On the Pulse: April Action Updates

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:

Admissions Sphere

The Admissions Sphere continues to expand upon conversations associated with our new change targets. We have enlisted the expertise of the Institute for Medical Education team for faculty development as well as the Student Affairs team to create a collaborative approach to review student outcomes and how they inform our Admissions work. We also continue to engage, discuss and collaborate with students on our shared commitments and efforts in Admissions. Moving forward we plan on communicating with our larger Admissions Committee members to re-engage and re-energize as one application season winds down and another is on the horizon.

Clinical Sphere

The clinical sphere has continued to work within the pediatrics department to facilitate the Chats for Change series to normalize open dialogue about racism and bias. To increase awareness and the reporting of racism and bias we have added a two part workshop to the series (first part on 4/30/21) that will provide additional education around identifying racism/bias and the compliance hotline.  Leading up to this workshop, we are sent out a survey to elicit case examples of racism and bias in the clinical environment from members of the department. These cases will be used for the Breakout Group discussions, so real-life examples can be discussed. We have created a communication plan on how to better inform members of the Department of Pediatrics and other involved parties of our updates by identifying point people/stakeholders who can distribute emails with updates.

Curricular Affairs Sphere

The Curricular Affairs Sphere has met with affinity group students and community leaders around the proposed Medical Education Program Objective (MEPO) that focuses on the development of medical student knowledge, skills, and attitudes around mitigating bias and racism.  For April, faculty, staff, and leadership within Med Ed will be asked to provide feedback.  The goal is to launch the new MEPO for the 2021-22 academic year.  The Curricular Affairs Sphere is continuing to develop a comprehensive inventory of all current curricula on race and racism, with the intent of identifying thematic threads and ensuring they all have theoretically sound educational frameworks.   Next steps include identifying gaps and redundancies.

Student Affairs Sphere

We have met with the Student Sphere to build a stronger working relationship between our spheres. They were able to provide us insightful feedback about how we can solicit feedback from students regarding advising practices which will help us to know if our change target is making a positive impact. Tara and Daniel also continue to meet with Leona on a bi-weekly basis to map out our May Appreciative Advising meetings which will allow our advisors to build a stronger community among one another and will help them have a greater understanding of why we are using appreciative advising as our advising model.

Student Resources Sphere

The Student Resources Sphere has identified staff throughout the Department of Medical Education to be “equity champions”. Equity champions will participate in a six-part workshop beginning in May. Members of the ISMMS Advisory Committee on Campus Safety are now invited to join. Additionally, Student Resources is also moving forward with plans to fund student research related to racism and bias. Lastly, Student Resources will be working with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on developing a staff survey on experiencing racism and bias at work.

Student Sphere

In collaboration with Student Council, the student sphere has released its engagement questionnaire as part of the comprehensive student survey to the study body. We have also worked with the Guiding Coalition to discuss and plan next steps for the Mission Statement revision. 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.

Medical School-Wide

The culture and climate survey workgroup has started to review and assess existing surveys that have been implemented at other institutions. We are excited to report that the entire ISMMS will participate in the survey, which will result in data that can be used to inform interventions in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Medical School. 

Our mission statement campaign is entering the next phase. We dedicated time during a Guiding Coalition meeting to reflect on the very wide range of responses. The Student Sphere also conducted a meeting to discuss the responses. The data from the Padlet will undergo a qualitative analysis by an external expert and will be shared in a community-wide forum to allow for reflection prior to the creation of a revised statement. 

The next Unity in Action Town Hall is scheduled in August for the start of the new academic year and will focus on the experiences with racism of Native Americans and people who identify as AAPI.

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 April 2021 Action Update.