Announcing the Establishment of the IDEAL Experience Program

August 11, 2021

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

We are excited to announce the establishment of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Learner [IDEAL] Experience Program at the Perelman School of Medicine, an enhanced structure for a unified education office focused on inclusion, diversity, and equity.  IDEAL will support our diverse community of learners by cultivating a culture of equitable inclusivity across all PSOM education programs: Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS), Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP), Master’s and Certificate Programs (MaC), Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), and Undergraduate Medical Education (UME). The IDEAL resources and programming will be made available for residents and fellows who are currently supported via efforts of the clinical departments.

Guided by learner and postdoc feedback and survey data on perceived gaps, our education leaders determined a need for an integrated structure that would efficiently leverage existing resources and expertise.  With a commitment to reaffirm an inclusive and diverse culture, IDEAL will address the individual and group needs of marginalized students and postdocs in a deliberate and focused manner.  In addition, this program will necessarily engage all learners for the purpose of creating an inclusive and anti-racist climate at PSOM through education and training.  Through targeted education and training in partnership with PSOM’s Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Education (OIDE), IDEAL will ensure that our curricula are devoid of structural racism, and our teaching faculty and staff have the necessary skills and resources to participate in the creation and maintenance of an inclusive, diverse, and equitable culture for Penn learners.

Collectively, IDEAL will encompass our ongoing IDE efforts in medical and research education led by the offices formerly known as Program for Diversity and Inclusion and Office of Research and Diversity Training, while benefiting from the existing resources and expertise in each to provide enhanced support to their respective trainees and enable extension to learners in our MaC Programs. The IDEAL team will be located in the Jordan Medical Education Center to facilitate collaboration and support in several areas including but not limited to recruitment and community outreach across all programs and create initiatives that address the needs of all trainees at every stage of their learning experience.

IDEAL will be led by Horace Delisser, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in UME (supporting UME and MaC students), and Donita Brady, PhD, Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Research Training (supporting BGS students and postdocs), who will work in close coordination with the Education Council, led by Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education, Suzanne Rose, MD, MSEd, and PSOM’s OIDE, led by Vice Dean Eve Higginbotham, SM, MD, ML. 

Our commitment to inclusion and diversity has never been stronger, and the IDEAL Experience Program is one of several impactful initiatives borne from our Action for Culture Transformation, which seeks to develop strategies to ensure equity, mitigate bias, and eliminate racism at Penn Medicine. 

Please continue to look for updates on this exciting new program.

J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Dean

Jon Epstein, MD, Executive Vice Dean and Chief Scientific Officer

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

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

Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Director of Biomedical Graduate


Emma Meagher, MD, Associate Dean for PSOM Master’s and Certificate Programs