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J&J Awards DEI Vice Chair $1.2M to Direct Diverse Surgeons Initiative

February 29, 2024
by Elisabeth Reitman

Paris Butler, MD, MPH, the inaugural Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at the Yale Department of Surgery, has been granted $1.2M by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to spearhead the Diverse Surgeons Initiative 2.0 (DSI) in collaboration with the Society of Black American Surgeons.

Originally established in 2002, the DSI provided targeted technical and didactic training to promising mid-level surgical residents from ethnically underrepresented backgrounds in medicine.

"Over a decade, participants achieved remarkable success in securing surgical fellowships and faculty appointments," noted Dr. Butler, who was part of the inaugural cohort of 76 residents.

Among DSI participants, 87% completed subspecialty fellowships, with 41% obtaining faculty positions over the subsequent five years of their careers.

"This grant enables us to reintroduce an enhanced version of the DSI program, now expanded to include open surgical training, alongside continued mentorship and exposure to surgical leaders," he explained.

Since Dr. Butler's appointment as the inaugural Vice Chair of DEI in 2022, the department has made significant advancements. These include recruiting the most diverse intern class in its history, establishing a DEI mission statement, appointing faculty liaisons at identity-based national surgical societies, and implementing the largest visiting student scholarship in the school. These efforts underscore the department's dedication to substantial and measurable progress toward a more equitable and inclusive future in surgical practice and education.

Submitted by Stevi Kramer on March 05, 2024