Completion of the Review of the Program for Diversity and Inclusion

January 28, 2021

To:Faculty, Students, and Staff

From:J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine

Suzanne Rose, MD, MSEd, Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education

Eve J. Higginbotham, SM, MD, ML, Vice Dean, Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

We write to update you on the recently completed review of the Program for Diversity and Inclusion (PDI) within the UME Office of Academic Programs and forthcoming improvements in the way the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) goes about the crucial work of providing a diverse, inclusive, and supportive learning environment for students.

The PDI was established in 2012 as a part of the Center for Student Life within the Office of Academic Programs. The mission of PDI is to promote an inclusive, welcoming, supportive and engaged medical student community. The program includes over 80 faculty members who interact with the program and our students.

An internal review was conducted this fall as part of the periodic academic review process for departments, centers, institutes and programs. The internal Review Committee, chaired by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, represented institutional leaders in education, community programs, and inclusion and diversity. The Committee distributed a survey to students and interviewed key stakeholders, including students, faculty, and administrators to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the PDI. 

The reviewers found that PDI is generally meeting the needs of many students, especially in the first two years.  As with any review, however, the Committee also formulated a set of constructive recommendations to improve the overall effectiveness of the Office in order to better meet the needs of all students, particularly those who feel marginalized and/or underrepresented in medicine.

Recommended changes include: expanding PDI student programs to address MS3 and MS4 needs; providing additional training for PDI leaders; improving coordination between the Undergraduate Medical Education Leadership Team and the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity; and developing a coordinated mechanism to examine and advocate for changes that will mitigate bias and eliminate racism in the curriculum.

The recommendations of the Committee will be integrated into the ongoing strategic framework of the institutional initiative Action for Cultural Transformation (ACT), and specific actions will be shared over the next three months.  We will continue to seek input from student groups, faculty, and administrators, as we strive to strengthen the infrastructure and functional support of all our students and trainees.

We will collectively emerge a stronger educational environment as a result of the Review Committee’s deliberations.  We extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey and the committee members for their time and expertise in providing this review.