On the Pulse: February’s Action Updates

Every month, we are providing action updates across the Racism and Bias Initiative’s spheres. This month’s action updates bring us closer to collaborating on our efforts, strategically building on existing actions, and developing new actions to address racism and bias across all areas of the medical school.
Admissions Sphere

The Medical School Admissions team has developed and implemented a “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Form” to document important discussions about bias or equity that occur at any point during the admissions process. The Admissions Committee has created a procedure called “time-in” in which committee members can state “time-in to learning and discussing” to address potential occurrences of bias, facilitate discussion, and enhance the educational experience. This process is now embedded in the MD and MSTP Admissions Committee meetings. A Committee Learning Climate Pre-Survey was distributed to all Committee members on the MD and MSTP Admissions Committees. This survey will gather a baseline of committee perception of bias in the admissions space. The post cycle survey is poised to go out to committee members. Importantly the Admissions Sphere is actively partnering with the SNMA Leadership to align priorities and develop strategic initiatives for admissions.

Clinical Sphere

The Clinical Sphere is embracing the SNMA action items across many areas. We’ve reinforced communication around the importance of our zero-tolerance policy related to retaliation towards students who take a stand against racism. The Committee on the Student/Trainee Learning Environment will be including students in the process of adjudicating mistreatment reports. The mission statements for Medical Education and for ISMMS are being revised, denouncing racism and incorporating our commitment to racial justice.  SNMA and ISMMS leadership meet regularly to review and update progress on addressing the SNMA action items. A dedicated Chats for Change is ongoing with co-facilitation between Clinical Sphere members and the Department of Pediatrics; this includes workshops for strategies to interrupt instances of bias in the workplace. Med Ed is working with the Faculty Council on targeted URiM faculty recruitment to key committees.

Curricular Affairs Sphere

The Curricular Affairs Sphere is undertaking 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. In addition, the CA Sphere is also seeking to identify all current faculty development offerings on anti-racism and anti-oppressive facilitation techniques. Building on the success in InFocus Weeks, ASM, and Brain and Behavior, we are working closely with course leadership and faculty to enhance anti-racist content and educational practices within the Year 2 Musculoskeletal Pathophysiology Course and the Year 3 Internal Medicine Clerkship. Recognizing the critical role of both content and pedagogy in anti-racist medical education, we are creating a comprehensive plan for our efforts in 2021. In early February we are scheduled to meet with SNMA leadership to share our current progress and discuss next steps, and aim to share details about our 2021 comprehensive plan next month.

Student Affairs Sphere

The Student Affairs team is continuing to develop the “Appreciative Advising” model to provide a framework for increasing advisor and student success. The Student Affairs sphere is partnering with students on evaluation and feedback to inform future planning. We are brainstorming to determine other means of effectively evaluating the success of our advising techniques.  We are also looking ahead to the month of May when each of our weekly faculty advising meetings will be dedicated to Appreciative Advising training. We look forward to collaborating more closely with the Student Sphere of the Guiding Coalition in the coming months.

Student Resources Sphere

The Student Resources sphere has completed a first draft of an equity lens playbook for use by stakeholders throughout the Department of Medical Education. Student Resources is moving forward with plans to fund student research related to anti-racism with the goal of compensating students for taking action to combat racism and bias.

Student Sphere

The Student Sphere is finalizing the last steps of their engagement surveys to be shared with the study body. 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.

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 February 2021 Action Update.

On the Pulse: A Curricular Sphere Update

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 Art and Science of Medicine (ASM)

  • Extensive anti-racist curricula exist, and will be expanded and used as a framework for approach to racism as the driver of racial inequities explored in other courses.
  • Anti-racist and anti-oppressive small group facilitation faculty developments

Brain and Behavior

  • Additional content: history of racism in psychiatry, racism as driver of racial inequities in serious mental illness, cerebrovascular accidents (incidence and outcomes) and dementia
  • Additional didactic and small group discussion on racism in psychiatry
  • Inclusion of content on summative exam
  • Faculty developments on anti-racism content
  • Faculty developments on anti-oppressive facilitation techniques

Muscoskeletal (MSK)

  • Meetings with course director and faculty underway, with additional content and faculty developments being planned

Internal Medicine Clerkship

  • Divisional grand rounds being developed
  • Meetings with clerkship director under way

Pediatric Clerkship

  • Anti-racist trainings initiated with all Pediatric Hospital Medicine faculty and fellows and Adolescent Medicine faculty and fellows including introduction to White Supremacy Culture and antiracist bedside skills.

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 January 2021 Action Update.