As a community, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment. Our country faces a surge in COVID-19 cases, renewed spotlight on police brutality, and the continued resounding roar of voices seeking social justice. Within our own Penn community, we are reminded of the instances of microaggressions, racism, unfair practices, and the incredible pain of generations past who once dreamed of life that could never materialize because of barriers put in place by others. These American citizens would never experience the full intentions of our nation’s founders – the unalienable right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
On May 31, we reaffirmed our individual and collective commitments to justice, inclusion, and equity both in health care and in the broader society. On June 8, we came together as a community and shared our moments of pain and hopes for the future, and in our communication on June 15, we pledged our support to begin the process of taking action and announced our plan to train everyone in Penn Medicine on the fundamentals of understanding our own biases and the ways to mitigate those biases, as a first step in opening the doors to new ways of thinking and viewing the world. In our communication on June 15, we also stated our intention to share with you our draft plan for developing the next steps in this journey by June 30.
Therefore, today we introduce ACT, which refers to an interactive, collaborative process to identify key strategies to promote equity and eliminate racism and bias in science and education. This will be our Action for Cultural Transformation that will drive leadership, engagement, and accountability at all levels of Penn Medicine. Our approach is summarized below:
Over the next two months, we will refine the governance and infrastructure for this approach which will strive to bring in as many voices who are interested in participating to initially identify key goals, lead virtual groups to further refine and prioritize those goals, and continue to brainstorm regarding new actions that have not yet been identified. As our journey progresses, there will be immediate actions that can be implemented. By the end of February 2021, we plan to have developed a balanced scorecard that will guide our continued work with specific metrics and timelines. At the same time, as stated previously, we are taking our first immediate action, by initiating a plan to launch implicit bias training, initially for leaders in July and for everyone at Penn Medicine by the end of the calendar year. The overview of the process is described in the next 2 figures.
Several recommended actions have already been received by groups and individuals across Penn Medicine. These recommendations will shape our virtual discussions in meetings which will be scheduled over the next several weeks, as outlined in the following figure:
What is needed from you now?
We recognize this process will only be successful if you are fully engaged, and will allow us to learn from you as collectively we shape the future of Penn Medicine. The following are few questions we would like you to consider:
- Are these the key areas that we should be considering? Culture? People? Clinical? Research? Education? Community?
- Are we missing any areas?
- Which of the focus areas are most important to you?
- Are you interested in being part of the process to develop and fine tune goals in these areas as a participant or leader?