Creating a Diversity Cabinet

Diversity activities at Stanford University School of Medicine are widespread and integrated into medical education curriculum, graduate education and graduate medical education student activities, as well as career development opportunities for trainees and faculty. We developed an approach to an integrated communication strategy to identify opportunities to leverage diversity partnerships.

Background

Diversity activities at Stanford University School of Medicine are widespread and integrated into medical education curriculum, graduate education and graduate medical education student activities, as well as career development opportunities for faculty. This approach, in contrast to diversity efforts managed through one central location, is based on the philosophy that diversity and inclusion should be integrated directly into each trainee and faculty community. However, the approach can also lead to challenges related to duplication of efforts, communication of activities across the spectrum, and a lack of formalized interaction with senior leadership to ensure that diversity underlies each aspect of the academic medical center. We developed an approach to an integrated communication strategy to identify opportunities to leverage diversity partnerships.

The Approach

In 2014, a Stanford Medicine Diversity Cabinet was convened to review and coordinate diversity activities across the School of Medicine continuum and to share best practices as well as lessons learned. The Cabinet was comprised of representatives from the following educational units at the School: medical student admissions, medical student affairs, medical education, graduate medical education, graduate education, postdoctoral affairs, and faculty diversity in addition to membership from other leadership groups representing the Center of Excellence for Diversity in Medical Education, LGBTQ affairs, women in academic medicine, and school-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Cabinet Goals

  1. To advise the Dean and School leadership on diversity and inclusion issues.
  2. To play a key role in communicating and disseminating the School’s diversity and inclusion programs, initiatives, and priorities to the broader community.
  3. To coordinate among its members the activities supporting diversity in stakeholder units.
  4. To advocate for diversity and inclusion within the school.

The Cabinet meets monthly during the academic year and its two co-chairs discuss Cabinet matters regularly with the School’s senior leadership and directly with the Dean. 

Organizational Impact

In May 2017, the Cabinet was given a formal Charge by the Dean. The specific duties outlined within the Charge include reviewing and recommending actions to the Dean as regards the following:

  1. Developing and monitoring of the School of Medicine diversity strategic plan.
  2. Contributing to the School’s initiatives on diversity. Providing insight on the role of diversity across the school’s broader initiatives.
  3. Reporting to School leadership, Dean, Vice Dean and Senior Associate Deans, on issues related to diversity and inclusion.  This includes recommendations of responses to crises and providing safe space.
  4. Engaging stakeholder groups, including medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral students, residents, fellows, and faculty, through formal and informal channels to maintain continual awareness of their needs.
  5. Disseminating, coordinating and collaborating on activities across Cabinet constituent member groups.
  6. Assisting the Dean in developing novel approaches to highlight diversity and inclusion in the School through internal and external strategic communications.

Conclusion

Institutional structures related to diversity vary as to how centralized or decentralized they are within the organizational system. When accountability for diversity is dispersed, it can normalize diversity to be a part of everyday activities for relevant trainee and faculty groups in academic medicine. However, this may come at the cost of effective communication surrounding diversity activities, coordination of efforts across groups, and formal interaction with senior leadership on diversity-related issues. In this type of situation, a Diversity Cabinet, comprised of leadership from all constituent academic groups and empowered by the Dean, may be able to serve this role while each cabinet member maintains oversight over their specific unit.

This model may ensure diversity and inclusion activities are cohesive, aligned, and communicated across groups within an organizational system. Ongoing assessment will demonstrate the impact of the Diversity Cabinet on advancing common goals in a collaborative and impactful way.

Diversity Cabinet Members

Co-Chair, Yvonne Maldonado, MD

Senior Associate Dean, Office of Faculty Development and Diversity; Professor, Pediatrics and Health Research and Policy

Co-Chair Fernando Mendoza, MD

Associate Dean, Minority Advising and Programs; Professor, Pediatrics

Cori Bossenberry

Associate Dean, Human Resources

Amy Fan

President of Biomedical Association for the Interest of Minority Students (BioAIMS)

Magali Fassiotto, PhD

Assistant Dean, Office of Faculty Development and Diversity

Ronald Garcia, PhD

Assistant Dean, Minority Affairs

Neil Gesundheit, MD, MPH

Senior Associate Dean, Medical Education; Professor, Medicine (Endocrinology)

Iris Gibbs, MD

Associate Dean, Office of MD Admissions; Professor, Radiation Oncology

 

Kristie Griffin

Head of Talent Management, Stanford Health Care

 

Larry Katznelson, MD

Associate Dean, Graduate Medical Education; Professor, Neurosurgery and Medicine (Endocrinology)

Sofie Kleppner, PhD

Associate Dean, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Shaila Kotadia, PhD

Director of Culture and Inclusion

 

Jim Lock, MD, PhD

Associate Chair and Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Science

 

Ioana Marin, PhD

Stanford University Postdoctoral Association (SURPAS) Representative

Alejandro Martinez, PhD

Associate Dean of Students, Stanford University

Miquell Miller, MD

Appointee of Graduate Medical Education Diversity Committee

Claire Rhee

Co-President of Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance (SUMMA)

Mijiza Sanchez, MPA, EdD

Associate Dean, Office of Medical Student Affairs

 

Marcia Stefanick, PhD

Director, Co-founder, Stanford WHSDM Center; Professor, Medicine and OB/GYN

Ayodele Thomas, PhD

Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Diversity

Ekta Vyas, PhD

Human Resources Director, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Diversity Cabinet Reports

SoM regularly compiles data related to diversity at Stanford Medicine. Login to access current reports

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