Neurology Progress in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Marie Carl Eugene, Associate Professor of Neurology, was appointed Neurology Department Diversity Officer in July 2018. Her responsibilities include directing department efforts to increase recruitment of underrepresented-in-medicine as department staff, resident trainees and faculty, and to develop strategies and lead efforts to improve and optimize our department’s culture to make it a welcoming and diverse place for our colleagues, students, staff and patients.
  • As part of the systematic review of the Department of Neurology by the UConn School of Medicine Administration in 2019, we assessed the ethnic and racial composition of our faculty, using standard categories defined by the State and U.S. Government. At that time, the Neurology employed faculty at UConn were allocated as follows:
Category Male Female Totals Percent
White 8 3 11 52.4%
Asian 2 3 5 23.8%
Black or African American 0 1 1 4.8%
Hispanic or Latino 3 1 4 19.0%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0 0 0 0.0%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0 0 0 0.0%
Two or More Races, not Hispanic 0 0 0 0.0%
Totals 13 8 21 100.0%
Percent 61.9% 38.1% 100.0%

Since that time we have recruited two additional faculty, both women and of Asian origin. Our efforts to recruit a more diverse faculty continue. Languages spoken by our faculty include: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Hindi, Urdu, Manipuri, and Cantonese. We actively seek diverse faculty as our department recruits additional specialists in areas such as dementia, neurocritical care, headache, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

  • On October 2, 2020, Dr. Linda Barry, Associate Professor of Surgery, spoke to the Neurology Faculty at a special meeting to discuss the role of implicit bias in our interactions with colleagues, students and trainees, employees and patients. Faculty were encouraged to exercise principles of fairness and diversity in all settings and to take the on-line assessments of implicit bias to determine their own subconscious tendencies toward unconscious biases.
  • The Department has also focused on diversity issues regarding recruitment of underrepresented minorities into the field of Neurology. Our residency Program Director, Dr. Erica Schuyler invited Dr. Alyx Porter, Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion at the Mayo Clinic Arizona and Director of Early Undergraduate Pipeline Programs for the Mayo Clinic, Alix School of Medicine to give a Grand Rounds presentation on her work. Her lecture on January 14, 2021, entitled “Miles To Go Before I Sleep: From Challenges to Opportunities, Addressing Diversity in Medicine,” reviewed the current state of diversity in medicine, including both the challenges and opportunities influencing diversity in neurology. The talk provided an excellent overview of how to use undergraduate recruitment to develop a “pipeline” of diverse students into medicine and explored avenues for change to improve patient care through embracing diversity.
  • In March 2021, the department released a Neurology Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, after in depth discussions with the faculty and stakeholders in the administration and the Office of Institutional Equity. This statement is intended to reflect our commitment to address and rectify systemic bias and inequality and to promote fairness in our interactions with employees, colleagues, trainees and patients.
  • For the 2021-22 academic year, Neurology Clerkship students will have additional exposure to diversity issues. During their Required Observation in Neurology (RON) experience, during which they are directly observed by a faculty member while they perform a complete history and physical examination on a neurology patient, they will be asked afterwards how implicit bias of health care providers and systemic health care inequities may have affected the patient’s experience of their neurology health care and the provider’s delivery of care. They will also discuss how the patient’s implicit biases may affect their ability to create a therapeutic bond with the health care provider and to follow provider recommendations.