Welcome to the launch of Lotus Scroll, the official newsletter of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons (SAAS). Through the Lotus Scroll, we are excited to distribute and enhance the vision of SAAS: to promote diversity and inclusion in academic surgery through the sponsorship and development of its leaders.
In launching this inaugural edition, we had a chance to reflect on what makes SAAS uniquely special. As a group, Asian Americans have been successful in obtaining achievements that are largely based on objective measures – getting into medical school and surgical residency. However, the next phase, securing a faculty position and obtaining academic promotions and leadership positions pose greater hurdles. As highlighted by Abelson et al,1 minorities face challenges in promotion and retention in academic medicine, particularly junior faculty. Some of the professional challenges that minorities face are unique such as implicit bias, diversity-related responsibilities, cultural upbringing, and lack of role models.
While the lack of Asian role models in surgical leadership positions reflects the historic dearth of Asians in medicine, this translates into few Asian leaders to mentor and shepherd the next generation of Asian surgeons attempting to climb the academic ranks. In a single surgery department, it is rare to find a senior surgeon of Asian descent that can serve as a role model. Founded by Asians who are current leaders in academic surgery, SAAS provides our community the opportunity to develop relationships, find support and mentorship, and obtain the tools to develop into leaders in surgery and medicine. The annual conferences provide an opportunity to rub elbows with the premiere leaders in surgery and connect with people that inspire us.
In this inaugural edition of the Lotus Scroll, we start with an in-depth interview with one of the SAAS founders and current president, Jennifer Tseng, MD, MPH. We also connect with the local hosts of the upcoming annual meeting in Boston, MA to learn about the meeting highlights.
We look forward to providing the SAAS community with inspiring and engaging articles through the Lotus Scroll and are excited to represent the voice of SAAS during this exciting and prosperous adventure.
- Abelson et al. Racial and ethnic disparities in promotion and retention of academic surgeons. American Journal of Surgery Oct 2018