Dr. Cato T. Laurencin Delivers Keynote Speech at University of Virginia Diversity Conference

Laurencin’s keynote address challenged the conference's audience to consider adopting his concept called the IDEAL Path (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Learning).

Dr. Laurencin at UVA DEI conference.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, from left to right, with mentees Erica Taylor, MD, Jasmin McGinty, MD, and A. Rashard Dacus, MD. Dr. Erica Taylor is Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Division of Hand Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Jasmin McGinty is an Emeritus Professor and former Program Director of Orthopaedic Surgery, St. Louis University School of Medicine, Dr. A. Rashard Dacus is Division Head, Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Extremity Service and Professor, Vice Chair for Diversity, Inclusion and Clinician Wellness, University of Virginia.

Cato T. Laurencin, MD, Ph.D., was the invited keynote speaker for the 2023 How When & Why of DEI Conference sponsored by the University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing.  Laurencin is the University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Chief Executive Officer, The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

An understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion in health care today needs to be acknowledged and in practice by all members of the health care team and administration. The conference focused on helping health care team members support their respective organizations in establishing attainable goals within a reasonable timeline. The conference also provided resources to implement and constantly improve valuable diversity, equity, and inclusion at the learner’s institution and to evolve further opportunities for future education on the topics.

Laurencin’s keynote challenged the audience to consider the adoption of the IDEAL Path (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Learning), a concept he first presented when he was awarded the Herbert W. Nickens Award by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

An advocate for diversity in the medical field,  Laurencin has received Diversity and Inclusion awards across medicine (the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Diversity Award), Engineering (the Biomedical Engineering Society Diversity Award) and Science (the Society for Biomaterials inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award). He is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, published by Springer Nature.

At the meeting he was reunited with several individuals he has mentored over many years including Professor Rashard Dacus of the University of Virginia, Professor Jasmin McGinty of St. Louis University, and Professor Erica Taylor of Duke University.

Laurencin stated, “The conference was wonderful. It was particularly great to reunite with my mentees and see how accomplished they have become in their careers.”

Laurencin is the first individual to receive three of the principal honors for mentorship in our nation: the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Math Mentoring (from President Barack Obama), the Beckman Award for Mentoring, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mentor Award. His philosophy on mentoring is discussed in his autobiography entitled “Success is What You Leave Behind,” published by Elsevier.