It started on June 14, 2020, when ACOFP released the statement “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”—authored by then-President Robert C. DeLuca—committing to sustainable change within the organization. This included: assembly of the Task Force on DEI; an enhanced focus on DEI educational programming; and opportunities for members to engage in dialogue. More positive changes and an SIIA IMPACT Award followed.
“When looking at differences among patient populations and finding the best ways in which to customize treatment options, we as physicians need to take a step back to understand the varying racial, ethnic and cultural differences from which our patients come.”
That’s the first paragraph from a blog post in a series highlighting the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians’ (ACOFP) 2023 Annual Convention speakers. Their DEI Blog Content Development Team has provided a forum to share personal stories and create meaningful content across their diverse communities. To date, there have been close to 50 member-generated blog posts on DEI topics.
This is just one of the actions that led to ACOFP becoming a beacon of shining light on the DEI horizon over the last three years—and being named an 2022 SIIA IMPACT Equity Team Award winner.
Over the last three years, ACOFP has seen: advancements on the legislative and regulatory front; a re-envisioned Annual Convention keynote experience to showcase diverse viewpoints; a Face of the Family Photo Campaign with more than 300 submissions; bylaws changes to increase leadership opportunities; mandatory implicit bias training for all staff and committee members; an association-wide DEI survey leading to 15 recommendations; DEI Awards with a stipend of $2,500; and a dedicated member profile update campaign.
Not bad for a staff team of less than 20. We conducted a Q&A with ACOFP to shine further light on their accomplishments (thanks to Paige Zelinsky, program and development manager, for coordinating this):
AMPLIFY: Has ACOFP seen more meaningful stories and content come to light through the Blog Team’s efforts?
ACOFP: Yes! This corner of our blog continues to show the breadth of our members’ experiences. Most recently, we shared a series of three blog posts that showcase our 2023 Annual Convention speakers:
Healthcare for the LGBTQIA+ Community
Analyzing Racial Cardiology Disparities in Healthcare
Cultural Differences in Healthcare
This year’s keynote topic was “Advancing Medicine through Diverse Leadership,” and we partnered with a company, InkFactory, to visually depict the conversation between our ACOFP President, David Park, and AAFP President, Tochi Iroku-Malize. These visuals live on the ACOFP blog and social media channels.
What results have the DEI surveys yielded?
While historically ACOFP has offered a number of DEI-related programs and education, our journey to embed DEI in all that we do really began in 2021. As part of this launch, we partnered with an external group to assess member perceptions of the organization regarding DEI to have a baseline understanding of where we were starting.
The overall DEI Index (average score on the survey) was 80.17%. Overall, this score indicates that, on average, most survey participants responded positively to the questions on the survey (agreed to some degree with the positively worded survey questions). The survey results and findings were presented to the Task Force on DEI, who then divided into their three subcommittee groups (Governance, Education, and Community Outreach) to further discuss the findings and recommendations, and to prioritize the results and next steps.
The Task Force then developed 15 DEI recommendations that were approved by the ACOFP Board of Governors in 2021. Now that we are a year and a half into those recommendations being approved, we have been able to recognize tangible results, with 9 of our 15 recommendations implemented into our standard book of business. These improvements and initiatives include illustrating our various pathways to leadership to reduce barriers that are real or perceived, developing a calendar of cultural celebrations and implementing a communications plan to raise awareness, and hosting a community storytelling workshop to share experiences of overcoming implicit bias.
ACOFP will conduct another DEI benchmarking survey in early 2024.
Has the implicit bias training continued?
Yes, in 2021, our Task Force on DEI recognized that one training session related to implicit bias is not sufficient. As ACOFP has aimed to embed DEI in all that we do as an organization, conducting regular training for our leadership is now part of our operating policy and required by our committee members. This year, we have over 300 committee members on 60+ committees taking a course titled, “Micro Aggressions in the Workplace.” 2023 will be the second year that we have required this training, and we are eager to see how this mechanism will positively impact our organizations inclusivity in the long-term.
Have more DEI Awards been given out internally?
Yes! We have an ACOFP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award (DEI) which has been given out annually since 2021. This award recognizes osteopathic family physicians who make significant contributions toward enhancing DEI within the profession, honoring those who have demonstrated behaviors or led initiatives that foster these principles within diverse and underrepresented communities. Our most recent ACOFP DEI award was given in April of 2023 to Salvatore J. Biazzo, who is involved in a number of initiatives relating to LGBTQ+ health care at University of Nevada Las Vegas, including developing the UNLV multidisciplinary Transgender Care Team, which won a University Award for Outstanding Wellness Program in 2022.