The year 2020 has been fraught with a variety of challenges for the medical community and the nation at large. Over recent months and years, we continue to see publicized acts of unnecessary violence toward members of the Black community that highlight the racial divide that still exists in our country. As health care providers who have the privilege to shape the lives of children and families along with the communities in which we serve, it is our responsibility to be empowered agents of meaningful change to heal this wound which deeply and negatively impacts so many. Through the medical care we offer, community leadership we provide, curriculum we teach, research we conduct, and culture we promote, we commit to not only stemming the tide of racism, but instead, to unite behind a common call of being anti-racist.
Historian and author Ibram X. Kendi defines a racist policy as “any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups” and defines an anti-racist policy as “any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups.”
- Statement by University of Florida President Dr. W. Kent Fuchs
- Statement on Racial Injustice by the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMSPDC)
- University of Florida’s Website on Anti-Racism
Curricular & Programmatic Changes
Medicine is no exception to long-standing inequity and division. We recognize that change must begin from within and wanted to share steps we are taking to promote this necessary change. We recognize bias as an inherent part of human behavior that must be addressed in order to provide equitable, high-quality patient care. To that end, we are changing our curriculum to be more intentional about fostering an inclusive learning environment that celebrates diversity and proactively engages with learners to advocate for systems and structures to improve the care of marginalized populations.
- Restructure our longitudinal educational program
for inclusion, diversity, equity and allyship learning (IDEAL) that is woven
through our training programs
- Review current educational strategies, resources, and programs
- Examine new resources and active learning opportunities to incorporate into training
- Listen to each other and learn from each other’s
- Program leadership reached out to have personal conversations with each of the trainees
- Mentors have personal conversations with mentees at each of the mentor meetings throughout the year
- Examine and address responses to inclusion questions on the Annual Evaluation of the Program that residents complete
- Conduct a survey of the trainees using the validated Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised
- Examine and revise our current recruitment
- Ensure they align with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Holistic Review model
- Continue to build upon the diversity and inclusion section on our residency website
- Examine and revise all of our current curricula using the framework below
- Know that we are all learning as we proceed, and we will make mistakes; however, we commit daily to do our best to contribute to change.
Introduction of a New Pipeline Program
Through collaboration with both our College of Medicine Office for Diversity & Health Equity and current under-represented in medicine (UIM) student leaders, some of whom are planning careers in pediatrics, we designed the UF Health, Department of Pediatrics PROSPECT (Promoting Retention of Students in Pediatrics through Engagement, Coaching and Training) Program. This program is modeled after the successful Academic Pediatric Association’s New Century Scholars Program and will provide opportunities for formal professional development for all parties (mentors and mentees). The primary goal of this program is to broadly support UIM students who intend careers in pediatrics throughout their medical school training by creating opportunities for them to engage in mentorship, research, clinical care and professional development activities with UIM faculty members. We believe PROSPECT will provide a strong foundation for their future success. Secondarily, we hope the relationships formed between our department faculty and these students will allow us to recruit these outstanding learners for pediatric residency positions, and ideally as faculty later in their career.