Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., named dean of the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville this January, participated in a panel discussion at the emergency department’s grand rounds on diversity. Looking forward, he said, in addition to an overall focus on diversity, he will have a particular focus on examining if there are gender inequalities in pay and the uneven proportion of leadership positions held by women in Jacksonville.
“Getting rid of these inequities and promoting diversity and inclusion is an active sport,” he said.
Marcus Martin, M.D., senior vice president and chief diversity officer for the University of Virginia, also participated in the emergency department panel discussion. Martin was named the first African-American chair of an academic emergency department in the nation. For decades, he’s worked to make the University of Virginia an inclusive environment. He’s accomplished this through improving admission practices, starting an alumni fund centered on equity and access, and co-authoring works like “Diversity and Inclusion in Quality Patient Care,” published by Springer last year.
“Medical education must address the attitudes and knowledge gaps that perpetuate cultural barriers,” he said. “We found diversity equals excellence.”
Adrian Tyndall, M.D., chair of the UF College of Medicine department of emergency medicine, organized Celebration of Diversity Week with the Office for Diversity and Health Equity to stimulate conversation and action across the college.
“How does our institution truly value diversity? It was a week to start crucial conversations,” he said. “We know disparities in health care persist, regardless of our best efforts. When we look at the workforce in academic medicine, there has been progress, but it’s still lacking in terms of numbers of unrepresented faculty. It’s important to make people aware of how diversity, or the lack thereof, impacts equity and outcomes.”
Celebration of Diversity Week culminated Saturday evening with the College of Medicine’s annual Emerald Ball, which was established nearly 15 years ago by UF medical students to provide accepted minority students an opportunity to learn more about the college in an effort to encourage their enrollment.
UF College of Medicine Dean Michael L. Good, M.D., welcomed the college’s potential students and others, including special guest speaker Freeman Hrabowski III, Ph.D., president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Hrabowski’s work with the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, a pipeline to increase diversity in science and engineering undergraduate programs, has produced more than 1,000 graduates. The College Board’s National Task Force on Minority High Achievement called Hrabowski’s program a model for campuses across the nation.
“As we prepare the health care leaders of tomorrow, we must create a climate that fosters belonging, connection and value for all,” Good said.