The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently announced the appointment of a chair and vice chair to lead its new Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Directors’ Forum.
Terrance Mayes, EdD, executive director and executive director of Strategy, Equity, and Inclusion for the Stanford Medicine Enterprise Strategy Team, and Loretta Erhunmwunsee, MD, FACS, thoracic surgeon and assistant professor at the City of Hope’s Division of Thoracic Surgery and Division. of Health Inequalities, respectively, will serve as chair and vice-chair.
Erhunmwunsee and Mayes, who also serves as executive director of the Commission on Justice and Equity at Stanford Medicine, and associate director of DEI at the Stanford Cancer Institute, discuss their goals and priorities in their new roles to support DEI efforts at NCCN academic cancer centers. cross country.
Dr. Mayes, can you talk about your goals and priorities as chair of the NCCN DEI Directors’ Forum?
Mayes: I am honored to be appointed as the first chair of the NCCN DEI Forum. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, or NCCN, as it’s called, is a coalition of 32 leading cancer centers, all truly dedicated to patient care, research, and education. And Stanford is a proud founding member of this network, we joined in the 90s.
NCCN has long advocated for policies and practices to achieve equitable and affordable cancer care. But in recent years, and especially after the violence against Black Americans in the summer of 2020, the NCCN, like many organizations around the world, began to place a much greater and much needed focus on identifying and dismantling those deep historical, social, and structural barriers—barriers that have hindered progress, including and barriers such as racism, and other forms of discrimination.
So, I am really proud to be a part of this team. NCCN was established as a community of subject matter experts, working together to address many of the issues I have just mentioned. And doing that through shared best practices, through policy, advocacy, at all levels, and through education, and that’s what I hope we’ll do together as a community.
Dr Erhunmwunsee, can you talk about your goals and priorities as the vice chair of the NCCN DEI Directors Forum?
Erhunmwunsee: So, honestly, in order to achieve health equity, it is important that we get real DEI from our employees. Therefore, we must move away from educational approaches that merely discuss the benefits of DEI without real change—instead begin to make cancer centers and centers truly diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
Currently, there are very few [minorities] represented in medicine, at work, and certainly in leadership. Even when they are there, they tend to isolate themselves. And the truth is, this has to change. Therefore, we at the new DEI Directors Forum hope to provide a space for DEI leaders to reflect on best practices and challenges regarding developing DEI programs in their institutions and to develop recommendations for new policies and procedures to support DEI efforts so that we can find. to the point where our workforce is truly diverse, inclusive, and equitable, and our patients as a result benefit and we can truly move toward health equity.