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Diversity, equity and inclusion pillar added to UMass Chan strategic plan

UMass Chan Medical School has added a diversity, equity and inclusion pillar to its IMPACT 2025 Strategic Plan.

“When we created IMPACT 2025, diversity, equity and inclusion was intentionally incorporated into each of the five pillars as a reflection of our belief that DEI must be woven into and considered in everything that we do. However, we have come to recognize that targeted refinements can be extremely beneficial,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

At the White Coat Ceremony last fall, T.H. Chan School of Medicine
Class of 2024 students (from left), Jordan Dudley, Weaam Arman,
Natalie Sorial and Kassandra Jean-Marie pose for a photo.

IMPACT 2025 was launched two years ago with five pillars: Education, basic science research, translational research, community and global impact, and operational and financial stewardship, with the plan serving as “a roadmap for guiding our actions and a barometer to measure our progress,” said Chancellor Collins.

“We recognize that there has been great progress made in diversity, equity and inclusion here at UMass Chan and we’ve committed substantial resources in these areas, but there is more work to be done,” said Marlina Duncan, EdD, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion. 

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Implementation of this pillar includes clear benchmarks across five priority areas:

  • Culture and climate: Integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into the organization, ensuring that DEI is a priority, and develop and implement anti-racist and anti-bias inclusive policies and processes across the institution.
  • Curriculum: Implement and integrate anti-racist and anti-biased curriculum, enhance inclusive pedagogy and practices, and increase opportunities for expanding awareness and knowledge on matters of racism in medicine and the impact of structural racism in health care.
  • Education and engagement: Increase DEI education, engagement and capacity through professional development, community building and educational opportunities for all members of the UMass Chan community.
  • Equity within recruitment, retention and advancement: Establish a portfolio of programs that support recruitment, mentorship and advancement of underrepresented and marginalized individuals.
  • Improvement and accountability: Create an annual review process for evaluation and assessment of ongoing DEI initiatives and programs.

“The Diversity and Inclusion Office will coordinate the implementation of this pillar, and we are ready to support the development of goals and appropriate measures for departments and programs as they make new and creative commitments to diversity,” Dr. Duncan explained.

Like the overall strategic plan, building the diversity pillar will be a process that will take place in phases, with the first phase being preparation for change. To introduce and educate the UMass Chan community on diversity and on UMass Chan’s ambitious goals, the Diversity and Inclusion Office has selected 10 departments at UMass Chan to pilot action plans, including new methods of measuring each pilot department’s progress and forging a path for the departments to build on.

An increase in the presence of underrepresented groups through intentional recruitment, retention and graduation necessitated the creation of this pillar. A culture of collaboration and innovation will ensure goals are accomplished.

The Medical School acknowledges its diversity numbers are low and this pillar employs a campus wide effort to change it.

“Having DEI as its own pillar makes diversity, equity and inclusion central to our vision. This project is an effective way to move from good intentions to intentional efforts in DEI,” Duncan concluded.

The Diversity and Inclusion Office will share the progress of pilot groups including challenges and lessons learned.

Learn more about the diversity, equity and inclusion pillar.