Godley working to increase diversity throughout UNC School of Medicine

In January, Paul Godley, MD, PhD, MPP, was named the UNC School of Medicine’s first Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. In this role, he leads the new Office of Inclusive Excellence. Godley’s role will focus on increasing diversity across the School of Medicine at the student, resident and faculty level.

Godley working to increase diversity throughout UNC School of Medicine	click to enlarge Paul Godley, MD, PhD, MPP

In January, Paul Godley, MD, PhD, MPP, was named the UNC School of Medicine’s first Vice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. In this role, he leads the new Office of Inclusive Excellence.

Godley’s role will focus on increasing diversity across the School of Medicine at the student, resident and faculty level.

The UNC School of Medicine has, over the last several years, established itself as a national leader in diversity amongst the student body. In fact, UNC ranks in the 99th percentile nationally for the number of African American graduates and one-third of the UNC SOM Class of 2020 come from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in medicine.

“We have been successful in recruiting a diverse student body, so now we need to translate that success to residents and, ultimately, faculty,” Godley says. “That’s the goal we are working toward.”

It is important, Godley says, to foster diversity along the full pipeline from medical students to residents and ultimately through to faculty. An emphasis will be placed on increasing the number of residents and faculty members from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine and also on providing a supportive and inclusive environment that colleagues will recommend to one another as a “destination of choice.”

“It is important to create an environment that will draw people in, and so when our residents and faculty are at conferences and national meetings they will speak highly of UNC, which will only increase future recruitment,” Godley said.

The Office of Inclusive Excellence is in the “ramping up” stage – identifying faculty and staff who can fill needs within the Office for Program Evaluation, Faculty Recruitment, and Data Analysis as well as developing a Diversity Strategic Plan for the School of Medicine. Assistance to departments will include providing guidance on tools and strategies they can implement to foster diversity, including training resources related to unconscious bias.

Plans are currently underway to develop a cadre of trainers across the School to provide Unconscious Bias training. These individuals will be trained by Cook Ross, AAMC’s provider for Unconscious Bias training, to deliver a two-hour course which explores how Unconscious Biases develop, how they influence perceptions and decision making, and their impact on institutions diversity and inclusion efforts. In addition, an on-site expert in the field will be available for more customized experiences. 

A group of faculty led by Wendy Brewster, MD, PhD, Director, Center for Women’s Health Research, will serve as a Faculty Diversity Council. The group will meet monthly, review current and future programs, discuss areas for improvement and how to address them, and be a strong voice and presence for the faculty.

Godley will make recommendations regarding committees and other initiatives that should have broader representation from those underrepresented in medicine. Importantly, the Office of Inclusive Excellence will employ internal consultants to work directly with faculty search committees to ensure the most inclusive candidate pools, develop diversity-related resources specifically for recruiting and work as a liaison with counterparts in the UNC Health Care System and at the University.

The Office of Inclusive Excellence will bring several initiatives that promote diversity under one umbrella. Those efforts include Carolina First Look, which offers medical students experiences that will encourage them to consider applying to residency programs at UNC Medical Center. The Larry D. Keith Visiting Scholars Program provides a stipend and mentoring to around ten students per year who visit Carolina during their “away” rotations. Back to Carolina fosters lasting connections to alumni from underrepresented groups, inviting them back for events, as lecturers, or visiting scholars. These initiatives are led by Hugh Smith, the associate director of the Office of Inclusive Excellence.

Evaluation of current and future programs is key to determining the success of this effort. The Office employs an evaluator who is in the process of developing metrics to measure the success of the Carolina First Look program, which is now in its fourth year.

“We have a lot of people within the School of Medicine who are interested in supporting our existing efforts and creating new ones, my job will be to make sure every one of these programs is strategically aligned,” Godley said. To that end, he has put together a Diversity Leadership Team with representatives from each area where diversity and inclusion programming is currently being provided. The goal for this group is to share information, ideas and create synergy amongst the programs.

The Office will put together an Annual Report to include data on where we stand in relation to diversity and inclusion metrics in comparison to our peers and prior years. Expect the initial baseline report in 2018.

Many efforts are in the development phase, and will be rolling out in the coming months. To stay informed, please visit the Office of Inclusive Excellence’s website and check Vital Signs for further news, or opt-in to the mailing list to receive periodic updates.

 

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