IU School of Medicine community members gathered virtually for the second round of diversity town hall events in February. More than 360 faculty members, staff and learners attended, providing insight and feedback to the diversity, equity and inclusion task forces formed last fall. Having so many community members from all areas of the school participate is heartening. The insights and ideas shared during the town halls are highly valued and will be considered as the diversity task forces continue with their important work.
The diversity, equity and inclusion task forces are charged with evaluating existing data on the state of representational diversity at IU School of Medicine. The task forces are forming recommendations for new climate assessment methods, creating opportunities for increased training, and updating the IU School of Medicine Honor Code.
The Honor Code Task Force completed a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis on the current IU School of Medicine Honor Code. Based on the analysis and other conversations held over the past months by the task force, a draft revision of the Honor Code was written and is under review by the task force. Along with the revision, the group also plans to draft a companion policy explaining how the Honor Code is to be used.
Ensure Honor Code sanctions have “teeth” to them so that violations are appropriately addressed for true accountability
Emphasize professionalism in response to criticisms in an effort to minimize defensive rebuttals
More communication of Honor Code expectations to all community members—faculty, staff and learners
Clearly define what “not tolerating discrimination” means
Faculty, Staff and Learner Training Task Force
The task force determined that a diversity item should be added to the faculty annual review form. The group also decided that an IU School of Medicine leadership competency model should include a specific competency focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Previously, this was embedded in other competencies. Along with these additions, the group took an inventory of all DEI training offered at the school.
Develop a central place for departments and divisions to pull resources to lead DEI efforts in their respective areas
Have training opportunities available for all levels: executive, faculty, staff, postdocs, fellows, residents and students
Implement training on what to do if one witnesses discrimination—guidance on how to respond in the moment
Provide opportunities for intergenerational conversations around race.
Make funding available for faculty, staff or learners who want to hold events or form groups (ie. a book club) that would contribute to DEI goals.
Create resources outlining tangible, practical recommendations for individuals to apply in their daily interactions, and send out regular (ie. monthly) communication
with these resources
Data and Climate Task Force
The Data and Climate Task Force worked to create a DEI dashboard highlighting representational diversity, equity process indicators and inclusive climate proxies for students, trainees, faculty and staff. This dashboard is under review, along with all existing surveys and DEI questions/elements at the school.
Asian-American is a broad category that should be further defined with subcategories to avoid perpetuating the model minority myth
Include LGBTQ groups
Include diversity representation for school leadership
Evaluate how the data compares to other institutions
Conversations Around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at IU School of Medicine
In addition to feedback for the task forces, conversations addressed many facets of IU School of Medicine infrastructure with participants raising new questions and making valuable suggestions. Highlights of those conversations include:
Addressing DEI during the annual review, evaluations and promotion and tenure process for faculty
Having a DEI-focused role embedded in every department or area to decentralize the work of diversity and make it a part of everyday conversation.
As DEI is being addressed, making considerations beyond race, ethnicity and gender and including gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, age, geography of origin and residence, sexual orientation, disability, work style and other aspects of human attributes and behaviors.
Amplifying communication support around DEI and ensuring consistent messaging intended to change culture
Focusing on DEI in recruitment at all levels: medical students, residents, graduate programs, postdocs, faculty and staff
Looking at ways to increase diverse representation at the leadership level and among faculty to reflect the diversity of the student population
Considering DEI in regional campus placements so URM students are not token placements but feel part of a supportive community
Aligning efforts across partner institutions
Be on the lookout for a Q1 2021 update from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task forces in April. If you want to provide additional feedback, you can find contact information on the DEI Task Forces webpage.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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