The Newly-Established Society of Black Pathologists Seeks to Address Healthcare Disparities and Pathology Workforce Diversity

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SBP Partners with American Society for Clinical Pathology to Address Barriers to Inclusion in Pathology Profession, Expand Research and Promote Leadership Development

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“Expanding the pipeline so that more Black and Brown professionals enter the pathology and laboratory medicine workforce is critical to addressing health inequities,” said Carla L. Ellis, MD, FASCP, President of the Society of Black Pathologists.

Providing quality care for all patients requires an understanding of the diseases that disproportionately impact minorities. The newly-created Society of Black Pathologists (SBP), a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, IL, aims to encourage more Black and under-represented minorities to enter the pathology profession and enhance leadership development in an effort to provide more equitable care. Part of SBP’s mission also includes conducting research that carefully examines healthcare issues that pose greater risks to people of color.

“Expanding the pipeline so that more Black and Brown professionals enter the pathology and laboratory medicine workforce is critical to addressing health inequities,” said Carla L. Ellis, MD, FASCP, President of the SBP and Associate Professor of Pathology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “The Society of Black Pathologists is committed to connecting with students from under-represented populations and supporting their training through scholarship aid and providing mentorship and leadership opportunities that will allow them to make a significant impact on patient care.”

To achieve this mission, SBP has established a partnership with the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) in which ASCP will manage certain activities of SBP to promote mutual interests in education and diversity and inclusion.

“ASCP has managed other medical societies for more than a decade, and it has a well-established commitment to mitigating disparities in health care in Black and other under-represented populations,” Dr. Ellis said. “In addition to working to expand the pipeline of Black and other individuals of color into the pathology workforce, our partnership will work to increase equity and retention through mentorship and leadership development in our efforts to strengthen a culture of antiracism and inclusion in pathology. It will also promote evidence-based research on racial and ethnic health disparities and social determinants of health.”

“ASCP is honored to partner with the SBP,” said ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT (ASCP)CM. “The creation of an organization such as the SBP is long overdue. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the critical role of the medical laboratory team and pathology to the forefront. It is an opportunity for us to not only continue to recognize the individuals who play a significant part of delivering patient care, but to encourage individuals from under-represented communities to explore careers in this profession so that our profession truly reflects the communities that they serve.”

In the upcoming year, ASCP will assist the SBP with planning its inaugural education event. The SBP will also provide members to serve as faculty for ASCP’s Annual Meeting this fall.

Dr. Ellis said the idea to establish a medical society for Black pathologists has resonated with her for years, and leaders at top academic institutions across the country have been in ongoing discussions about this as well. She noted that recent events nationwide related to violence against persons of color and long-standing health disparities further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a greater urgency to move forward at this time.

ASCP past President Melissa P. Upton, MD, FASCP, who spearheaded ASCP’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, provided the fledgling group with guidance. “ASCP has long been engaged in health outcomes research, as well as in global efforts to improve diagnostic testing and pathology services around non-communicable diseases,” Dr. Upton said. “Thus, we have already been addressing health equities globally. A critical part of this is addressing the workforce shortages of pathologists and laboratory professionals, globally and at home.”

“This definitely involves pipeline efforts to reach out to students from underserved populations, to welcome them into our training programs, to support them with scholarship aid, and to engage them in our committees and councils where they can lead and execute changes to improve laboratory and pathology services,” she added.

Another important component of the SBP’s mission will be to conduct research that carefully examines healthcare issues that pose greater risks to people of color. “As the U.S. becomes increasingly diverse, it is incumbent upon the healthcare profession to understand why some diseases disproportionately affect minorities and to address those disparities,” Dr. Upton said. "Members of the Society of Black Pathologists bring a phenomenal level of expertise and are ready to delve into new research that can illuminate our understanding of these concerns and develop ways to address them.”

To learn more about SBP, please call (800) 267-2727.

About SBP
The Society of Black Pathologists is a nonprofit organization, established in 2020, dedicated to addressing barriers to diversity and inclusion, working to increase the number of Black and under-represented minorities in pathology, providing mentorship to support career and leadership development and expanding research in the area of healthcare disparities. To learn more, visit http://www.societyofblackpathologists.org.

About ASCP
Founded in 1922 in Chicago, ASCP is the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals. ASCP provides excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, anatomic and clinical pathologists, and medical laboratory professionals. To learn more, visit http://www.ascp.org. Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ascp_chicago and connect with us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ASCP.Chicago.

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