As we begin a new year, we want to reiterate our continued commitment to Social Justice at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). While we continue educating ourselves and advocating for others, we will continue to advance our goal of creating a more inclusive RUSM environment free from racism, discrimination, prejudice, injustice, disparities and inequities.
One year ago, we began reviewing our policies and curriculum to ensure diversity and inclusion measures were in place. In June 2020, we launched our Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce to continue and further improve upon that effort. After nine months of diligent work, the 16-member Taskforce, led by facilitator Dexter Francis, MBA, MPM, accomplished many milestones, including the creation of a charter.
The charter recommendations served as the foundation for the recently completed RUSM comprehensive strategic plan draft, which will be submitted for review to our Board of Trustees next month.
Additionally, the Taskforce:
- Collaborated with and continues to support RUSM’s Ignite and Innovate multiyear Strategic Initiative development process to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) remain integral to the three pillars of the plan — educational excellence, academic learning environment and sustainability
- Suggested DEI components to be embedded into the curriculum
- The curriculum committee established a standing DEI subcommittee to work on an activation plan
- Raised awareness of disparities and inequities in healthcare through colleague and student development seminars
- Established a student DEI working group to advise and provide recommendations for student inclusion activities
Student / Faculty Milestones
The student Diversity and Inclusion working group, student clubs, Student Government Association (SGA), faculty and student affairs leaders, collaborated to:
- Implement a mandatory Anti-Racism Reading Program for new students
- Introduce an orientation event, Cross-Cultural Conversations — a safe space for students to discuss and inquire about culture
- Establish a diversity and inclusion chair position for an SGA representative, to advocate for DEI issues from a student perspective
- Launch a safe conversation platform to discuss race in medicine, with presentations from invited speakers including alumni and faculty
- Continue RUSM university programs including the town hall conversation series, orientation modules and activities, the Access and Inclusion in Medicine (AIM) Scholars program and expansion of partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)
This year, we will continue momentum with many future projects that include:
- Conducting a series of climate assessment surveys to capture the perceptions and experience of students, faculty and colleagues and to identify action items, through collaborative efforts with the Academic Learning Environment
- Collecting metrics on our students, faculty, administration, standing committees and colleagues to provide a visible snapshot of our existing environment
- Partnering and collaborating on current DEI work with stakeholders at our sister institutions and parent company, Adtalem Global Education
To learn more about our progress, those involved in the Taskforce or to catch up on our Diversity and Inclusion profiles, please visit our Social Justice Commitment page. As always, I invite you to continue sharing your feedback.