OBJECTIVES AND BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to characterize equity and inclusion in acute care surgery (ACS) with a survey to examine the demographics of ACS surgeons, the exclusionary or biased behaviors they witnessed and experienced, and where those behaviors happen. A major initiative of the Equity, Quality, and Inclusion in Trauma Surgery Practice Ad Hoc Task Force of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma was to characterize equity and inclusion in ACS. To do so, a survey was created with the above objectives. METHODS: A cross-sectional, mixed-methods anonymous online survey was sent to all EAST members. Closed-ended questions are reported as percentages with a cutoff of α = 0.05 for significance. Quantitative results were analyzed focusing on mistreatment and bias. RESULTS: Most respondents identified as white, non-Hispanic and male. In the past 12 months, 57.5% of females witnessed or experienced sexual harassment, whereas 48.6% of surgeons of color witnessed or experienced racial/ethnic discrimination. Sexual harassment, racial/ethnic prejudice, or discrimination based on sexual orientation/sex identity was more frequent in the workplace than at academic conferences or in ACS. Females were more likely than males to report unfair treatment due to age, appearance or sex in the workplace and ACS (P ≤ 0.002). Surgeons of color were more likely than white, non-Hispanics to report unfair treatment in the workplace and ACS due to race/ethnicity (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first survey of ACS surgeons on equity and inclusion. Perceptions of bias are prevalent. Minorities reported more inequity than their white male counterparts. Behavior in the workplace was worse than at academic conferences or ACS. Ensuring equity and inclusion may help ACS attract and retain the best and brightest without fear of unfair treatment.
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