The Curricular Affairs Sphere aims to promote personal growth in antiracist knowledge and skills among course and clerkship directors. We developed this change target in partnership with students and faculty.
The first steps included conducting focus groups and structured surveys of course and clerkship directors. This process helped us identify existing strengths and areas for growth as well as opportunities for and barriers to growth in antiracist knowledge and skills.
We then began to work systematically with course and clerkship directors to help meet immediate needs while also gathering data on barriers to growth. So far, efforts have included:
The Admissions sphere has expanded our team over the last month. We have started to plan out and work on our updated and additional change targets. We are reinvigorated and plan to build on our work, learning from each other on the Admissions Committee. Partnering with the MD/PhD program and ODI we look to grow our efforts on ongoing training and education of the Admissions Committee, enhancing admissions pathways and formalizing review of student outcomes to better inform our Admissions work.
In the last month, we hosted a Pediatric Chats for Change (co-facilitated by a member from our sphere and a pediatric staff) that led to a strong discussion about the dynamics of breakout groups, including allied only spaces vs BIPOC spaces. We have continued to plan for 1 more Chats for Change session (Feb) and a topic specific workshop (March), which would create 6 total sessions for the department. We have been updating our working group spreadsheet weekly to develop and reflect on our SMART goals. We will no longer be working with psychiatry as their department leadership is actively working on their own internal initiatives. Opportunities have come up to work with specific departments within pediatrics (eg meeting 2/26 with child life specialists and social work to discuss ideas for combating bias towards patients with sickle cell disease) and OB. Regarding the mistreatment reports, a meeting was held with external consultants from Vanderbilt and a proposed plan for a mistreatment committee was created.
Curricular Affairs Sphere
In February, the Curricular Affairs Sphere developed a comprehensive plan for our 2021 efforts, including refining our change targets and defining our organizational structure. We met with SNMA leadership to share this progress and incorporate their feedback. We are nearing completion of a comprehensive inventory of all current curricula focused on race and racism. This will help us identify gaps and redundancies in the current MD program curriculum.
In partnership with students, faculty, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and patient and community representatives we are analyzing this inventory and developing a curriculum map. To guide this process we developed a draft Medical Education Program Objective (MEPO) that addresses racism and bias: “Recognize and develop approaches to mitigate bias, social inequities, and systemic racism that undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at individual, organizational, and societal levels.” Our team is now soliciting feedback on this MEPO, and will present it and the Curriculum Map to the Course Directors and Clinical Curriculum Subcommittees upon completion. Final approval and inclusion of the MEPO will occur with the Executive Oversight Committee prior to the 2021-22 academic year.
An analysis of current recruitment and retention practices is also ongoing, with current auditions specifically calling for SPs of color. Finally, our sphere is engaging Course Directors to diversify the representation of Black and marginalized individuals in their curricular materials as well as in patient presentations. We have identified multiple external resources and are working with faculty and students develop additional resources to meet the unique needs of our curriculum. We are grateful for the collaboration across multiple teams and offices to move our change targets forward.
Student Affairs Sphere
We have appointed Daniel as our administrative leader. He will attend weekly advising team meetings. He will collaborate with Tara and Leona to build faculty development workshops for the advisors taking place in May as well as provide case-based instruction for faculty development. An invitation has been sent to the Student Sphere to meet in March and collaborate to build an evaluative process that includes year to year data and possible on-the-spot advising feedback. The team is also searching for literature for scholarly work.
Student Resources Sphere
The Student Resources will be identifying equity champions and holding a kickoff equity champions to determine processes and practices for equitable decision-making. Student Resources is also moving forward with plans to fund student research related to racism and bias. Additionally, the group will be engaging the Safety Committee, a group that includes students, security personnel, and senior leadership, in identifying safety issues related to racism and bias. Lastly, Student Resources will be developing a staff survey on experiencing racism and bias at work.
The Student Sphere has finalized 9 questions about anti-racism engagement to be included in Student Council’s comprehensive survey. Results are anticipated May/June 2021. We are continuing to hold monthly racial healing circles and work on the Participatory Decision-Making strategies for the implementation of the MSHS Task Force interventions or action to address racism.
Dr. Muller, staff and students collaborated to develop a department-wide campaign, “Mission: Make a Statement” to update the Med Ed mission statement so that it explicitly denounces racism and commits to racial justice. From now through Friday, March 26, the department is collecting responses and feedback. Visit Padlet and upload anything that will help us shape the new mission statement.
Deans Muller and Filizola committed to a series of quarterly town halls where students, faculty and staff can process, update and coordinate responses to current events and community needs as they relate to racism and bias. The purpose of the Unit In Action town halls is to provide an ongoing forum whereby members of the ISMSS community can engage in conversations that are responsive to the myriad and intersecting ways that oppression and disenfranchisement impacts our institution and daily lives.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Racism and Bias Initiative are partnering to plan for the development of a department-wide culture and climate survey with faculty, staff, and students in medical school and identify potential opportunities for change.
For more information about the on-going focused work within the spheres, check out the Change Targets tracker and our latest release of the RBI March 2021 Action Update.