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DEI WORKING GROUPS:

The UNC Department of Psychiatry’s DEI Program includes six DEI Working Groups (WGs) and an Advisory Panel comprised of the WG chairs and co-chairs. These groups are working to advance DEI in six areas: (1) Recruitment, Retention & Support, (2) Social Media, Website & Publicity, (3) Education & Training, (4) Ethics & Legislation, (5) Patient Engagement & Community Outreach, and (6) Metrics & Evaluation. The WGs members include clinical and research faculty, administrators, and staff volunteers from diverse racial ethnic, cultural, and educational backgrounds; they are physicians, psychologists, residents, nurses, social workers, lab managers, study coordinators, and front office staff members who are vocal advocates for neurodiversity, equity in mental healthcare access, disparities in violence and trauma prevention, institutionalized racism within medicine, transgender mental health, inclusive research, and many other issues that concern our patients, their families, and our department members.

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion WG #1: Recruitment, Retention and Support:

This WG strives to understand the needs of faculty and staff and what ways the department can actively support them while helping them feel more welcomed. They think about barriers to recruitment such as salary differential with peer institutions and questions on the application for employment that can have unintended consequences for recruiting a diverse workforce. The group will focus on retention and provide support within the department by seeking to create added value for faculty and staff. Their mission is to 1) promote DEI throughout the recruitment, retention and support of all Carolina employees, 2) promote ideas and create initiatives that will engage all faculty and staff in training, development and conversations surrounding DEI issues, and 3) develop policies/best practices to recruit, support, promote and retain diverse backgrounds while providing transparency relating to staff opportunities and salary inequities. Looking ahead to 2021, this WG plans to engage focus groups of current department employees and stakeholders to inform their efforts to create a more inclusive and transparent applicant selection process, more staff opportunities and incentives for advancement, and more transparency regarding pay equity. Their work will naturally intersect with the Patient Engagement & Community Outreach WG and the Mental Health Equity Program to inform outreach and recruitment efforts at HBCUs, churches, and other community platforms that engage people from diverse backgrounds.

This group is led by Chairs Karen Bluth, PhD and Angela Byrd, BS, MHA

Karen Bluth

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion WG #2: Social Media, Website & Publicity:

The Social Media WG exists to celebrate the department’s diversity, highlight the department’s DEI-based research and programs, provide an avenue for communication about DEI topics with the public, and contribute to the department’s stance of valuing DEI as a mission in our communications inside and out of our department. This WG’s notable achievements include:

This group is led by Chair Samantha Weiss, MBA

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion WG #3: Education & Training:

The Education & Training WG focuses on reviewing, organizing, and supporting the development of a DEI curriculum for the Department of Psychiatry. They act a resource to other members in the department, including residents and fellows, to help support and implement DEI focused didactics; and they support efforts to create a developmental sequence of training to increase staff awareness, knowledge and skills by identifying existing resources and determining core competencies for all members of the department. Their 2020-2021 goals are to develop and make accessible a library of training and educational resources; create and launch a DEI journal club; and establish an “office hours” model to help department members implement DEI efforts in their teaching, supervision, and clinical work.

This group is led by Chairs Rebecca Taylor, MD and Scott Schwartz, PhD

Rebecca TaylorScott Schwartz

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion WG #4: Ethics & Legislation:

The Ethics & Legislation WG keeps abreast of ongoing local, state, and national DEI ethical issues and legislative activities; seeks to further conversation and discussion around ethics and legislation as they intersect with DEI by organizing panel sessions with this sole intent; and actively seeks ways to advocate for fairness in ethics and legislation as it impacts the citizens of our state and our patients. In 2021, they developed an Ethics, Law and Policy Bulletin to be shared on the department website. The inaugural issue (June) showcased topics such as racial equity in police response to psychiatric emergencies, anti-transgender legislation, and social justice in maternal healthcare. Future Bulletins will include original works by department members and position papers. This WG actively collaborates with the UNC Center for Bioethics, the UNC Hospital Ethics Committee, the Philosophy and Psychiatry Research Group, and trainee and medical student interest groups.

This group is led by Chairs Daniel Moseley, PhD and Rebecca Taylor, MD

Rebecca Taylor

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion WG #5: Community Outreach & Patient Engagement:

The efforts of this WG align strongly with the department’s Mental Health Equity (MHE) Program’s mission of community outreach and patient engagement. They seek to increase awareness of the clinical factors that impact health equity/disparities. One of their current goals is to engage community partners in providing educational opportunities for patient-facing professionals through grand rounds, panels, and facilitated discussions. Projects in development include exploration of how medical notes can be weaponized against patients through systemic discrimination, non-law enforcement resources for psychiatric crisis response, and advocacy about the benefits of non-gender specific restroom facilities and updated signage on locked single-stall restrooms in patient and staff areas.

This group is led by Chairs Aaron Fisher, MHA and Aimee Kresica, MSW, LCSW

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion WG #6: Metrics & Evaluation:

The Metrics & Evaluation WG supports the MHE and DEI Programs through its expertise in data management and informatics. Working alongside the SOM Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and others, this WG seeks to provide and analyze department diversity, equity and inclusion data as it relates to different faculty, staff, clinical, and research department members and to patients and their families who receive care from our providers and/or who participate in our research studies. The efforts of this WG will inform our understanding of individual factors that relate to prescribing and referral patterns, research participant recruitment and retention, and workforce recruitment and retention.

This group is led by Alessia Bhargava, MD and Chairs Austin Hall, MD

Austin Hall