Thank you to all who participated in the Town Hall and small group meetings we’ve had in recent months. You’ve helped us better define our goals and objectives and contributed excellent suggestions, many of which are being incorporated into the interventions we plan to implement. I want to start this update with a statement of purpose that, while it will continue to be refined over time, will help us clarify our vision and focus our efforts.

Our goal is to undo racism in all its forms at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. For the past year this has been among our highest priorities and it will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Oversight and Consultation

We had the first meeting of our newly created Racism and Bias Faculty Advisory Group in early December. This group of committed faculty will work with us in an advisory capacity in order to advance our efforts as we continue our work. Drs. Butts and Muller will jointly facilitate this committee which is comprised of the following faculty:

Kirk Campbell, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Joanna Chikwe, MD
Chair, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s

Angela Diaz MD, MPH
Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor in Adolescent Health and
Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

Raja Flores, MD
Chair Department of Thoracic Surgery, Steven and Ann Ames Professor in Thoracic Surgery

Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP
Associate Dean for Academic Development and Associate Professor in the Departments of Population Health Science & Policy, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science

Rosanne Leipzig, MD, PhD
Vice Chair for Education and Gerald and May Ellen Ritter Professor of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine

Reginald Miller, DVM
Dean for Research Operations and Infrastructure and Associate and Professor and Director of the Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery

Eric Nestler, MD, PhD
Chair, Department of Neuroscience and Professor and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute

David Reich, MD
President and Chief Operating Officer, Mount Sinai Hospital

Lynne Richardson, MD
Chair for Academic, Research and Community Programs and Professor of Emergency Medicine and Vice of the Department of Emergency Medicine

William Wright
Member, Mount Sinai Health System Board of Trustees;
Member, Board of Trustees Medical Education Subcommittee

In the coming months we will schedule a forum for this group to meet with interested medical students, after which the group will meet with the medical school leadership to guide and advise us on a regular basis.

We have also been in touch with several nationally recognized thought leaders in diversity and inclusion, and will soon identify three individuals to serve as external consultants. This group will be provided with background information in preparation for a site visit at our school that will include students, faculty, and administration. They will then generate a formal report that will be shared with the greater ISMMS community and will inform our action plan on race and bias.

Curriculum

We recently completed a review of the lecture slides and small group materials for Year 1 and 2 courses. We identified instances where race and racial categories are noted in these lecture and small group materials and, in each instance, performed a literature review looking for articles that present a more accurate and more holistic approach to understanding race in clinical practice, research, and epidemiology.

These references and suggestions for corrections have been shared with all the Course Directors and we are working closely with them to update the teaching material.

While this was a significant undertaking, it is also just the beginning. For example, our review may have missed important instances that others will notice. In addition, reviewing slides and small group materials does not provide any insight into how individual lecturers may present their material.

We urge all students and teaching faculty to keep their eyes and ears open for examples that we might have missed, and provide us with timely feedback so that we can continuously improve what we teach and how we’re teaching it. This feedback can be given to the student course reps, the lecturers, the course directors, any of the staff in the Office of Curriculum Support, anyone in Medical Education and anyone in the Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs.

Thanks to the input from a student member of the Anti-Racism Coalition, we have also incorporated the following questions into E*value for all educators, course and clerkships effective January 2016:

  1. For educator evaluations (completed for lecturers, clerkship faculty and small group faculty)
    1. Inappropriate remarks related to race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, culture, religion, sex or gender identity were made by this educator (Y/N)
      1. If yes, please describe in detail (open ended)
  2. For clerkship and course evaluations
    1. Concepts related to race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, culture, religion, sex or gender identity were successfully incorporated into this course/clerkship”. Y/N
    2. Is there any content related to race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, culture, religion, sex or gender identity specific to the this course/clerkship content area that should be considered for inclusion? (open ended)

Strategic Planning

We are in the process of drafting a strategic plan to articulate a practical, action-oriented guide that will inform goal-setting and resource allocation as we address racism and bias at ISSMS. This plan will be shared with students, teaching faculty, and administration for your feedback and input in the coming weeks.

We will continue to send out updates and, as always, we welcome your feedback and comments.

Thanks,

David Muller, MD, FACP
Dean for Medical Education
Marietta and Charles C. Morchand Chair in Medical Education
Professor, Medical Education and Medicine