The American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) says it has represented its members as “the true skin experts” for more than 50 years. Yet, it has clouded objective standards in favor of demonstrating its woke bona fides.
ASDS was an early adopter of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as it created a DEI Work Group and strategic goals in April 2020. The “value statement” of the work group included a commitment to anti-racism and advancing health equity. ASDS produced an official position statement, which stated:
In an effort to further fulfill ASDS’s commitment to caring for diverse populations. Including Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC); sexual and gender minority (SGM) persons,” the statement says, “the following positions are hereby recognized:
- Systematic efforts to uncover, confront and address implicit bias in the culture and practice of dermatology.
- Comprehensive research that will expand knowledge of social determinants of health and mitigate health disparities facing BIPOC communities as well as LGBTQ/SGM individuals.
- Both public and private health insurance coverage of gender affirming treatment.
ASDS said the position statement “is intended to service as a guidepost” for the organization to deliver “equitable” care to patients. Among the references used for their position statement is a 1989 publication by Kimberle’ Crenshaw (the primary developer of the concept of “intersectionality”) that describes “feminist theory and antiracist politics.”
This is not the only time the ASDS has waded into the choppy waters of gender ideology.
On April 12, 2021, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA, which is the advocacy and education arm of the ASDS) issued a letter to the nation’s governors and lawmakers. The message urged them “to veto anti-transgender legislation prohibiting gender affirming care including procedural dermatology,” and even voiced opposition to an Arkansas bill that contained provisions for the protection of children.
“After Arkansas became the first state to ban gender affirming care for transgender youth,” a subsequent press release noted, “ASDSA felt the need to voice its concern, as procedural dermatology is an important aspect of gender affirmation treatment.” ASDSA president Dr. Mathew Avram said that such legislation “does permanent damage to the gender diverse population,” claiming that lack of healthcare access “is directly linked to the high rate of suicide in this population.” Dr. Mona Gohara, who chairs the ASDS DEI Work Group, also weighed in, saying that denying the ability of dermatologic surgeons to perform this type of treatment on transgender people “can cause devastating, life-changing outcomes and mental health crises, which could result in suicide.”
Neither the letter to the governors nor the press release on the organization’s website offered any scientific evidence to support the claims made by Dr. Avram and Dr. Gohara. The actual facts show that the alarmist messaging about suicide risk echoed by the ASDS/ASDSA is not supported by the scientific evidence.
The ASDS continues to endorse divisive ideologies by encouraging members to be “DEI Ambassadors.” While the program’s application says the objective is “to help promote cultural competency and awareness within dermatology,” the website reveals the true intent of the initiative. To be a DEI Ambassador, members must commit to the tenets of “anti-racism” and “advancing health equity.” This means they are expected to address racism with racism, and to approach patients from an identity perspective instead of a clinical one.
Dermatologists and dermatologic surgeons are trained to recognize, investigate, and treat health issues related to human skin, many of which can be very serious. This medical specialty needs the support and guidance of a professional society that can see beyond group identities, providing its members with clinically sound resources that can be used to serve all patients on an individual basis.
Is your professional organization promoting woke ideologies and identity politics instead of adhering to its stated mission? Do No Harm wants to hear from you, and you may remain anonymous if you wish.
Get up to speed with the threats facing healthcare – and how we’re protecting patients and physicians.
"*" indicates required fields