IntroductionWe 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.
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:
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).
ProcessThe THEMIS project is articulated into four stages:
I. 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 ,embers and EuSSAB members.
II. Data analysis
This is followed by data collection, which defines the extent of the phenomenon. It aims to reduce possible bias or confounding factors.
III. 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.
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 led by Andrea Luca, EUROSPINE's EUSSAB Vice Representative, together with M. Silvia Spinelli, Enrico Gallazzi (Programme Committee), Laura Scaramuzzo (Membership Committee), Johan van Lerbeirghe (Chair EUROSPINE's EuSSAB Committee), and Lisa Roberts (Chair Membership Committee).