September 11, 2023
More than 50 trauma surgeons, nurses, program managers, researchers, and survivors convened at ACS Headquarters in Chicago this summer to take stock of existing disparities in injury care and research and consider innovative solutions to address them. The Summit on the Advancement of Focused Equity Research in Trauma was developed by the Coalition for National Trauma Research’s (CNTR) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Vanessa Ho, MD, FACS, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Presentations—including powerful keynote addresses from Cherisse Berry, MD, FACS, from New York University in New York City, and Zara Cooper, MD, FACS, from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts—provided historical context, demonstrated systemic issues, and level-set the conversation before launching into innovations that could be harnessed to advance equity.
Dr. Cooper argued that trauma surgeons are in the ideal position to affect the intransigent presence of disparity in care.
“If not us, who? If not now, when?” she asked. “We can do this!”
Other highlights included LJ Punch, MD, FACS, who shared how he built the Bullet Related Injury Clinic in St. Louis, Missouri, specifically to increase community involvement, impact, trust, and communication flow; Joseph V. Sakran, MD, MPH, FACS, who focused on the political determinants of health and the cost of inequities in care to society; and Rachael A. Callcut, MD, MSPH, FACS, who provided a primer on artificial intelligence and how it might be harnessed to address bias.
Trauma survivor and patient advocate Andrew Oberle shared his story—from a gruesome chimpanzee attack in South Africa, to recovery challenges, living with disability, and advocating for other trauma victims.
Four early career investigators—Tandis Soltani, MD, Sydney Timmer-Murillo, PhD, Anamaria J. Robles, MD, and Kate M. Stadeli, MD, MPH—received travel fellowships and are leading the development of manuscripts that describe innovative approaches to reducing disparities in the realms of large database research, community-engaged research, clinical trials, and implementation science.
Overall, the conference was action-oriented and promised to drive additional inquiry. In addition to conference articles, a SAFER-Trauma webpage is being built on the CNTR website at nattrauma.org, which will house presentations and recordings from the conference, as well as provide a forum for ongoing collaboration.
SAFER-Trauma was funded in part by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In addition to ACS support, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and American Trauma Society provided financial support.
The ACS Committee on Trauma (COT) is a member organization of CNTR, which earlier this year released research regarding the development of a National Trauma Research Action Plan.*
*American College of Surgeons. “Trauma Group Publishes Action Plan, Makes Data Available for Secondary Analyses.” ACS Brief. Accessed August 20, 2023. https://rb.gy/bzq0u.