We are pleased to introduce you to an exciting new project that EUROSPINE has recently initiated: THEMIS. The name refers to the ancient Greek goddess of justice whose symbols of scales and blindfolds refer to the characteristics of the project: Balance and pragmatism as well as impartiality and objectivity.
A project on diversity and inclusion that aims to promote a culture of equality and inclusivity in spine care by identifying and addressing barriers that prevent certain groups from accessing high-quality care.
We can probably all agree that diversifying the medical workforce is critical to reducing health care disparity and improving patient outcomes.
The benefits of a balanced environment include:
- The flourishing of intellectual capital through the exchange of diverse experiences and competencies.
- The increase of its attractiveness impacts the number of professionals orbiting around it.
- Both the increased efficiency and the enlargement of human interactions are a powerful call for investors.
However, the most crucial value of diversity in medical care is improving patient outcomes, as clearly shown by several studies, through the impact on the patient-healthcare professional relationship: a diverse environment ensures improved communication, decision-making processes, and adherence to care plans.
The critical mass for effective diversity is 30%. A non-inclusive environment constitutes a potentially lethal threat for scientific societies and subspecialties (such as spine surgery).
The THEMIS project is articulated into four stages:
- Epidemiological study: This preliminary step aims to describe the current status within EUROSPINE and the National Spine Societies represented in EuSSAB, allowing us to detect potential under-represented situations. The survey will explore different aspects, including age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, and physical ability and will disseminated among EUROSPINE members and EuSSAB members.
- Data analysis: This is followed by data collection, which defines the extent of the phenomenon. It aims to reduce possible bias or confounding factors.
- Call to actions: Once the extent of the phenomenon is defined, a thorough assessment of the potential causes perpetuating the phenomenon is carried out: This anticipates the subsequent proactive step.
EUROSPINE will evaluate and introduce specific measures to mitigate imbalanced situations through tailored membership programmes, educational initiatives, scientific initiatives and internal reorganisation.
In parallel, EuSSAB will promote discussion between representatives of national spine societies to develop common guidelines and recommendations.
- Monitoring: Although some of the initiatives are expected to produce preliminary results relatively quickly (1-2 years), substantial resettlements of the umbalanced conditions may require a longer span of time (5 years). During this period, close monitoring of the trend will allow evaluating the effectiveness of the actions undertaken and, if necessary, modify them.
Stage I has been initiated by a newly created and dedicated EUROSPINE Task Force comprised of experts in the field who will work together to develop strategies, guidelines, and research initiatives aimed at advancing the understanding and treatment of diversity within the spine community.
This initiative is significant because it recognises the need for a more inclusive approach to spinal research and treatment. By focusing on diversity, the task force aims to address the unique needs and experiences of individuals from a variety of backgrounds. This approach has the potential to improve patient outcomes and contribute to a more equitable healthcare system.
How can you support this project?
Support this project and take part in the survey that has been developed to better understand Diversity and Inclusion in the field of spine care. It only takes about 5-8 minutes to complete the survey. The more participants, the more meaningful the result will be.