Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Medicine Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee acknowledges the legacy of slavery, discrimination, segregation, and marginalization of multiple minority/minoritized groups, including Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics/Latinx, women, the LGTBQ community, persons with disabilities, persons living in poverty, and others. This legacy has resulted in persistent underrepresentation of these groups and a disproportionate distribution of power and influence within Medicine. The events of 2020, including the health disparities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the high-profile killings of several African American citizens has highlighted the need for diversity efforts in all spheres of American life. The public holds medical personnel in high esteem and the American public rightfully expects the highest standards of ethical behavior of our profession. This expectation extends to a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in all aspects of our department, including among faculty, residents, staff, students, and trainees.

Mission

We aim to create a culture and to promote processes that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the UConn Health Department of Medicine.

We recognize that these are fundamental qualities to fulfill our mission to provide fair, equitable and cutting-edge patient care while advancing medical education, developing scientific knowledge and creating a nurturing environment for training in clinical care and bio-medical research.

Our Goals

  1. Mitigating implicit bias among faculty, staff and trainees working in the department.
  2. Recruiting, hiring, and retaining excellent faculty and staff of diverse and/or underrepresented backgrounds.

The methods we use to recruit and select new faculty and staff can have a substantial impact on our ability to attract and retain a diverse pool of talent in the Department of Medicine. Choosing search committees, scheduling candidate interviews, advertising new openings, and proactively seeking diverse candidates – these all represent opportunities for us to expand diversity within our ranks. An initial focus of the Committee has been to encourage medical residents and fellows in our Internal Medicine and Primary Care residency programs to apply for permanent faculty positions in the department. We have been interviewing and surveying residents to understand how issues of diversity and inclusion may affect their career choices and the desirability of employment settings.

Once hired, faculty and staff need to feel they are part of a robust and diverse organization. We are focusing on issues of mentorship and peer communication as potential areas that might be expanded to support and retain a diverse faculty and staff in the department. We welcome suggestions from current faculty and staff on ways to improve mentorship and communication in the department.

  1. Reducing bias against patients and families, learners, staff and faculty.
  2. Addressing health care disparities in communities we serve through direct care, nd advocacy.
  3. Creating multifaceted mentorship and career development programs available to faculty and staff aimed to reduce disparities.
  4. Creating a data collection strategy to inform, and processes, including qualitative/descriptive data about culture and experiences that is trusted and easily accessible to patients, staff, and providers.

The data we have collected so far indicates a significant underrepresentation of Black, Hispanic, and Native American faculty overall, as well as at the associate professor and full professor rank. Women are also significantly underrepresented at the rank of full professor. We intend to gather yearly diversity data on the faculty serving on campus wide committees and to collect and track demographic data on faculty position applicants, interviewees, offers, new hires, and position departures.

We are addressing the underrepresentation of Medicine faculty by engaging with groups that are underrepresented in Medicine (residents and fellows) with a view to determining the barriers preventing current underrepresented residents and fellows from applying to open faculty positions. We recommend, improving the diversity among non-faculty staff and active recruitment of underrepresented faculty.

We have proposed a mentorship program for junior faculty that will assist with academic development and promotion.

We have implemented a change in the hiring and promotion practices for the non-faculty staff to reduce potential bias.

The committee has sponsored a number of initiatives to promote diversity, including:

  • Diversity in Medicine Grand Rounds series in 2021. Topics for 2022 include Women in Academic Medicine and LGBTQ issues affecting patients and staff.
  • The Health Disparities Institute’s summit entitled “The State of Mental Health Equity among Boys and Men of Color.”
  • Implicit bias reduction training for committee staff.
  • We have revised our medical school's Hippocratic oath to include active pledges to identify and mitigate personal biases, to uphold human rights, to respond to medical myths with evidenced based information and without judgment, to actively support policies that promote social justice and specifically work to dismantle policies that perpetuate inequities, exclusion, discrimination, and racism.

Faculty are encouraged to utilize online resources for faculty development, including the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. The site provides on-demand access to mentoring tools and support for faculty. Offerings include a faculty success program, campus workshops, guest expert webinars, assistance with writing and dissertation preparation, and access to a Professor-ing podcast.

Committee Members

Lenworth Ellis, M.D., MPH
Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Committee Chair

Abisola Baruwa Etti, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Division of Internal Medicine

Diane Evans
Administrative and Financial Director

Paula Gardiner
Administrative Support

Jeanette Goyzueta, MPH

Cassandra Keola, CMA
Administrative Program Assistant II
4th Year Critical Care Clerkship Coordinator

Lynn Kosowicz, M.D.
Professor, Division of Internal Medicine
Interim Chair, Department of Medicine

Yazeed S. Maghaydah, M.D.
Assistant Professor, UConn Center on Aging

Srimathi Manickaratnam, M.D., MRCP(UK)
Associate Professor, Division of Nephrology

Faryal Mirza, M.D., FACE, FACP
Associate Professor, Division of Nephrology

Julian Nieves, M.D., MPH
Assistant Professor, Division of Internal Medicine

Mario Perez, M.D., MPH
Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

William Shaw, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Clara Weinstock, D.O.
Assistant Professor, Division of Internal Medicine

Agustina Witt
Administrative Officer

Newsletter

Juneteenth: The Second American Independence Day

http://Juneteeth: The second American Independence Day

September 2022

Resources

Guidelines on the Use of Race as Patient Identifiers in Clinical Presentations
Journal of the National Medical Association, August 4, 2021.

Diagnosing and Confronting Racism in the Medical Profession
William A. Hinton (1883–1959), Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, July 20, 2021.

How Racism and Sexism Intertwine to Torment Asian-American Women
The New York Times, March 18, 2021.

An Antiracist Agenda for Medicine
Boston Review, March 17, 2021.

Black Women in Medicine—Rising Above Invisibility
The Lancet, February 13, 2021.

Misrepresenting Race — The Role of Medical Schools in Propagating Physician Bias
The New England Journal of Medicine, January 6, 2021.

Structural Racism and Health Inequities in the USA: Evidence and Interventions
The Lancet, April 8-14, 2017.

Incentivizing Faculty Diversity
Inside Higher Ed, January 23, 2020.

Structural Solutions for the Rarest of the Rare — Underrepresented-Minority Faculty in Medical Subspecialties
New England Journal of Medicine, July 16, 2020.

“This Happens All the Time”: A Qualitative Study of General Internists’ Experiences With Discriminatory Patients

Successful Efforts to Increase Diversity in a Cardiology Fellowship Training Program

Guidelines for Care of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Patients

Implicit Bias in Healthcare Professionals: A Systematic Review

Project Implicit Website (Implicit Association Test)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: American College of Physician

AAMC Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit Resources