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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Embracing Inclusion: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Mar 13, 2024, 11:45 AM by DEI Committee

Dear ASTS Community,

As we enter March, let's honor Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by reaffirming our commitment to inclusivity, understanding, and support for individuals with developmental disabilities. In healthcare, especially organ transplantation, addressing their unique challenges and ensuring equitable access to life-saving procedures is crucial. Essentially, we should not make decisions based on cognitive disability or base them on our perception of quality of life. We must entrust patients, their families, and support systems to determine what constitutes a fulfilling “quality of life” post-transplant. Let's fortify our healthcare systems to provide inclusive care, dismantle barriers, and advocate for systemic change. Let's continue championing inclusivity and support for a world where everyone is valued and empowered.

Here is an example of a policy from one of our partner transplant programs, NYP CHONY Pediatric Heart Transplant Program.

“Intellectual or developmental disabilities are not considered a determinative limitation on the benefit of transplantation. Stereotypes regarding individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as compared to individuals without disabilities are not considered when developing or applying inclusionary/exclusionary criteria and policies in the context of determining whether to list a pediatric patient for a heart transplant.”

We encourage all programs to adopt and publicly share your stance on addressing patients with Developmental Disabilities.

ASTS DEI Committee

April is Arab American Heritage Month 

We're featuring stories from our members!

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Marwan Abouljoud, MD, CPE, FACS

Discover more about Dr. Abouljoud's journey in transplant.


2024 Celebrations Calendar


  • Poverty in America Awareness Month
  • Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
  • January 15 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • January 27 - International Holocaust Remembrance Day


  • Black History Month
  • American Heart Month
  • February 14 - National Donor Day


  • Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • March 8 - International Women's Day
  • March 21 - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • March 25 - International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery
  • March 31 - International Transgender Day of Visibility


  • Arab American Awareness Month
  • Diversity Month
  • National Donate Life Month


  • Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • Haitian Heritage Month
  • Indian Heritage Month
  • Jewish-American Heritage Month
  • Mental Health Awareness Month
  • Speech-Language-Hearing Month
  • May 21 - World Day for Cultural Diversity


  • Caribbean American Heritage Month
  • Pride Month
  • June 19 - Juneteenth


  • Disability Pride Month
  • July 18 - South Asian Heritage Month begins


  • National Minority Donor Awareness Month
  • August 9 - International Day of the World's Indigenous People
  • August 26 - Women's Equality Day


  • September 15 - Hispanic Heritage Month begins


  • LGBTQ+ History Month
  • National Disability Employment
  • October 14 - Indigenous People's Day


  • Native American Heritage Month
  • November 13-19 - Transgender Awareness Week
  • November 16 - International Day for Tolerance


  • Universal Human Rights Month
  • December 1 - World AIDS Day
  • December 3 - International Day of Persons with Disabilities
  • December 10 - International Human Rights Day


Funding Opportunities


Visiting Student Diversity Scholarship for General Surgery

Deadline: June 1, 2024

The Thomas Jefferson University - Sidney Kimmel Medical College Visiting Student Diversity Scholarship Program for 4th year medical students who are interested in Academic Surgery. The program will be offered to several eligible students in the early fall of the academic year 2024-2025.

Learn more!

ASTS Socio Economic & Racial Disparity (SERD) Grant

2024 grant cycle closed - stay tuned for more information on the 2025 grant cycle

The SERD Grant supports innovative research in addressing health disparities in transplantation. Proposals should aim at addressing and decreasing disparities in transplantation. Examples may include, increasing access in transplantation for populations facing disparities, increasing minority donation, and improving transplant outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. 

$25,000 per year for two years

Learn more!



Additional Resources

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DEI Committee

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Heritage Celebration Archive

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Peer Support Program

If you've experienced an adverse event or just need some extra support, complete our anonymous referral form to be connected to a trained peer supporter.

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Boldly Against Racism Campaign

In 2021, ASTS formed the Boldly Against Racism Campaign to address disparities. Learn more about the initiative!