Diversity Task Force
With over 9,000 members from more than 115 countries, ESICM is one of the largest professional intensive care societies in the world. Studies show that a diverse physician workforce is associated with more positive health outcomes for patients. Inter-professional collaboration is increasingly important for providing quality patient care and reducing workplace stresses for healthcare providers.Embracing diversity is therefore key for any professional organisation that wishes to provide the best care to the public. The ESICM Executive Committee has therefore declared the issue of diversity and equity to be a crucial strategic priority for the future.
For this purpose, a Diversity Task Force was appointed, under the leadership of the Chair of the NEXT Committee (Dr Björn Weiss). This Task Force met for the first time on 19 March 2018. Members of the Task Force were selected at this initial meeting to represent the different core divisions of the Society and to correct gaps in opportunities and representation.
Goals and future perspective
The Diversity Task Force’s foremost aims are to improve the framework conditions to identify and overcome potential barriers, promote balanced opportunities to all its members, regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin, cultural affiliation, religion, socio-economic status or profession, and to foster participation at all levels of the Society.
Three Working Groups
Three Working Groups, nominated by the Task Force members, were tasked with the development of formal statements on the following strategic topics:
- WG 1: Sex, gender identity and sexual orientation
- WG 2: Ethnicity, culture and socio-economic status
- WG 3: Multi-professionalism
The Task Force held its second meeting at LIVES2018 in Paris.
WG 1: Sex, gender identity and sexual orientation (Chaired by: Sangeeta Mehta & Jon Henrik Laake)
ESICM aims to create gender representation according to the gender proportion in the critical care workforce. This Working Group addresses gender imbalances in ESICM activities at all levels, including governing bodies, convening committees, panels, conference faculty and professional documents.The Working Group will also promote and establish family-friendly conference facilities to encourage participation of faculty and delegates with young children.
WG 2: Ethnicity, culture and socio-economic status (Chaired by Sharon Einav & Marlies Ostermann)
This Working Group deals with potential and actual issues related to ethnicity, cultural diversity and socio-economic status within the ESICM. It promotes adequate representation of ethnic minority groups and inclusion of members regardless of their geo-location, origin, cultural or socio-economic background.
The Working Group will review educational and research programmes, as well as the Society’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure their suitability/adaptability for different cultural contexts.
All ESICM members should be granted full access to educational and academic programmes delivered by the Society.
The Working Group is committed to ensuring that effective care is provided to critically ill patients worldwide, regardless of demographics and limited only by local medical capabilities.
WG 3: Multi-professionalism (Chaired by Pascale Gruber & Carole Boulanger)
All healthcare professionals possess knowledge, skills and expertise that contribute to optimal patient care. The third Working Group ensures that all aspects of critical care practice are fully represented and available to the organisation by removing organisational barriers to all AHP, encouraging recruitment/membership of under-represented AHPs, building bridges with other professional bodies and delivering cross-professional education and research.
Publication of findings
The Task Force has defined actionable items for a one and three-year plan, aiming at the identification of potential gaps and an implementation of concrete projects for the members of ESICM.
The Task Force has recently published its first Diversity Report – a Statement Paper on diversity for the ESICM – which introduces the structure and strategic plans of the ESICM Diversity Task Force and summarises the current diversity metrics of ESICM.
Diversity-related data available from the membership database was analysed and reported in aggregated form in the paper.
One-year Actionable items
- An annual ESICM diversity report will be published on the ESICM website to ensure transparency as a symbol of the Society’s commitment to this issue. The topic will be an agenda item at the ESICM Annual General Meetings (AGM).
- Code of Conduct for conferences and ESICM events
- Implicit Association Testing for reviewers and development of other equitable strategies for selecting recipients of fellowships, speakers for panels and candidates for leadership positions) [Note: as a result of the Implicit Association Test to explore bias, taken by all current members of the NEXT Committee, the NEXT Committee took the decision to reconfigure its evaluation procedures for NEXT Fellowships].
- An associated research project (IRB N2018/11), following the findings of the Implicit Association Testing of NEXT reviewers, to be presented as an abstract at LIVES 2019 in Berlin.
- Annual metrics to track and report statistics to ensure that the Society is achieving its goals
- Reducing membership fees for nurses and allied health professionals (Note: this was achieved in time for LIVES 2018)
- Involvement and inclusion of nurses and allied health professionals (N&AHP) in the faculty (and participation) of the Society’s Master Classes – which reflects the multi-professional profile of the ICU and approach to patient care
- ICaBed4U – a service to promote free accommodation in members’ own homes – to reduce economic barriers to attend the ESICM annual congress [launched in time for LIVES 2018 in Paris].
- Translation of the Society’s free intensive care app, AppIC, into multiple languages – which is currently available in five different languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian and Greek.
Three-year actionable items and long-term strategies
- Management projects aiming at the identification and reduction of barriers/issues
- Associated research projects
- Annual survey during the annual congress regarding diversity, equity and equality