We are providing you with an update on diversity initiatives in the SOM. Your own diversity liaisons are also excellent sources for progress reports.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion is a major strategic imperative of the School of Medicine Strategic Plan, “Forward Together” https://www.med.unc.edu/strategicplan/. This imperative is housed in The Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE) led by Vice Dean Nathan E. Thomas, Ph.D. who is coordinating efforts on multiple dimensions – each with goals, action items, metrics, and accountability. Each effort has a task force, and you can see the status of each at the OIE website here. https://www.med.unc.edu/inclusion/path-forward/strategy/
Improve the Climate
- Faculty hiring committees are required to undergo mandatory Unconscious Bias Training; not new, but committees continue to receive this training as they are assembled. To reach larger groups while we increase capacity for the workshops, a 1 hr introduction, “Bias 101: A Primer on Implicit Bias” was developed, launched, and encouraged for all faculty to complete. For efficiency, training should happen as a group by department.
- All School of Medicine leaders will be required to complete a 1.5 day racial equity training (in progress).
- Each department has a diversity liaison, some with resources and a committee (BCBP Diversity Committee). The liaisons meet monthly, have received Strategic Diversity Leadership training, and have developed individual action plans for their departments.
- In July, students launched a monthly journal club: “Dismantling Racism in the Academy.” Faculty, postdocs, staff, and students are invited to Dismantling Racism in Academia: Journal Club & Discussion Group.
- Note also that the R3 Race, Racism and Racial Equity Symposium by the UNC Office for Diversity and Inclusion has just been announced with the first in the series on Sept 10. (R3 video now available on YouTube.)
- UNC students established and launched social media accounts for the new Society for Black Biomedical Scientists on Twitter and Instagram @sbbs_unc; website in development. (Xavier Bonner , BCBP graduate student is the 2020-2021 President).
- One task force in the OIE strategy will integrate Social Justice into SoM educational curricula. The group has started with the MD curriculum, but will turn to PhD training later in the fall. Seeking volunteers to serve on that subgroup (email Jean Cook).
- UNC is preparing a proposal to the NIH for newly-announced resources to diversify biomedical faculty. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/nih-s-new-cluster-hiring-program-aims-help-schools-attract-diverse-faculty Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST)
- The Office of Research headed by the Vice Dean for Research, Blossom Damania, Ph.D. is working with the Chairs and Center Directors in the School of Medicine to develop several mechanisms to diversify the applicant pool for faculty positions.