The Division of Gastroenterology is committed to providing patients, physicians, and staff with an equitable and inclusive environment. We recognize the importance of providing equitable opportunities for all trainees, faculty, and staff as one part of our commitment to improving health equity. The Division continues to be committed to building a culture of inclusive excellence that values the diversity of all of its members and the population we get the opportunity to serve – including all races, ethnicities, abilities, immigration status, gender identities and sexual orientations.
Achieving Health Equity and Equal Access in GI: Current Work and Future Directions
In 2023, the Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (DDRCC), through the Division of Gastroenterology, launched its inaugural seminar on “Achieving Health Equity and Equal Access in GI: Current Work and Future Directions.” The goals of this seminar were to provide current perspectives on health equity and equal access, specifically related to gastrointestinal diseases. The seminar featured presentations by prominent physicians and physician scientists whose research programs directly addressed issues such as inclusive care of LGBTQ+ individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-associated hepatocellular carcinoma, access to cancer genetics and prevention among historically marginalized populations, and leveraging effective technology-based patient-provider communication tools to enhance access to liver transplantation in underserved groups. More importantly, it served as a forum to openly and freely discuss these topics and to incorporate some of these ideas in our practice. Moving forward, this annual event will demonstrate the Division of Gastroenterology’s commitment to promoting a culture of inclusion and health equity within the School of Medicine and in the St. Louis community.
Cassandra Fritz and Jose Saenz planned the inaugural event highlighting health equity issues in gastroenterology. The event highlighted diverse speakers with engaging content, ranging from LQBTQI issues in IBD care to improved access to telehealth and liver transplantation. Drs. Fritz and Saenz both have integral roles in the Department of Medicine and the Gastroenterology Division, planning diversity, equity, and inclusion events, seminar series, and providing research opportunities for diverse students and trainees.