Creating Equitable and Inclusive Learning

School of Medicine faculty and staff reflect on their lived experiences as they relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Photos: Mark Wooding

Posted: July 6, 2017

By Karin Fleming

Nearly 200 UCSF School of Medicine faculty and staff have participated in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training as part of the Differences Matter initiative.  Four full-day sessions have been implemented so far, with more in-depth training planned over the coming months to educate participants on creating an equitable and inclusive learning environment. From this group, a subset of faculty will be identified to lead further training.

The training was overseen by Dean’s Diversity Leaders and facilitated by Enact Leadership staff, with the goal to enhance individual and group awareness, alignment, action and accountability toward lasting change as part of Differences Matter.

Faculty and staff were identified to participate in the training based on their recognition as leading teachers or administrators who impact UCSF learners, and their willingness to be thought leaders who understand the importance of creating a positive learning environment in the School of Medicine.

“We are excited about enhancing faculty and staff’s understanding of and commitment to the Differences Matter strategy and helping them gain greater clarity about their role as leaders in driving this strategic initiative forward,” said Alejandra Rincón, PhD, assistant vice-chancellor and chief of staff, Office of Diversity and Outreach, who helped lead the development of core competencies presented during the training sessions. 

In each workshop, participants were educated on implicit biases and microaggressions, coached in skills to address related issues, and trained in how to apply thoughtful, active listening and empathy supporting a more inclusive environment.

They shared stories of personal differences, explored issues around privilege, developed skills in perspective-taking, and learned how to apply ‘ally behavior’ to address implicit biases and microaggressions in the workplace, classrooms and clinic. 

“Today’s workshop gave me a clearer vision for what success looks like when inclusion, diversity, and equity are prioritized,” said one participant. “UCSF has made fostering this ‘ideal state’ a priority and I am proud to be an ambassador for an initiative that will make our organization inclusive to all, respectful of our differences and recognizing that diversity is our strength.”

The workshops closed with participants encouraged to make personal commitments to fostering a more inclusive, equitable environment in their learning communities: in essence creating a ‘learners’ bill of rights.’

The training sessions were developed by Differences Matter leadership and staff comprised of Beth Wilson, MD, MPH, Suzanne Kawahara, MBA, Eddie Cruz, MD, MPH, Alejandra Rincón, PhD, Andrea Jackson, MD, MAS, Michelle Guy, MD, Catherine Lucey, MD, Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD, Teresa Scherzer, PhD, George Taylor, DMD, MPH, DrPH, Michael Reyes, MD, MPH, Holly Nishimura and Allison Savage in collaboration with Enact Leadership. 

Pamela Hopkins, PhD, of Enact Leadership, listens as School of Medicine faculty and staff reflect on the day’s activities.
School of Medicine faculty and staff reflect after participating in an activity focusing on privilege.