Frequently Asked Questions

Why was this pledge created?
This pledge was created to raise awareness of the following:
  • The importance of diversity in continuing medical education (CME)
  • The power that every person possesses to help achieve the goal of diversity including the attendees, speakers, planning committee members, physician organizations, sponsors and accrediting bodies
Who should take this pledge?
Any health care provider who attends continuing medical education, organizations that create CME content, accrediting bodies and sponsors of educational content.

As an attendee of educational programs, do I have the ability to create change?
You absolutely do and arguably, you have the greatest power. If you do not attend a program because of lack of diversity, let the organizers know the reason. As more and more people do that, change will occur.

What does “diverse faculty” mean? Is there a target number or ratio?
There is no suggested target number or ratio as part of this pledge. The concept is to encourage heterogeneity and increase representation of different groups. Of course, this interpretation will be topic dependent. For example, if the topic of discussion is the “Female Experience in STEM”, one would expect that the faculty will all identify as female.

How should “ethnicity” be defined?
Ethnicity can be defined as “a grouping of humans based on people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion or social treatment within their residing area”.

Why call out gender and ethnicity specifically in the pledge? What about other communities?
Gender and ethnicity are only two of many, equally important considerations in diversity and inclusion. The spirit of this pledge is for greater diversity and inclusion of ALL groups, including the LGBTQ+ community, those living with disabilities and others. In addition to raising awareness, the pledge provides specific actions that all stakeholders can take. Gender and ethnicity are visible aspects of diversity and appropriate inclusion can be readily achieved now.

When looking at a meeting agenda, I cannot always tell the faculty’s gender or ethnicity. What should I do then?
For some meetings, the organizers may choose to include the pronouns (eg. him/he) that each faculty member would prefer. However, if that does not occur and upon attending the program, you discover that in fact, the faculty was homogenous, I encourage you to mention this to the meeting organizer, which will further raise awareness. The very fact that you notice, means that this pledge has had an impact.

Will following this pledge impact the quality of medical education provided?
Diversity in the planning committee and the delivery of medical education will only enhance the quality by bringing different views, experiences and knowledge. The expectation remains that the chosen faculty will have the necessary expertise to provide the education. Given the wide diversity now represented in the medical community, appropriate experts can be identified. As this effort continues, it will become easier to identify diverse experts as more people are given opportunities to gain experience.

Will this pledge end up promoting tokenism?
Tokenism defined as “the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing” is not the intention of this pledge. The expectation is that everyone involved in the development and delivery of education will contribute in meaningful ways. It is the responsibility of the people involved to ensure that is the case and this pledge cannot enforce that.

I am organizing a program and want to create a diverse planning committee and faculty. I asked a few speakers but they were unavailable. Is that good enough?
Going beyond one’s usual pool of colleagues/experts requires effort. Ask those who cannot participate to suggest other faculty. Ask the faculty who have agreed to participate. Utilize searchable databases that may exist for that particular therapeutic area. This is achievable but will require effort and as time goes on, it will be easier as more and more people gain experience and exposure.

How will this pledge be enforced?
The pledge is enforced by each of us participating in activities that support the values of the commitments. While the intention is not to be punitive, it is the hope that the commitment to the pledge will encourage accountability and allow all of us to speak up when diversity and inclusion have been missed. It is the responsibility of all of us to make a lasting change.