Aug. 31, 2022 — In the medical field, providing high-quality, personalized and equitable patient care is a top priority. Expanding diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, efforts is one path the University of Florida College of Medicine is taking to help teach the next generation and facilitate the best health care possible.
Under the leadership of Donna M. Parker, M.D. ’90, associate dean for diversity and health equity, the college is engaging all its branches with DEI on a structural level by creating a network of faculty diversity liaisons representing and serving every department. The project is part of the diversity, inclusion and health care equity pillar of the college’s strategic plan, launched by Dean Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., in December.
“Many important decisions are made at the departmental level, so, in keeping with that structure, I thought it was important for departments to each have a representative,” Parker said. “We are not one-size-fits-all. We have a lot of stakeholders who will benefit from this.”
For students, she said, a sense of belonging is fostered in an inclusive learning environment. Resident and faculty recruitment and retention is also bolstered when colleagues understand each other. Educating providers at all levels in culturally competent care will help build a healthier nation.
“We are really preparing our learners and our peers to better care for patients from all backgrounds and walks of life,” Parker said.
Selected by their department chairs, the diversity liaisons will serve on departmental leadership teams and collaborate across the college to promote and celebrate workplace diversity and inclusion, as well as advance health care equity and access. As a network, they will also work with the Office for Diversity and Health Equity and other college DEI champions, including students, staff, residents, fellows and alumni, to advise the dean’s office on relevant issues and continue to refine the college’s strategic priorities.