IMPACT ON EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Continuous recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority faculty are essential to meet the needs of the diverse patient population we serve. In addition, it is imperative to offer the underrepresented medical students rotating on our campus the opportunity to learn and be mentored by our underrepresented faculty. Efforts to initiate such a mentoring program are underway. To date, we have more than 30 faculty who have volunteered to assist.
Efforts will be made to foster an educational environment for our students, residents, fellows, faculty and staff that intrinsically values diversity, inclusion and equity. Aspects include self-awareness, conscious and unconscious bias, bidirectional learning and leadership, as well as the ability to engage patients, communities and others with the utmost respect and humility.
Leaders are developing a strategic plan to introduce implicit bias and crucial-conversation training. This type of training is essential to foster teamwork, build acceptance and create alignment to achieve our mission by having open dialogue about critical, high-stakes matters.
In the research arena, diversity and inclusion support higher-quality research by recruiting and retaining top talent and increasing the likelihood that research outcomes will benefit people from populations that are underserved or face health disparities. Diversity, inclusion and health equity are essential components of the future urban health initiatives on our campus.
We need to take an institution-wide approach to community engagement, where we collaborate with members of our communities as partners, not just as patients in need of care. Community members can help us to deepen faculty and trainees’ knowledge of social determinants of health and broaden the potential impact research discoveries can have on population health. The college, with its diverse and talented faculty and trainees, is positioned to be the region’s most valued health care asset.
Of note, Antonio Farias, chief diversity officer at UF, created a Campus Diversity Liaisons Committee for which each college, including ours, has identified a diversity liaison. This team of teams is giving the opportunity for different colleges and business units to share resources and work together on many challenging tasks across the university to promote diversity, inclusion and equity.