Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Statement

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recognizes that the diversity of its community – including its members, leadership, and staff – is a vital component of the AASM’s mission: Advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives. We are committed to maintaining an inclusive space by respecting and celebrating our unique attributes, backgrounds, and perspectives. To build a strong community, the AASM is devoted to providing a welcoming environment in which diverse opinions, experiences, and viewpoints are appreciated, and every individual feels a sense of belonging. We value equity and seek to provide opportunities for all while striving to identify and eliminate barriers to inclusion. Recognizing that sleep is essential to health, we will work with stakeholders, policymakers, and the public to reduce sleep health disparities.

– Revised by the AASM Board of Directors on January 22, 2021

For a copy of the latest AASM diversity and inclusion report, visit the Strategic Plan webpage.

The AASM’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is hosting a series virtual discussion groups as part of our effort to promote a welcoming environment for all members. We are currently seeking volunteers in the select member groups below to dialogue about your work and any challenges you may have encountered within the sleep medicine field. We would love to hear your experience!

Member Discussion Groups

  • Black/African American members
    • Friday, May 7th at 3:00PM ET
  • APP members
    • Friday, May 28th at 3:00PM ET
  • Sleep Tech members
    • Friday, July 23rd at 3:00PM ET
  • Hispanic members
    • Friday, August 6th 3:00PM ET
  • International members
  • Solo Practice members

Session Details

  • Held on Fridays starting in May 2021
  • Each session will take approximately 60 minutes
  • 4-6 participants per group
  • Will need access to a computer/cellphone with reliable camera and internet connection

Educate yourself and spread awareness with DEI resources

Receive support and recognition through available DEI programs

AASM DEI Meeting Grant

The purpose of the grant is to provide AASM members whose demographic characteristics are underrepresented within the AASM’s volunteer and leadership population an opportunity to become more engaged so one day they are no longer underrepresented. The grant will cover registration fees and include travel assistance in future years when SLEEP is held as an in-person meeting.

APSS DEI Leadership Award

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award is a new effort to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of sleep medicine and/or sleep and circadian science by increasing diversity in the field, developing targeted educational programs or working to reduce sleep health disparities.

AASM Foundation Diversity Supplement Award

The AASM Foundation is committed to developing the careers of sleep and circadian investigators. To meet this goal, the AASM Foundation encourages and supports the development of a diverse and well-trained sleep and circadian research workforce. The AASM Foundation is offering supplemental funds to active awards to support individuals from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences.

Comment 1: Why doesn’t the AASM’s statement specifically address underrepresented minorities? What is the AASM doing to recruit these candidates through scholarships or other mechanisms?

Response 1: The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement is meant to address all aspects of diversity, including gender, national origin, disability, race, and others. As such, this statement is left purposefully nonspecific. That said, the AASM is putting resources directly into increasing participation of members and potential members from underrepresented groups (including racial and ethnic groups). For example, new for 2021, the Board of Directors approved a grant to fund participation in the annual APSS meeting by attendees from these groups.

Comment 2:  The AASM needs to ensure that diagnostic and therapeutic criteria for sleep apnea are more inclusive for patients in communities of color, especially in women of color.

Response 2: The DEI Committee agrees with the importance of addressing racial sleep health disparities. While our committee’s mandate is directed internally at improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the AASM, we have referred this suggestion to the committees that address sleep apnea diagnoses and treatments, including the Hypopnea Scoring Rule Task Force, the ICSD-3 Revision Task Force, and the Scoring Manual Committee.­­­­­­ In addition, in 2021/2022, the AASM has included health equity in its goals.

Comment 3: The AASM should offer interactive workshops on implicit bias at leadership events during the annual meeting or as online webinars.

Response 3: The AASM Board of Directors participated in an implicit bias training workshop in 2019, and another implicit bias training workshop for all AASM leaders, including committee chairs and vice chairs, took place in November 2020. Our “Implicit Bias & Microaggressions in Medicine” webinar, held in January 2021, is now available on-demand as a free member resource. We would be happy to take any specific suggestions for future workshops as our education on this subject is never done.

Comment 4: Why isn’t the AASM Board of Directors more racially diverse?

Response 4: Diversity is a prioritized consideration when the Nominating Committee considers candidates for the Board of Directors. In this context, multiple aspects of diversity are considered, including race and ethnicity, gender, primary specialty, practice setting, geography, expertise, and previous AASM service. AASM’s 2020 DEI Data Report provides a detailed overview of representation within AASM’s volunteers and leaders. The 2021 report will be available later this year.

The AASM does want to see more underrepresented minorities become AASM members, serve in leadership roles on AASM committees and task forces, and serve on the board of directors. Strengthening the diversity of our membership and our leadership pipeline will help promote greater diversity on the Board of Directors. Implicit bias training has been provided to our volunteer leaders, and the committee is continuing its work to identify any barriers that may deter members from underrepresented groups from serving in leadership roles within the AASM. We are focused on recommending strategies for improvement, such as the recently launched DEI Travel and Registration Grant, and our annual DEI Data Reports will help us measure the results of this work.

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