Leading progress: the role of the chief diversity officer in anesthesiology departments

  • Gianni R. LorelloEmail author

To the Editor,

Equity and diversity in medicine is gaining traction, particularly as it relates to women.1,2 Despite an increasing proportion of women and other socially-marginalized individuals entering the field of medicine, discrimination at individual and systemic levels create obstacles to academic advancement. This letter intends to inform other academic institutions of the pearls and perils that we have experienced in instituting an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) point person in our department, a position we have named—adopted from the business world—chief diversity officer (CDO).

Diversity and inclusion of thought, as well as people, drive innovation,3and individuals within any department should be representative of the individuals creating the fabric of society that we treat. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto launched a “We All Belong” campaign ( As part of the Faculty of Medicine’s mandate,...



I would like to thank Dr. Beverley Orser for her tremendous support as Chair of the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Toronto; Ms. Brenda Bui as the backbone of the department as well as her impeccable capacity of balancing administrative duties and support for the CDO; and Dr. Alana M. Flexman for our collaboration and her omnipresent enthusiasm in advancing EDI research.

Conflicts of interest


Funding statement


Editorial responsibility

This submission was handled by Dr. Hilary P. Grocott, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.

Supplementary material

12630_2019_1530_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (199 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 200 kb)


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Pain MedicineToronto Western Hospital, University Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiaThe University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.The Wilson CentreTorontoCanada

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