This is Our Lane: A Pilot Study Examining the Surgeon's Role in Social Justice Advocacy

Heather L. Liebe, Christie Buonpane, Samara Lewis, Alena Golubkova, Tyler Leiva, Ryan Phillips, Kenneth Stewart, Kerstin M. Reinschmidt, Tabitha Garwe, Zoona Sarwar, Catherine J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite the importance of social justice advocacy, surgeon attitudes toward individual involvement vary. We hypothesized that the majority of surgeons in this study, regardless of gender or training level, believe that surgeons should be involved in social justice movements. Methods: A survey was distributed to surgical faculty and trainees at three academic tertiary care centers. Participation was anonymous with 123 respondents. Chi-square and Fisher's exact test were used for analysis with significance accepted when p < 0.05. Thematic analysis was performed on free responses. Results: The response rate was 46%. Compared to men, women were more likely to state that surgeons should be involved (86% vs 64%, p = 0.01) and were personally involved in social justice advocacy (86% vs 51%, p = 0.0002). Social justice issues reported as most important to surgeons differed significantly by gender (p = 0.008). Generated themes for why certain types of advocacy involvement were inappropriate were personal choices, professionalism and relationships. Conclusions: Social justice advocacy is important to most surgeons in this study, especially women. This emphasizes the need to incorporate advocacy into surgical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-200
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Advocacy
  • Human rights
  • Opinion
  • Social justice
  • Surgeons
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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