mstp support statement

mstp support for diversity and inclusion

A primary mission of Penn MSTP is to have a diverse program in which students of all backgrounds and identities are supported and able to flourish. We seek students who will advance knowledge and discussion in all aspects of human health through their diversity of work and life experiences, intellectual interests, culture, religion, creed, citizenship status, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. We actively seek to enroll and affirm students from groups that are underrepresented in the MD-PhD workforce - particularly Black, Latinx and indigenous groups, those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, and women, with the goal of promoting equal opportunity for all of our students in the physician-scholar career path. Our program recognizes that to achieve equal opportunity we must actively combat racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression by supporting efforts at the Perelman School of Medicine in general and our students in particular, and by actively reaching out to underrepresented individuals to encourage them to pursue physician-scientist careers.  At this historic time, we seek to especially highlight the importance of supporting our Black students, but also to affirm our broader commitment to diversity in all its forms.

mstp leadership statement of support for black students

The murder of George Floyd by police has sparked vital conversations about racism throughout the US, including in Philadelphia, at the Perelman School of Medicine, and within the Penn MSTP community.  We affirm our commitment to supporting our Black students, and to combating anti-Black racism.  We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Following a town hall in July, some of the steps we have already taken or commit to taking in the 2020-2021 year include:

  • Increasing the diversity of our Steering Committee with recent appointments of Drs. Horace Delisser, Erle Robertson and Audrey Odom John.
  • Establishing a Diversity Action Committee to provide greater support to our current Black and URM students, combat racism, and enhance diversity recruitment efforts.
  • Enhancing MSTP-specific curriculum by:
    • Increasing the visibility/participation of Black and URM physician-scholar role models.
    • Expanding inclusion of URM faculty and research in the seminar courses offered by the MSTP, and adding topics related to health disparities in our courses for 1st and 2nd year students, Topics in Molecular Medicine and Case Studies in Translational Research (TiMM and CSTR).
  • Building on existing strategies to continue to increase the recruitment of Black and URM students including
    • Continuing our already-expanded outreach efforts to increase and diversify the pipeline of applicants to Penn and other MD/PhD programs
    • Expanding faculty/interviewer implicit bias training
  • Contributing to PSOM, University wide, and National MSTP-associated efforts to increase diversity and combat racism, including
    • Increasing collaboration with the PSOM Program for Diversity and Inclusion.
    • Increasing collaboration with the Office of Research and Diversity Training.
    • Working with national MSTP organizations to support broader initiatives to bring together and support underrepresented trainees
  • Communicating regularly with current students regarding new and ongoing initiatives to support current Black and URM students, combat racism, increase the pipeline, and promote diversity and inclusion in the MSTP and beyond.