Institute Announces Anti-Racism Initiative

This message is from IHP President Paula Milone-Nuzzo's desk


-June 29, 2020-

Dear IHP Community:

The past month has seen a much-needed racial awakening for the country as protests have swept the nation, with the now-familiar refrain that Black Lives Matter. Protesters and their supporters have rightly insisted the status quo is not working and is morally wrong. Systemic racism has been painfully exposed in police departments, businesses, educational systems, government, and multiple facets of our daily lives. Many of these organizations need to be fundamentally rebuilt in order to create a more equitable environment for Black Americans.

At the Institute, racial justice has been a priority for years, but truthfully our gains, while at times significant, have fallen short of what we want to be as a graduate school educating the next generation of health care providers. For if we do not model an environment where all are treated fairly and feel equal, how will the thousands of patients we care for receive the dignity and respect they deserve, especially at such vulnerable times as when they seek our care?

The time has come to think boldly about race and to bring all members of our community together to develop an Institute-Wide Anti-Racism Plan. We need to listen, ask questions, and take action. Based on input from various Institute constituencies, we have sketched out a blueprint for a plan. Below are six elements of the plan that have been identified so far as a framework. Now, we will seek input of the entire Institute to continue to develop the plan. We will hold focus groups and have one-on-one meetings to ensure everyone’s voice, especially those of our Black community members, is heard. Our goal is to take meaningful first steps by the end of the summer.

We know the plan will change and evolve. We know that this work is difficult and will require us to go to places that don’t always feel comfortable. But we know at our core as an Institute, it is what we need and want to do.

  • Rebrand DEI to the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)

Lead with justice and equity (Stewart, 2017) and move toward a consultative role to support departments, programs, and offices to develop JEDI strategic action plans. Establish Anti-Oppression Collaborative in Education (ACE) to provide additional supports for teaching and learning about oppression, especially racism and anti-racism. Expand the JEDI Fellowship program to provide additional student leadership development and support.

  • Develop an IHP Diversity Statement/Pledge and Build Institute-Wide Support

With feedback and support from all members of the Institute community – students, faculty, staff, and alumni – create a bold and meaningful Anti-Racist Statement that will ensure that the Institute community is a welcoming, nurturing, and supportive environment for all members of our community.

  • JEDI Strategic Action Plans to improve diversity and retention of faculty, staff, and students of color, especially Black faculty, staff, and students

Within departments, programs, and offices, examine current policies and practices (including curricula) and address racial inequities. Develop JEDI strategic goals and metrics for measuring progress. Add JEDI content into individual annual performance goals and evaluations. Integrate Equity Advocates into all upcoming faculty search processes to mitigate bias.

  • Support faculty, staff, and students of color, especially Black faculty, staff, and student-specific programming and support

Develop a more formalized structure for supporting students of color and create an Alumni of Color Network. Recognize faculty of color for their time, space, and service; establish employee resource groups.

  • Trainings and Workshops

Establish a goal of 100% participation of faculty, preceptors, staff, and students in our Power, Privilege, and Positionality (PPP) orientation event. JEDI is currently recruiting faculty, staff, and student facilitators for the Fall 2020 PPP. Building on PPP, JEDI will develop a suite of workshops covering: JEDI Key Concepts; Brave Dialogues: Introduction to Brave Space and Intergroup Dialogue Theory and Practice; Recognizing Microaggressions; Responding to Microaggressions in the Clinical Setting; and Responding to Microaggressions in Academia.

  • Bias Reporting

Review Bias Reporting mechanisms and harassment policies and create a streamlined and consistent process within schools and departments.

We are excited about this journey, and we look forward to taking it with you. Please join us in thinking big and boldly about the Institute we can be, and must be, to better support one another and the communities we serve.

With gratitude,

Paula Milone-Nuzzo
President and John Hilton Knowles Professor

Kimberly Truong
Executive Director for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion