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InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force Update

October 2021

Title Slide VTCSOM Inclusive Taskforce: Update: March - September 2021
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Introduction

All right. Well, hopefully we'll have some more folks joining us in the next few minutes, but let's get started. We do have a pretty busy agenda and we're going to have some time for questions at the end, hopefully.

Well, I'm going to start off by acknowledging that we had a holiday earlier this week called Indigenous Peoples Day. And on that day we recognize the enduring ties to the land and the natural resources that support our endeavors. And there's a very nice piece in the VT news about this on Monday.

This day honored the legacy of traditional people's past and present across our nation. It was also an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Native American and Indigenous people to Virginia Tech.

So as we open this town hall meeting, we recognize that our use of this space was made possible by the confiscation of land and displacement of indigenous peoples across the United States, including the Saponi-Tutelopeople, who are the historic stewards of the land on which we work and live in Roanoke. We pay respect to the Saponi-Tutelo nations and to their elders past, present, and emerging. We recognize that continued connection to the land, water and air that Virginia Tech Carilion consumes.

And with that, we're going to start with our diversity equity inclusion update. And then after I'm finished with that piece, we're going to move on to our strategic plan reveal / announcement.

So our program begins with an update on our implementation of recommendations of the inclusive VTC School of Medicine Task Force. I have the honor of presenting the update today, but so many people have contributed not only to the task force, but to the progress that we've made. That this is really something that we are proud to own together. Thanks in advance to Dani Backus who is with us for preparing and updating this presentation. Much appreciated, Dani.

Our Taskforce was announced in June of 2020, worked diligently in the summer and fall, and submitted its recommendations in February of 2021, our town hall in March of 2021 presented and the task force’s recommendations, all 122 of them and our plans for implementing them.

We're grateful for the leadership and engagement of the task force, co-chairs, steering committee, our DEI team, working groups, our colleagues and supporters at Virginia Tech, everyone that helped together to provide a multi-dimensional and inclusive 360 perspective on our medical school with some really thoughtful recommendations.

In March at our town hall then we committed to track our progress every quarter internally, and then to report our progress to the greater VTC community every six months. So this is our first update of that kind. The next one will be six months from now.

On March 2021, eight units created a road map to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion task force recommendations. This is the progress we made March - September 2021 to arrive at Mile Marker 2. Background shows an aerial view of a road winding through a forest

InclusiveVTCSOM Task Force Road Map

In March, we got started with our roadmap. And Dani has made it a lot of fun. She's made it like a road trip with various stops and mile markers along the way. And Dani I just noticed that one of your slides was a place that my brother and I visited in Utah a couple of weeks ago. So it was nice to see that we were getting out on the road a little bit. 

This the progress report, what you're hearing today really reflects work from March to September, which is what we're calling mile marker 2, as we divide this into quarters, kind of. 

Original Road Map for March 21 showing 40 tasks to be completed. Details provided in accordion below.
  • Phase I Curriculum had 1 task due in June 2021, 1 task due in December 2021, and 30 tasks due in June 2022, for a total of 32. 
  • Phase II Curriculum had 5 tasks due in June 2021, 1 task due in September 2021, and 7 tasks due in June 2022, for a total of 13 tasks. 
  • Student Support had completed 2 tasks prior to March 2021, had 3 tasks due in June 2021, 2 tasks due in September 2021, and 2 tasks due after June 2022 for a total of 9 tasks.
  • Community Engagement had 1 task due in June 2021, 4 tasks due in December 2021, 1 task due in March 2022, 2 tasks due in June 2022 and 1 task due after June 2022, for a total of 9 tasks. 
  • Admissions had completed 4 tasks prior to March 2021, had 4 tasks due in June 2021, 2 tasks due in September 2021, 2 tasks due in December 2021, 2 tasks due in March 2022, 1 task due in June 2022, and 8 tasks due after June 2022, for a total of 23 tasks. 
  • Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Development, and Retention had 6 tasks due in June 2021, 3 tasks due in September 2021, 6 tasks due in December 2021, 3 tasks due in March 2022, and 2 tasks due in June 2022 for a total of 20 tasks.
  • Learning and Work Environment had 1 task due in June 2021, 2 tasks due in September 2021, 3 tasks due in December 2021, and 4 tasks due in March 2022, for a total of 10 tasks. 
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion had 3 tasks due in September 2021, 1 task due in March 2022, and 2 tasks in June 2022, for a total of 6 tasks. 

