February 07, 2023
Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador Spotlight: Dr. Katie Ballert
The UK College of Medicine’s clinical and basic science departments, centers, and educational offices are all working to develop more inclusive and equitable practices. Our Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors are charged with leading these efforts.
Q: What made you want to become a diversity and inclusion ambassador?
A: My experiences as an adoptive parent and part of a multiracial family, as well as my desire to help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, inspired me to become a Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador. My experiences thus far have been excellent. I have learned a lot from and been inspired by my colleagues in the group. Working as a Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador has also inspired me to join the ACGME DEI Officers Forum, which has been a great learning experience, and to serve on the reviewing board for the AUANews “Celebrating Diversity with the AUA” focus issue.
Q: What past professional experiences have prepared you for this work as an ambassador?
A: Training and practicing in a field in which women are underrepresented has helped prepare me for my work as a Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador. There was one female chief urology resident in my training program when I was intern, but I was the only female during my four years of urology training. The number of female urology residents has increased over the last 20 years, but women and underrepresented minorities (URM) remain significantly underrepresented in both urologic residencies and the workforce. It is very concerning that the URM representation in urology has actually decreased over the last decade. I hope to be involved in changing this landscape, and I am committed to the continued education of myself and others in order to do so.
Q: Do you have any goals for your department that you hope to accomplish over the next year?
A: Over the next year I plan to work with our program director to review and improve our resident applicant screening and interview processes, ensuring that we prioritize a holistic review and evaluation of applicants. I also plan to increase the number of DEI-centered journal articles reviewed in our journal clubs, as well as increase the overall number of DEI-specific teaching conferences that we have in the UK College of Medicine Department of Urology.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A: “Don’t wait for the perfect time.”
Q: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
A: Outside of work, I enjoy traveling with my family and friends. Some of my favorite trips were to Iceland, Chile, Hawaii, and Portugal. I also enjoy live music and reading a good book.