Medical Schools Advancing DEI Initiatives

Many medical schools and academic institutions recognize the importance of diversifying the Physician workforce and reducing health disparities. More organizations are establishing strong Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) cultures by implementing DEI committees, curriculum, and more.

Most institutions create a Diversity and Inclusion committee/office with appointed officers who oversee and help execute a measurable Diversity action plan.

Medical Schools should embody diversity at all levels by recruiting diverse students as well as diverse staff and leadership.

Yale School of Medicine accomplishes diverse recruitment with 4 strategies:

  • Nurture the Pipeline (Residents, Fellows, Postdoctoral Fellows and Associates)
  • Diversify Faculty and Senior Leadership through Proactive Engagement and Recruitment
  • Maximize the Faculty Excellence and Diversity Fund to Drive Diverse Hires in Strategic Science and Clinical Areas
  • Utilize Grand Rounds, Invited Lectureships, and Departmental Seminar Series for Recruitment

To review each strategy in-depth, click this link.

Recruitment is only one area that contributes to a successful DEI culture. Many institutions are implementing academic programs that focus on improving DEI.

Lisa Howley, PhD, AAMC senior director of strategic initiatives and partnerships said, “In 2018, only 40% of medical schools reported teaching about racial disparities. Fortunately, a growing number of schools are working more intentionally to become anti-racist, either by creating new courses or expanding or threading new experiences into existing curricula.”

The Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM) announced it will launch a new academic track focused on promoting anti-racism and social justice within the medical community.

According to The Hoya, “The track begins with foundational modules and leadership training centered around anti-racism, cultural humility and overcoming bias, followed by experiential learning, in which students will work directly with community organizations to tackle a specific problem. Students will focus on the roles of discrimination, bias, microaggressions and racism as barriers to equitable health care. The program will culminate in a capstone project to address a DEI issue in the medical field.”

Dell Medical School has added “Core Competencies” to its curriculum with a major focus on health equity. Students will learn about the root causes of health inequities, gain awareness of personal conscious and unconscious bias, learn ways to practice and promote transformative change that eliminates barriers for optimal health, and more.

“Doctors need to understand the medical consequences of social disparities, know how to address them, learn where they came from and how to change that,” said Sarita Warrier, MD, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

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