Washington University School of Medicine is committed to the recruitment, retention and professional development of a diverse faculty.
This commitment is reflected among the core goals of the Office of Faculty Affairs, headed by Diana Gray, MD, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, headed by Sherree Wilson, PhD. These include
- Striving for a consistent, supportive working environment, framed by appropriate guidance and mentorship, to sustain all faculty members in achieving their full professional potential.
- Enhancing communication between administration and faculty, including facilitation of understanding of institutional policies, procedures and roles and national issues of interest related to faculty professional development.
- Promoting a gender-neutral environment, which includes increased representation of women on the faculty, particularly at the most senior levels.
- Working toward a substantial increase in faculty diversity at all levels through increased recruitment, retention and advancement of underrepresented ethnic minorities.
In 2005 the School of Medicine launched a wide-reaching initiative to encourage departments to hire and retain faculty from diverse backgrounds. The effort goes hand in hand with a Barnes-Jewish Hospital strategy that aims to recruit more residents and fellows from underrepresented groups.
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Faculty Diversity Scholars Program
The Faculty Diversity Scholars Program, created by the Faculty Diversity Committee and Larry J. Shapiro, MD, former dean of the School of Medicine, includes an incentive plan for departments to recruit faculty from minority groups.
“The growing cultural diversity of America is a phenomenon that will reshape the practice of medicine in the 21st century and beyond. We are responding to the changing demographics of this nation and the increasing health needs of our own community by improving our enrollment of students and the recruitment of faculty from underrepresented groups,” Shapiro said. Since its inception seventeen scholars have been recruited.
Minority faculty at Washington University have embraced this sense of ”family” and collective mentoring, reflected in informal socials and networking events at the home of Will Ross, MD, MPH, associate dean for diversity.
A faculty directory is maintained to facilitate contacts and networking among faculty and medical trainees. Faculty members are encouraged to update their contact information.
Programs to Increase Diversity in Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE)
Our Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) is an all-expense-paid research training opportunity sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This mentored program will address the difficulties experienced by junior investigators in establishing independent research programs and negotiating through the academic ranks. The desired outcome is to improve the recruitment and retention of faculty from disabled and underrepresented minority groups in the study of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.
The all-expense-paid program focusing on cardiovascular genetic epidemiology brings participants to the university for 3-week sessions during two consecutive summers, with a short mid-year visit and an annual workshop/conference for all PRIDE mentees and mentors across 6 programs and the NHLBI.
The PRIDE program provides mentor-mentee partnerships with matching based on common research interests. The mentors are experienced in research and grant writing and will offer long-term collaborations.
The didactic curriculums involve faculty and mentors from multiple disciplines with various levels of hands-on training. Special emphasis is placed on developing grantsmanship skills, with mentors assisting mentees one-on-one to develop specific research projects and improve long-term fundability.
NHLBI scientific program staff will provide a grants workshop to assist mentees with project focus and to identify viable funding sources to promote a sustainable independent research program for career advancement.