Task Force Updates
February 2022 Update
InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force Update: October 2021 - December 2021
Dean Learman presents the updates from each of the Task Force working groups during a staff meeting held on February 10, 2022.
InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force Update: March - September 2021
Dean Learman presents the updates from each of the Task Force working groups during this town hall held on October 13.
VTCSOM continues to move forward on the recommendations from the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force report. In last month's Town Hall, Dean Learman and task force members outlined what has been implemented to date as well as the items that will be of key focus over the next six months.
View the presentation slides. Due to the nature of the content, the town hall video is available to VT users only.
Progress Notes | March 2021
Last spring, I hosted a VTCSOM Town Hall following national events that brought systemic racism and violent policing in the Black community into a painful spotlight. The Town Hall was an important first step toward identifying opportunities to improve the school’s programs and practices fostering inclusion, diversity and equity. On July 28, 2020, 158 VTCSOM students, faculty, staff, and friends of the school joined in a Community Forum. What followed was a tremendous heart-and-soul effort carried out by more than 100 faculty, staff, and students as part of the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force.
Now, eight months later, the scope and intensity of the task force’s effort has culminated in a thoughtful report memorializing our process, highlighting 15 key recommendations, and listing the themes and >125 specific recommendations emerging from the seven working groups.
Where do we go from here?
February was spent debriefing with the working groups and making sure we identified budget items in time for our FY22 budget request. Next, the senior leadership team will hold a virtual retreat this month to review key recommendations and finalize the implementation timeline. I will hold a town hall on March 22 at 5:30 p.m. to update the VTCSOM community on next steps.
Successful implementation of the task force recommendations will help our medical school become identified as a transforming organization. We will show commitment to intentional restructuring with inclusive decision-making and auditing to fuel continued improvement. We will partner with other institutions to improve the health and well-being of our community by dismantling racism.
As dean I welcome the opportunity to lead our team at VTCSOM with shared accountability on the action steps ahead. The journey has really just begun, and I look forward to proceeding on to the next leg of it with each of you.
Lee A. Learman
*published in Progress Notes | March 2021
“I am pleased to present to you the final report from the Inclusive VTCSOM Task Force. The Task Force was launched last fall to review the that state of the School with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to propose short- and long-term strategies supporting transformational change...”
The InclusiveVTCSOM task force has been busy since the last update:
- First-year students have been incorporated into task force projects and are significantly contributing to the work.
- Working group facilitators will submit reports to Dani Backus and Karen Sanders, who will review the reports and forward to steering committee members.
- The Community Engagement, Learning and Working Environment, and Student Support working groups submitted their reports in December. The remaining working group reports will be submitted as follows:
- Phase I Curriculum – January 8
- Faculty and Staff Development, Recruitment, and Retention – January 8
- Phase II Curriculum – January 8
- Admissions – January 15
- Working group reports will be forwarded to the strategic planning committee as they are approved.
- Kemi Bankole, VTCSOM's new Chief Diversity Officer, began her role January 4th. Karen Sanders will continue to work as a task force liaison and will assist the diversity team during the transition.
As you know, the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force was established in July, and the seven working groups began meeting in August and September. Since then, the groups have read articles and reviewed a few books, met with administrative leaders to learn more about current programs and practices associated with the working groups, consulted medical educators at schools whose diversity, equity and inclusion practices we want to emulate, and proposed three specific diversity-related issues (“working group priorities”) that the school should tackle. We are pleased that first-year students expressed interest in contributing to the work of the Task Force. Therefore, the class president will join the Task Force Steering Committee, and a group of about eight M1 students will serve on a “reactor” panel and will offer feedback on Task Force efforts.
The Task Force chairs and the steering committee will begin to meet weekly to review the working group priorities. The proposed priorities will focus on whether they are ambitious, actionable, measurable and will help VTCSOM to make progress toward its diversity goals.
We are still aiming to submit the final Task Force report to Dean Learman by the close of 2020. Each working group will submit a report of no more than 10 pages that includes:
- foundational information to help the reader understand the issues and the process that the working group followed in order to formulate its recommendations; and
- up to three manageable recommendations for action that can be implemented in the coming academic year (2021-22) to meet short and/or long-term goals. Each recommendation will provide (1) a description of the issue/challenge; (2) the proposed actions steps to address the issue/challenge; and (3) the rationale as to why the working group views the action as feasible and how the action will benefit the school immediately and in the long term.
Engaging in the diversity, equity and inclusion review and discussion in parallel with the school’s strategic planning process helps to ensure that our diversity goals will be incorporated into the VTCSOM Strategic Plan. We know that our school will advance towards achieving academic, operational and clinical excellence as we redouble our commitment to inclusive excellence.
Curriculum Phase I
The working group has made progress on incorporating more diversity and health-equity content into the M1 curriculum. Breakout groups are reviewing the domains and identifying areas where health equity content could be enhanced. Priorities and action items are under consideration.
Curriculum Phase II
In 2-3 paragraphs, working group members will offer suggestions on how the curriculum can incorporate race and health disparities into teaching related to hypertension management, nutrition, Black maternal mortality, GFR, asthma in children, mental health, and health disparities and access to care in the Roanoke valley.
Dean Learman stressed the importance of student support at the school and suggested that the group examine existing student support initiatives, as well as contributing new ideas. The group is in the process of identifying action items designed to facilitate student success, retention, wellness, and graduation.
Four subgroups have brainstormed priorities/action items that relate to the school’s engagement in the Roanoke community. The facilitator will consolidate the ideas and poll members’ top four priorities/action items for further discussion.
The group has tentatively identified three areas of interest that will likely lead to their priorities for action:
- diversity of the Medical School Admission Committee
- pipeline programs and underrepresented minority student recruitment, and
- scholarship review and awarding processes.
Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Development, and Retention
To fully understand how our school’s faculty and staff diversity compares other medical schools, the group will review national data on medical school faculty and staff diversity. The group will also take a close look at VTCSOM Culture & Climate survey results.
Learning and Working Environment
Four breakout groups will draft recommendations related to reporting and documenting mistreatment and unprofessional behavior in the school's learning environments. The breakout groups will focus on:
- concern for anonymity,
- concern for retaliation,
- process of reporting, categorizing infractions, and
Under the leadership of co-chairs, Michael Jeremiah, chair of family and community medicine; Fidel Valea, chair of obstetrics and gynecology; and Patricia Wooten, human resources manager, the InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been moving forward since it was officially announced in late July.
More than 100 members of the community are serving on seven working groups to “advance an inclusive environment that attracts and retains the best talent, values diversity of life experiences and perspectives, and encourages innovation in our pursuit of equity.” The first things needed were orientation sessions for facilitators and co-leaders. In addition, the group decided how it will share information and highlight the progress of the working groups. Starting this month, regular updates will be added to the website.
We encourage you to submit any questions to the group via the link under Task Force Member Resources on the website.