RUSM Leaders Start the Uncomfortable but Necessary Conversations about Diversity and Inclusion
We promised to keep you apprised of what we’re doing at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) to drive change. To that end, we are providing frequent updates on all our efforts toward a more diverse and inclusive RUSM.
This month, we offered students and colleagues a safe, non-judgmental space to express their thoughts on recent events, share personal experiences and provide ideas on how to create sustainable changes. Student affairs hosted two listening sessions with medical and clinical students, and Adtalem Chairman and CEO Lisa Wardell and I met with leaders of the White Coats for Black Lives chapter. These are the first of many conversations with all interested parties.
We’ve also begun compiling a virtual information resource database that will include scholarly articles, manuscripts and books to help the RUSM community learn about the history of racism, bias, racial disparities in medicine and how to be an advocate for change.
The Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce kicked off last week’s meeting by agreeing on the ultimate goal — to ensure a diverse and inclusive culture at RUSM. They will review the current structure and provide recommendations on how to best improve it while also providing a clear and detailed process for enacting suggested changes. The team will gather information from members and non-members of the current taskforce and will meet often to accomplish goals.
Over the next three months, the taskforce will provide immediate, short- and long-term recommendations that focus on the medical program’s curriculum and other academic platforms within and beyond RUSM, for all audiences — colleagues, faculty, students, alumni and community partners. The team will also collaborate with current students to ensure they are prepared to work in a world that may not be inclusive.
I have appointed Dexter Francis, our RUSM colleague, to facilitate the taskforce. Dexter has been working on a strategic plan to address diversity and inclusion at RUSM for the past year and is well positioned to coordinate this group. For his part, he hopes to, "impart competencies to our students that will prepare them to be exemplary practitioners mitigating healthcare inequities and disparities.”
The 16 members of our taskforce include: students Raven Lewis, Uzoma Dike and Asha Stegall; colleagues Dexter Francis, Laura Welke, Edith Thomas-Roberts, Enrique Fernandez, Steen Pedersen, Bryan Hayse, Dwight Hamilton, Seeth Vivek, Daria Ellis, Ricardo Hood, Desiree Stelly, Nathalie Watty Brouwer; and alum Panagiotis Galanopoulos. Alternates for the taskforce include students Tishanna Ferguson, Corey Boggs and Christopher Menefee.
The taskforce members will meet again on July 6. As always, we invite you to share your feedback with us to ensure your voice is heard.