Academic Medicine

Skip Navigation LinksHome > September 2013 - Volume 88 - Issue 9 > Building Diversity in a Complex Academic Health Center
Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829e57b0
Articles

Building Diversity in a Complex Academic Health Center

South-Paul, Jeannette E. MD; Roth, Loren MD, MPH; Davis, Paula K. MA; Chen, Terence; Roman, Anna PhD; Murrell, Audrey PhD; Pettigrew, Chenits EdD; Castleberry-Singleton, Candi MBA; Schuman, Joel MD

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Abstract

For 30 years, the many diversity-related health sciences programs targeting the University of Pittsburgh undergraduate campus, school of medicine, schools of the health sciences, clinical practice plan, and medical center were run independently and remained separate within the academic health center (AHC). This lack of coordination hampered their overall effectiveness in promoting diversity and inclusion. In 2007, a group of faculty and administrators from the university and the medical center recognized the need to improve institutional diversity and to better address local health disparities. In this article, the authors describe the process of linking the efforts of these institutions in a way that would be successful locally and applicable to other academic environments. First, they engaged an independent consultant to conduct a study of the AHC’s diversity climate, interviewing current and former faculty and trainees to define the problem and identify areas for improvement. Next, they created the Physician Inclusion Council to address the findings of this study and to coordinate future efforts with institutional leaders. Finally, they formed four working committees to address (1) communications and outreach, (2) cultural competency, (3) recruitment, and (4) mentoring and retention. These committees oversaw the strategic development and implementation of all diversity and inclusion efforts. Together these steps led to structural changes within the AHC and the improved allocation of resources that have positioned the University of Pittsburgh to achieve not only diversity but also inclusion and to continue to address the health disparities in the Pittsburgh community.

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges

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