified as determinants of disparities in surgical outcomes: 1) patient and host factors, 2) systemic factors and access issues, 3) clinical care and quality, 4) provider factors, and 5) postoperative care and rehabilitation. Subject matter experts gave presentations on each topic, and attendees generated research questions and concerns related to each topic, which were then used to develop a set of recommendations on national priorities in surgical disparities research.

Keynote speakers at the symposium included:

• Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, FACS, general surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; professor, Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School; and executive director, Ariadne Labs, Boston, MA

• ACS Past-President Carlos A. Pellegrini, MD, FACS, FRCSI(Hon), The Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair, department of surgery, and chair of the board, Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies, University of Washington, Seattle

• Jonathan Woodson, MD, FACS, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Washington, DC

Other speakers included leaders from the ACS, the NIH, other government agencies, and leading academic institutions. Details about the symposium will be published in the Bulletin, which can be accessed at

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