Inclusion and Diversity Policy Statement

Definitions

Definitions for the diversity categories identified in LSOM medical school policies that guide recruitment and retention activities for our medical students are the following:

  • African American or Black -A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
  • Hispanic or Latino- A person particularly of Cuban, Mexican or Puerto Rican origin and of any race.
  • Women – Individuals who self-identify as female.
  • Socio-economically Disadvantaged- based on information collected by the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) regarding the socioeconomic  status of medical student applicants.

For our faculty and senior administrative staff, we apply the following definitions:

  • African American or Black- A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
  • Hispanic or Latino – A person particularly of Cuban, Mexican or Puerto Rican origin and of any race.
  • Women – Individuals who self-identify as female.

Policy

The LSOM and UT Health San Antonio in partnership with the Office for Inclusion and Diversity will engage in on-going, systematic and focused recruitment and retention activities to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes among its students, faculty, and senior administrative staff.

We view diversity as a core value which embodies inclusiveness,  mutual respect, and multiple perspectives and serves as a catalyst for change resulting in health equity. In this context, we are mindful of all aspects of human differences, both at the individual-level (e.g., life experiences, learning and working styles, personality types) and group-level or those that are instantaneously  recognizable and used to categorize individuals into discrete social categories, such as socioeconomic  status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, cis-gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, geography,  disability, age, and more.

The LSOM embraces a mission-appropriate diversity policy aligned with the medical profession’s obligation-meeting the health needs of all populations  in an ever-increasing heterogeneous society.  Diversity in medical education enhances the quality of education for all learners (for example, exposure to diverse perspectives may improve complex thinking skills), and translates into more effective and culturally competent physicians who are familiar with the connection between sociocultural factors and health beliefs and behaviors and thus are better prepared to serve a growing culturally and linguistically diverse patient population.

At the LSOM we are particularly focused on those we believe add particular value to our learning environment  and have the potential to address health disparities in our community. Health disparities-gaps in health and healthcare that mirror differences in geographic location, socioeconomic  status, race, ethnicity, education-remain persistent and pervasive.

Process

The LSOM will ensure exposure to health disparities pedagogy to all learners by providing skill­ building and practical advocacy skills, in both the preclinical and clerkship settings.  Programs and initiatives are aimed to meet the needs of our learners and institutional culture yet building on effective practices to support the success of students/faculty/staff traditionally underrepresented in academic  medicine (based on race/ethnicity, cis-gender  identity, socioeconomic, and first-generation college student status). These groups are defined and periodically reviewed by the Office for Inclusion and Diversity and included in the appendix to this document and in our implementation plan.

The LSOM will develop programs  and partnerships aimed at broadening  diversity among qualified applicants for medical school admission. We will continue to enhance the current holistic review process and include educational training in the area of implicit bias and microaggressions.  The Office for Inclusion and Diversity will monitor these efforts employing outcome metrics.

The LSOM will provide institutional resources including scholarship funds and academic preparation to enhance retention of matriculates. These efforts will undergo periodic review and evaluation to the Office for Inclusion and Diversity to determine effectiveness.

The LSOM will develop faculty and administrative staff recruitment and practices that broaden the search for diverse applicants. We will develop an educational program to heighten the awareness of bias in the recruitment, hiring and promotions process and we will perform periodic assessment of these efforts and their impact. Additionally we will collaborate with the Office for Faculty to enhance mentorship and promote advancement and retention.

The Long School of Medicine’s  Office for Inclusion and Diversity under the direction of the Vice Dean for Inclusion and Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer will be primarily responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of each of these programs  and for recommending new methods, based on evaluation data for continuous process improvement.

Approval Body: Diversity Advisory Council (DAC), Long School of Medicine