Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
the Department of Surgery’s Approach
to confronting racial bias

Chelsea Dorsey, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery and vascular surgeon, leads the DEI Steering Committee in her role as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Surgery.

Our Mission, Vision and Values

In the aftermath of recent national events that put a spotlight on police brutality, discrimination and violence against minority populations, the University of Chicago Department of Surgery has redoubled its efforts to confront systemic racism and bias.


The University of Chicago Department of Surgery is committed to addressing and eliminating discrimination in all forms within our department through continuous self-assessment, targeted programming, advocacy and creation of an increasingly diverse and culturally competent workforce by embedding diversity and inclusion as an integral component of surgical excellence. In doing so, we aim to remove barriers to healthcare access, to provide the best care for our community and to create an optimal and equitable environment to work, conduct research and train.

  • We are committed to equitable treatment and eliminating discrimination in all its forms.
  • We honor the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals.
  • We recognize and respect the diversity of our patients, trainees and staff. 
  • We are committed to the dynamic process of confronting discrimination and racism in our department and community.
  • We believe that a more diverse workforce is essential to treating a diverse community.
  • Through efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion, we can remove barriers to healthcare access and enable our department to provide the best care for our community.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee is working towards these goals through six subcommittees:

  1. Clinical Care, Access and Continuity: Are we approaching certain patient populations with bias? How can we provide care equitably to all patients? Can we more successfully integrate factors regarding social determinants of health into our practice?
  2. Communications: How can we use our walls, video monitors, website and other media forms to tell inspiring stories about ourselves and our patients, stories that respect departmental history while envisioning a present and future state that is more and more diverse and equitable? How can we change our messaging to reflect our genuine commitment to DEI? How are we communicating the work we are doing?
  3. Community Engagement and Activism: How can we expose local community members to careers in healthcare? How can we build trust with members of our community? How can we advocate for change at a local and national level?
  4. Education and Evaluation: Are we addressing implicit bias when recruiting new housestaff or evaluating our trainees? How can we recruit residents and fellows whose backgrounds are concordant with those of our patients? How can we augment our curricula to include DEI topics?
  5. Hiring, Career Development and Promotion: How do we recruit a more diverse group of physicians and staff? How can we address gender and racial bias? How can we retain faculty of color and mentor them?
  6. Wellness: How can we mitigate the psychological distress our departmental colleagues might feel as a result of bias? How can we train our housestaff to recognize bias and report it?

The DEI Steering Committee is well underway in transforming our work environment, including new hallway displays that tell a more complete story of our department and its relationship to our community and celebrate the contributions of role models and leaders who overcame the stereotypes and the biases we are working to eliminate. Our department’s website has been updated to better reflect the diversity already among our ranks and our commitment to creating a truly inclusive environment. We are also making exciting changes to our residency and fellowship curriculums to integrate DEI while also making concerted efforts to engage with our community and advocate for societal change. We look forward to keeping you apprised of all of our efforts.

The DEI Steering Committee was created under the leadership of vascular surgeon Chelsea Dorsey, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, in her newly appointed role as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Surgery. Because of the critical importance of DEI to wellness, ethics and professionalism, Peter Angelos, MD, PhD, Linda Kohler Anderson Professor of Surgery and Vice Chair for Ethics, Wellness and Professional Development is co-chairing this steering committee. Numerous faculty, residents, fellows and staff have enlisted in this effort to organize, energize and actualize DEI initiatives that will not only impact every aspect of our work, but also build better partnerships with our community and the patients we serve.