Overall, 40 tasks were to be completed by the end of September, with an additional 16 tasks due in December 2021, 11 tasks due in March 2022, 44 tasks due in June 2022, and 11 tasks due after June 2022. 

So this is what we hoped to be able to do on our original roadmap back in March. By this time, we were expecting to be done with 40 of our tasks, 40 of the recommendations to have been implemented by September 30th and that would be 33 percent of the total. You can see that we had completed six before March. We were planning to complete 21 in the first three months and another 13, that's a total of 40. And you can see the different units of activity they map onto the different working groups of the taskforce pretty closely. And how we were expecting all of the work to be done across that period of time. 

Actual Mileage Covered - table with updated numbers. Details provided in the accordion below.
  • Phase I Curriculum completed 1 task by June 2021 and had no tasks due for September 2021
  • Phase II Curriculum completed 6 tasks by June 2021 and had no tasks due for September 2021
  • Student Support completed 7 tasks by June 2021 and had no tasks due for September 2021
  • Community Engagement completed 1 task by June 2021 and 4 tasks by September 2021
  • Admissions completed 8 tasks by June 2021 and 3 tasks by September 2021
  • Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Development, and Retention completed 1 task by June 2021 and carried over 5 tasks and completed those plus 9 more tasks by the end of September 2021. They will carry over 1 task to the next deadline of December 2021
  • Learning and Work Environment completed 1 task by June 2021 and 4 tasks by September 2021
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion completed 1 task by June 2021 and 2 tasks by September 2021. 

Overall, 26 tasks were completed by June 2021, and 27 more by September 2021, for a total of 53 tasks completed. 

Highlights

  • All units completed their planned tasks as well as other tasks ahead of schedule
  • 88% of all 122 tasks are underway (43% completed).
  • One task was carried forward to the 3rd Mile Marker (Oct-Dec 2021)
  • One task was moved to July 2022 to allow more time to research.
  • We are three months ahead of schedule.

Well, the good news is, is that we actually completed 53 tasks, more than expected during this time period. You can see 26 and the first period, 27 in the second period, for a total of 53 and all units completed their planned tasks as well as other ones ahead of schedule. 88% of all 122 are underway with 43% completed. There was one task carried forward to the next mile marker, which is October to December, and then one was moved to the July 22 bucket.

And what we've been doing is really trying to get some really pragmatic goals set to be sure that when we're tracking these goals, that we're staying up to date on other urgencies that come up and adjusting our timeframes and moving items, no items are getting lost anywhere. We're making sure that we track them meticulously to be sure that each of them as being addressed very carefully.

But I'd like to do now is just go through some highlights in each of these different areas of accountability. So you'll know exactly what we've been up to. 

Updates from each Task Force Group

Phase I Curriculum update - described below

PHASE 1 CURRICULUM: Completed on Schedule (1 of 1)

1.2 Incorporate a focus on conscious and unconscious bias, health equity, and structural racism in medicine at the PBL Facilitator retreat.

Quote: We are continuing to address all of the issues as we progressively make our way through the curriculum block by block. We are on schedule to complete tasks as planned.

Phase I Curriculum

The first is our phase 1 curriculum and our accountable leader is Dr. Rick Vari. There was only one item that needed to be completed by now with all bunch others waiting for later in the year. And this one was to incorporate a focus on conscious and unconscious bias, health equity and structural racism in medicine to the PBL facilitator retreat, which has been accomplished.

