Diversity within IHPBA

By Alison Shamwana | Started 16th Dec 2019

The IHPBA is committed to diversity and is actively working to address the historical shortcomings in this regard. We probably have not worked hard enough, and recognise that there are still gaps in our world congress program and in the representation on our committees. The Twitter discussion has precipitated a much-needed engagement.

Many women deserve to participate in our structures based on merit alone and we have debated a quota approach. There are many arguments for and against, including how a quota system may be required as an initial driver to overcome some of the systemic obstacles to diversity. Alternatively, a quota system may not promote a meritocracy and can be viewed as paternalistic. We have however made some progress and look to our members to guide us in the future through the self-nomination process to committees, submissions to HPB and abstract submission and attendance at our regional and world congresses.

We welcome and encourage HPB surgeons from all demographic and geographic groups to engage with the Association and secure representation and a voice in the future direction of IHPBA.  We are keen to hear from you, and have set up this discussion so that all our members can participate in a positive discussion as to how we move into the future and ensure the IHPBA is representative of all the regions and enjoys the benefits of diversity. 

Martin Smith, IHPBA President

Comments (3)
  • Alison Shamwana 19th Mar 2020


    Comment by Dr Tamara Floyd

    A very important topic for discussion! After an amazing experience overall at AHPBA Conference, I must say Dr. Salles gave an outstanding talk about implicit bias during the Women In Surgery session.  

    There have been recent tests created that individuals can take to assess their own implicit biases. With this, it may be possible that those in certain positions, should take these tests and organizations should create diversity and implicit bias training to overcome them. Certainly, the first step is identifying the need for change. The American College of Surgeons fairly recently created a Committee on Diversity Issues, which highlights the importance of increasing diversity in the field.

  • Alison Shamwana 19th Mar 2020


    IHPBA response

    Thank you very much for your message and contribution to our diversity in IHPBA discussion topic.  

    IHPBA is aware that diversity is an issue we need to urgently address.  Several of our officers, including our President, Professor Smith, attended the Women in Surgery session in Miami and I am sure will have the same takeaways as you.

    We are currently drafting a diversity policy and will be calling for applications to fill a senior position on the IHPBA Executive to implement change in this area.  We will also investigate your suggestion of using tests and training to overcome underlying biases.

    While we recognise that there is a lot to be done, please be assured that we are committed to increasing diversity within both IHPBA and the wider field of HPB surgery and are working towards this goal.

  • Alison Shamwana 19th Mar 2020


    Dr Floyd reply

    Thank you so much for your response! I am excited and happy to see IHPBA’s commitment to diversity and applaud all of your and the officers efforts.

    Again, I sincerely appreciate your response and what you are doing!

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