To our Health Sciences students,
We want you to know how important the mission of diversity, equity and inclusion is here at Health Sciences. Below, you will find a number of specific action items we plan to implement. We want to be as transparent and specific about our efforts as possible.
Each of our professional programs has unique accreditation requirements and their approaches and interventions may vary, but know that diversity, equity and inclusion are priorities across our campus. We know that there is much work to do, but we want to share with you our plans and our progress.
The Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team is being expanded to include a Diversity Student Outreach Coordinator and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Liaison.
- The HSC Student Outreach Coordinator will develop and implement academic and cultural programming and events to build community among diverse student populations and their allies. The Coordinator will assist students in connecting with other students or faculty who can serve as mentors based upon shared identity or may serve as a mentor themselves. This may involve development of a formal mentoring program in collaboration with other ongoing efforts (Person of Color Forum, SNMA, etc.)
- The HSC DEI Liaison will serve as the primary point of contact for WVU HSC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and will play a critical role in communicating and collaborating with the WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the six HSC DEI Committees, the WVU Medicine Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and other DEI mission-focused groups. o The Liaison will oversee the Diversity Student Outreach Coordinator.
WVU Medicine recently announced that they will hire a system-wide Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to “champion, create, coordinate, promote, and evaluate programming that is inclusive and supportive in order to achieve a sustainable environment that will attract and retain diverse and underserved employees.” This individual will be a critical partner in the HSC and School of Medicine DEI efforts.
A multicultural space will be made available at the Health Sciences Center.
The space will begin as a virtual hub. When it is safe to increase density on campus, a physical space will be available. Hosted by the HSC Diversity Student Outreach Coordinator, the intention of the space is to provide a supportive and nurturing physical or virtual hub for students to go in between classes when needing quiet space, connection, resources, advice or mentoring. Further information on this space will be forthcoming when the Student Outreach Coordinator is hired.
DEI work is being supported all across the Health Sciences Center.
In addition to the two new positions referenced above, an administrative support person has been designated to support this work. The Director of Faculty Affairs, Culture and Inclusion will continue to work to ensure momentum continues across campus under the purview of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and the VP and Executive Dean for Health Sciences.
We’re improving DEI efforts around faculty hiring, recruitment and retention.
The HSC Office of Academic Affairs is working with the Office of the Provost and the ADVANCE center to roll out the Inclusive Hiring Initiative at the HSC. The Director of Faculty Affairs, Culture and Inclusion will work with department heads and search committees to advise on best practices for running an inclusive search and provide workshops focused on attracting a more diverse faculty.
Retention is just as important as recruitment when it comes to diversifying the overall faculty. Through special programs such as the Persons of Color Forum, sponsored by the HSC DEI Council, we will continue to prioritize creating venues for connection and sharing among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Stemming from this program will be mentoring connections and special welcome events for new faculty and trainees.
Across campus, Student Culture/Climate Surveys are being administered.
As of today, the following schools or programs have administered a Culture Survey to provide deidentified baseline information to inform their DEI Committees of the social experience students are having on campus: Health Sciences Graduate Education; School of Medicine MD and Professional Programs; School of Pharmacy; and School of Public Health. This data is being complied and analyzed to develop actionable items.
Training is being offered on a number of DEI-related topics.
Efforts are being taken to provide coordinated education and training on topics of implicit bias, microaggressions, inclusive language, health equity and more. Schools are taking the lead on implementing this with their respective students.
Faculty development efforts are also underway to align training of faculty in Health Equity education with curriculum. One specific example implemented by the MD program includes a training to faculty on how to write multiple choice questions in a way to reduce racial and ethnic bias using the National Board of Medical Examiner’s guide.
We must work together to address diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.
It takes all of us to ensure our Health Sciences community and programs embody a culture of inclusive excellence. Our efforts are aligned closely with the goals of WVU Action-Oriented Working Groups. We are thankful for the leadership and partnership with WVU Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Meshea Poore. She and her team have been instrumental in helping us launch our comprehensive DEI efforts. To access the resources and programming her office provides, visit the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion site.
Health Sciences Center Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership
As West Virginia primary and secondary school students prepare for in-person instruction next week, an associate professor in the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy is organizing the effort to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to teachers and school personnel.