And Dr. Vari’s comment here. “We are continuing to address all the issues as we are progressively make our way through the curriculum block by block. We're on schedule to complete tasks as planned.”

And there are whole bunch coming in the spring, which are, have already been initiated, but we'll come to fruition later on. And we'll tell you more about those at our next town hall. 

Phase II Curriculum update - described below

PHASE 2 CURRICULUM: Completed on Schedule (5 of 5), +1

  • 2.1 Adding or modifying one or more discussion topics in each required clerkship to incorporate the impact of systemic, institutionalized racism on the disease or pathology being discussed.
  • 2.2 Phase II curriculum leadership hold the clerkship directors accountable and to ensure the inclusion of these topics in students’ lectures and discussions.
  • 3.1 Adding additional evaluation points for lectures/lecturers.
  • 3.2 Adding similar evaluation points to the overall clerkship evaluation forms.
  • 4.1 Taking steps to understand the extent of bias in assessments, and then to address the problem.
  • 5.1 Clarifying the roles of each team member and addressing individuals by their proper names/titles/pronouns.

Quote from Dr. Criss: "The clerkship directors were open to and welcomed making Diversity Equity and Inclusion recommended changes in the clinical environment.

We engaged with clerkship directors, the Block Integration Committee-2, and the Medical Curriculum Committee to advance the changes. We also collaborated with the Assessment and IT teams to implement the changes.

We shared an update with the Class of 2022 and 2023 with the changes we made."

Phase II Curriculum

For the Phase 2 curriculum, Tracey Criss has been our accountable leader, and they completed five of five tasks that were planned for this time period, plus one more. A whole lot of work being done by the clerkship directors and all of these here so that you can see here:

Adding discussion topics on each clerkship to incorporate the impacts of systemic institutional racism on disease or pathology; Phase 2 Curriculum leadership, holding the clerkship director is accountable to ensure inclusion of these topics; additional evaluation points for lectures/lecturers; evaluation forms for clerkships; understanding the extent of bias and assessments and addressing them; clarifying the roles of each team member. 

A lot of hard work done across the different clinical clerkships and departments.

Dr. Criss’s comments, "the clerkship directors were open to and welcomed making diversity, equity and inclusion and recommended changes in the clinical environment. We engage with clerkship directors, the block integration committee two, and the medical curriculum committee to advance these changes. We also collaborated with the assessment and IT teams to implement the changes. We share an update with the class of 2022 and 2023 with the changes we made."

So lot of coordination involved and moving these tasks forward. A well done Phase II group. Thank you, Dr. Criss.

Community Engagement update - described below

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Completed on Schedule (1 of 1), +4

  • 1.1 Revisiting and affirming current community partnerships.
  • 1.2 Identifying and participating in local festivals and activities that celebrate diversity
  • 1.3 Identifying and participating in health fairs and health screen programs sponsored by local non-profits.
  • 1.7 Creating a system to track community engagement activities with outcomes.
  • 2.3 Developing M1 orientation requirements.

Quote from Dr. Trinkle: "With each discussion, we have uncovered engagement opportunities for both our students and faculty that are ready to be developed, as well as the names of additional organizations to contact going forward.

During these discussions, we have also discovered some potential for these separate organizations to collaborate on their own projects. It has been exciting to be able to make those introductions."

Community Engagement

Our third area was community engagement that had one task that it completed on schedule and four others ahead of schedule: Revisiting and affirming current community partnerships; identifying and participating in local festivals and activities that celebrate diversity as well as health fairs and health screening programs sponsored by local non-profits; creating a system to track community engagement activities with outcomes and enveloping M1 orientation requirements.

Dr. Trinkle says "with each discussion, we have uncovered engagement opportunities for both our students and faculty that are ready to be developed, as well as the names of additional organizations to contact going forward. And during these discussions, we have also discovered some potential for these separate organizations to collaborate on their own projects. It has been exciting to be able to make these introductions."

That is very exciting, Dr. Trinkle. Thanks so much to you and your team for moving those forward. 

