As you know, the Department of Medical Education has launched several initiatives over the past few years to raise awareness of and systematically combat racism and bias in our learning environment. The following provides a glimpse of preliminary actions taken during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years to this end. 

  • Hosted expert, external consultants and interviewed educators, administrators, staff and students to guide actions to address bias and combat racism in our structures, classrooms, and clinical environments 
  • Hired an external consultant, Leona Hess, PhD, to  provide a framework for a change management process to address race and bias in medical education
    • Dr. Hess has since been hired full-time as Director of Strategy and Equity Education Programs
  • Appointed Ann-Gel Palermo, MPH, DrPH, as the  Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in Biomedical Education to further integrate Diversity and Inclusion leadership and expertise in Medical Education
  • Held leadership retreats to review and revise of our policies regarding recruitment, admissions, student support, advising, award selection, and ranking
Curricular Affairs
  • Reviewed Years 1 and 2 course material to ensure an accurate and holistic approach to teaching race in clinical practice, research, and epidemiology
  • Hosted eight Grand Rounds talks and presentations made by experts of color on issues related to racism and bias
  • Hosted nine Frontiers in Science Series talks made by experts of color on issues related to racism and bias
  • Required faculty development sessions focused on racism and bias for Art and Science of Medicine (ASM) faculty, faculty advisors, as well as course and clerkship directors
  • Embedded courses with substantial, expertly developed content related to racism and bias in ASM Years 1 and 2, as well as InFocus weeks 1, 5, and 6
  • Created a Year 1 milestone for all first-year students on the role of unconscious bias in clinical medicine
  • Dr. Karani (and others) published a paper in Academic Medicine titled, “Commentary: Racism and Bias in Health Professions Education How Educators, Faculty Developers, and Researchers Can Make a Difference,” which proposes ways in which educators can eliminate racism and bias in health professions education
  • Edited educator, clerkship, and course evaluations to allow for evaluators to:
    • Disclose inappropriate remarks related to race/ethnicity, the LGBTQ+ community, culture, religion, sex or gender identity made by educators
    • Assess whether concepts related to race/ethnicity, the LGBTQ+ community, culture, religion, sex or gender identity were successfully incorporated into courses and clerkships
    • Recommend content related to  race/ethnicity, the LGBTQ+ community, culture, religion, sex or gender for inclusion in the course or clerkship
  • Standardized interview questions that assess applicants’ cultural competence, ethical responsibility, social conscience, and tolerance
  • Allowed opportunity for students to specify the preferred name and preferred pronoun they would like to  use in the educational environment upon admission to the School
Student Affairs
  • Dean Muller led a Year 1 Orientation session to name and address race, racism, and bias in medicine and clarified expectations of students when addressing these issues in their training
  • Restructured the ranking system and graduation award selection criteria to be inclusive of how students engage with the School and local community via leadership, service, scholarship, and more
Department Wide
  • Partnered with the Library Services team to expand and increase the number of books related to racism in medicine and other social justice issues that impact communities of color
  • Provided staff support via Pete Zweig, MPA, who will manage projects related to Racism and Bias and other special initiatives
  • Worked with Leadership across the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) to establish a reporting mechanism to monitor racist and biased behavior towards patients in all clinical environments throughout MSHS
  • Partnered with ODI/CMCA to certify staff through Cook-Ross—a full-service consulting firm providing systems-level interventions by driving inclusive leadership and culture, to deliver unconscious bias training sessions
    • As of February 2018, there are 13 certified trainers and over 2,500 individuals across the institution have been trained in unconscious bias
  • Developed diversity and health disparities dashboards to enhance how patient outcomes across the health system are monitored
  • Worked to establish diversity councils at each hospital site in an effort to embrace the principles of diversity and inclusion as key drivers for excellence and innovation for healthcare service delivery
  • Developed a Faculty of Color listserv that aims to include all URM faculty from across the system of which Med Ed utilizes when recruiting for teaching, service, or leadership opportunities
  • Developed an unconscious bias awareness education process for Admission Committee (AC) members, required online UB training for all members of the AC, and instituted a practice of naming and addressing implicit and explicit bias in AC meetings
  • Started the  Irwin Gelernt, MD Education Scholar Award Program, which provides a $5K scholarship to a URM student who works to advance anti-racism in Medical Education
  • Sponsored developing a medical student elective focused on addressing the construct of race, the role of racism, and white privilege  in perpetuating health disparities
  • Hired and successfully supported Sharon Washington, EdD, MPH to the CMCA team and faculty in Medical Education
  • Collaborated with Department Chairs, Faculty Diversity Council, Dean Charney, ODI/CMCA to increase the recruitment, selection, promotion, and appointment of faculty of color (from various interdisciplinary backgrounds) to Medical Education

Many of the actions listed above were largely focused on the content of change—reviewing course materials, hosting talks, requiring faculty development sessions. Beginning in March, our focus will shift to the people and process side of transformational change towards our future state of providing health care and education that is free of racism and bias.  Through a structured process, we will engage and enable Med Ed to further envision, transform and integrate change in our teaching and learning environments.