Student Support update - described below

STUDENT SUPPORT: Completed on Schedule (7 of 7)

  • 1.1 Developing a messaging campaign that reframes seeking help as utilizing resources and support services.
  • 2.1 Offering more access to financial aid counseling and financial literacy services.
  • 2.2 Enhancing counseling support by hiring a full-time mental health counselor.
  • 2.4 Establishing an Office of the Ombudsperson.
  • 3.1 Identifying Virginia Tech, VTCSOM, Carilion Clinic and other awards students are eligible to receive.
  • 3.2 Establishing a standardized process for nominating students for awards.
  • 3.3 Establishing Class Awards (M1-M4) that celebrate and recognize contributions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Quote from Dr. Knight: "We collaborated with DEI and Community Engagement Teams. We identified other resources we needed for future mile markers."

Student Support

Next in students support our accountable leader Dr. Aubrey Knight. All seven of the planned activities and tasks were completed on schedule: developing a messaging campaign that reframes seeking help as utilizing resources and support services; offering more access to financial aid, counseling and financial literacy services; enhancing counseling support by hiring a full-time mental health counselor; establishing an office of the ombudsperson; identifying Virginia Tech, VTC School of Medicine, and Carilion Clinic and other awards students are eligible to receive; establishing a standardized process for nominating students for awards; and establishing class awards that celebrate and recognize contributions related to DEI.

Dr. Knight’s quote: We collaborated with DEI community engagement teams. We identified other resources we need for different future mile markers.

Well done with seven important tasks. Thank you. Students support.

Admissions update - described below

ADMISSIONS: Completed on Schedule (10 of 10), +1

  • 1.3 Adjusting or adding secondary application questions that elicit responses related to diversity and health equity.
  • 1.4 Incorporating a diversity-related question into MMI scenarios to demonstrate to prospective students that the school values diversity.
  • 2.1 Reviewing the interpretation and application of the school’s “race neutral” policy.
  • 2.2 Exploring the application of affirmative action and race neutral policies at state institutions in Virginia.
  • 2.3 Confirming the existence or absence of Virginia laws/policies that ban the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions.
  • 2.4 Establishing a visible written policy that ensures appropriate consideration of race in admissions at VTCSOM.
  • 3.4 Reviewing and updating all Admission staff job descriptions, specifically as it relates to diversity recruiting.
  • 5.1 Including the VTCSOM Chief Diversity Officer as a member of the committee.
  • 5.2 Taking deliberate, proactive steps to develop and recruit individuals who contribute to the diversity of the Admissions committee.
  • 6.2 Making URM scholarships more visible on the VTCSOM website.
  • 6.3 Communicating efforts to increase diversity in the student body, including scholarships and fee waivers, on the Admissions website.

Quote from Dr. Prusakowski: On our journey we collaborated with DEI team and the webmaster.

Admissions

Not to be outdone. Here's admissions with 10 out of 10 completed on schedule plus one more. We had to use a smaller font for these because there were so many.

So you can see the list here: adjusting or adding secondary application questions that elicit responses related to diversity and health equity; incorporating a diversity related question to MMI scenarios; reviewing the interpretation and application of the school’s race neutral policy; exploring the application of affirmative action ration of policies that state institutions in Virginia; confirming the existence or absence of Virginia laws and policies that ban consideration of race and ethnicity; establishing a visible written policy that ensures appropriate consideration of race in admissions at VTC School of Medicine; reviewing and updating all admission staff job descriptions particularly as related to diversity recruiting; including the VTC School of Medicine chief diversity office as a member of the committee taking deliberate proactive steps to develop and recruit individuals who contribute to the diversity of the admissions committee; making URM scholarships more visible on our website, and communicating efforts to increase diversity in the student body, including scholarships and fee waivers on the admissions website.

So a whole slew of things that are underway from the admissions committee. So thank you very much for implementing those.

Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Development, and Retention  update - described below

FACULTY AND STAFF RECRUITMENT, DEVELOPMENT & RETENTION: Completed on Schedule (8 of 9), one in progress, +6

  • 1.1 Collaborating with diversity-focused job posting clearinghouses.
  • 1.2 Incorporating inclusive language in all job postings.
  • 1.3b Encourage faculty to attend LGBTQ+ SafeZone Training.
  • 1.6 Creating a minimum community engagement requirement for students, staff, and faculty.
  • 2.1 Establishing an ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion-working group. (completed)
  • 2.1 Establishing an ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion-working group.
  • 2.2a Incorporating a diversity, equity, and inclusion module (online?) in faculty orientation.
  • 2.2b Creating an annual diversity and inclusion education requirement for faculty and staff.
  • 2.3 Requiring diversity, equity, and inclusion-related training as a Faculty Maintenance of Appointment requirement.
  • 2.5 Creating a Faculty Development webpage with curated and vetted diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.
  • 2.6 Providing development opportunities to address critical topics: Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, Bystander Training, and Mentoring Across Differences.
  • 2.7 Utilizing a variety of approaches to deliver diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development content.
  • 3.1 Surveying all departments to determine the existence and need for mentorship programs.
  • 3.4 Utilizing the Virginia Tech Future Faculty Diversity Program for CC/VTCSOM/FBRI joint hires.

In progress:

3.7 Examining the exit interview process and asking focused questions related to Diversity and Inclusion.

Quote from Dr. Musick: "Working with the faculty Development team, DEI team, our HR team, Carilion Clinic HR team, Carilion Clinic Department Chairs and FBRI team, we gathered information and identified key questions that need to be addressed as we seek long-term solutions."

Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Development, and Retention

The next is faculty and staff recruitment, development and retention with Dr. Musick as our accountable leader. They've completed eight of nine already, one of those, that one is in progress, and then six more, my goodness. So another small fonted listing here:

Collaborating with diversity focus, job posting clearing houses; incorporating inclusive language in all job postings; encouraging faculty to attend to LGBTQ+ Safe Zone training; creating a minimum community engagement requirement for students, staff and faculty; establishing an ongoing DEI working group; establishing... that's two of them. Double, double one, you got credit for two.

Incorporating a diversity equity inclusion module in faculty orientation; creating an annual diversity inclusion education requirement; requiring training for faculty maintenance of appointment; faculty development web page being created and curated with additional resources and you can continue reading through the rest of these.

The one in progress is examining the exit interview process and asking focused questions. Now, the exit interview, it's not a standard operating procedure across. Our faculty are working and so we're trying to implement that as something kind of new.

But the themes here as emphasized and Dr. Musick’s quote are just all about collaboration and working with the faculty development team, DEI team, HR team, Carilion HR team, Carilion Clinic chairs and FBRI team to gather information and identify key questions that need to be addressed as we seek long-term solutions. Although we all come together around our shared mission, how people are employed in different HR environments  does affect recruitment strategies and practices. And so it's a highly complex and we're so glad that so much progress has been able to be made.

So thank you, Dr. Musick and team.

Learning and Working Environment update - described below

LEARNING AND WORKING ENVIRONMENT: Completed on Schedule (2 of 3), new deadline for one, +3

1.1 Clarifying where and how to submit learning environment concerns on the LE website.

1.3 Increasing transparency for report submission, status, and resolution.

1.4 Utilizing the LE website to highlight positive learning experiences and recognize faculty.

1.6 Make the LE website easier to find.

4.2 Evaluating item level of the Learning Environment Survey to determine an appropriate threshold value for each item based on item type, scale, previous data, number of respondents, and the importance of the construct.

New deadline:

1.5 Identifying specific faculty to talk to about LE issues moved to July 2022.

Our collaborations included the Senior Dean of Academic Affairs, Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences Years 3 and 4, Assistant Dean for Assessments, LEAC members, and Communications Team.

Learning and Working Environment

Learning and Working Environment has completed two out of three on schedule. They've created a new deadline for one other and they've also completed three ahead of schedule:

Clarifying where and how to submit learning environment concerns on the LE site; increasing transparency for report submission status and resolution; utilizing the LE website to highlight positive learning experiences and recognize faculty; making the LE website easier to find; evaluating an item level of the learning environment survey to determine an appropriate threshold value for each item based upon all of these different considerations.

A new deadline was given for identifying specific faculty to talk to about LE issues and that's that needs a lot more time to evaluate that and to staff that. So that's waiting till July 2022.

Dr. Harrington's quote here as the accountable leader: "Our collaborations included the Senior Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Clinical Sciences years 3 and 4, Assistant Dean for assessments, LEAC members and communications team."

Lots of collaboration. Thank you. Dan and the LEAC group.

Implementation Drivers - described below. Also included a shot of Dani Backus, Senior Director for Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation

Implementation Drivers

  • Planning (organizational resources)
  • Communication with stakeholders
  • New or improved business processes
  • Revised policies and standards of operation
  • Departmental updates and works-in-progress presentations
  • Modified task schedule
  • Regular unit reviews and updates
  • Collaboration (across units, VT, Carilion Clinic, and VTCSOM)

Conclusion

Our accountable leaders have noted several important drivers of their success in implementing the taskforce recommendations. Collaboration is the most important theme across units in the medical school at Virginia Tech and Carilion. 

We communicate with stakeholders regularly, including quarterly updates of our progress to our deans and chairs, Employees, Student Leadership, Diversity Council, Community Engagement Council. Just to be sure everyone's up to date on a quarterly basis. We hear works in progress reports from our academic department chairs on a rotating basis each month. And we're applying new processes, policies, and organizational resources to support these efforts.

One of our lead drivers of this process is Dani Backus who reaches out and connects our accountable leaders, coordinates how we track our progress. Thanks again Dani, for all the wonderful coordination that you provide us for this and other aspects of our high-priority items in the medical school. 

Final slide which includes a collage of graphics from the taskforce page, the text on our diversity, equity, and inclusion page (read by Dr. Learman below), and shows the four Higher Education Excellence in Diversity awards earned by the medical school for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021

Our progress reinforces how important shared accountability is to our success. We have been incredibly impressed by the work of faculty and staff in the dean's office, academic departments, clerkship directors, community members, students, and our wonderful DEI team. Our new VTC School of Medicine strategic plan that you will hear about shortly, includes a statement of our values. And one of these value sets also appears on the DEI website, the diversity equity inclusion value statement.

We commit to being a continuous learning organization that recognizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competency as essential to excellence.  While affirming our common humanity, we expect our learners, staff, and faculty to be sensitive to and respectful of the inherent dignity and worth of each individual in our community.  We embrace innovation in the pursuit of a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment that values open expression and mutual respect so that all may thrive.

As we continue to work diligently on implementing the task force recommendations, we should all feel uplifted that our improvement efforts have been acknowledged as a top health profession school for diversity with a HEED Award for three years in a row. In a very short while, we will be able to officially announce that our streak has continued. It’s still embargoed for a little bit.

While we appreciate this recognition of our efforts, it will be important to track our diversity outcomes as well.

More on that in the next segment of our Town Hall. 

Wrap up

So what I'd like to do here is stop and take any questions and then I'll go ahead and we'll move on with Drs. Musick and Pauly, co-chairs of our strategic planning task force, who will then present their introduction of the strategic plan.

But because we have some time, now before we're halfway through the session, Let's let me stop sharing and see if we've got any questions. You can put them in the chat if you'd prefer.

And I should add that a lot of the materials that you'll use when we present this evening will be added to our DEI website and perhaps other places on the web, just as we have in the past.

So anyone who wants to go back and take a look at some of the details that we've presented is happy to do so. If you need any clarification.

And if you'd like more information on the fullness will say the fullness and complexity of the report. You can go back to the March materials* as well if you'd like to take a more careful look at any of the recommendations.

*VT credentials required to access March 2021 update