2016 Diversity and Inclusion Retreat

The Department of Medicine held its inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Retreat on November 1, 2016 at Cavallo Point in Sausalito. Sixty-one members of the Department and distinguished guests met to build community, review the recommendations of the DOM Diversity Task Force, and create discrete, implementable, action items to increase diversity and inclusion within the Department.

Beth Harleman, Associate Chair for Strategic Planning and Implementation, welcomed guests and introduced department chair Bob Wachter. Bob opened the program by emphasizing that increasing diversity and inclusion are important priorities for the Department and part of our mission as a state institution. He expressed appreciation to the retreat participants for devoting the day to help us cultivate a more diverse staff, training program and faculty.

Beth Harleman next shared current diversity statistics of the Department, and how we are less diverse than the patients we serve. For example, in 2016, we have 2% African American faculty and 5% Hispanic faculty in a state where Hispanics make-up almost 38% and African-Americans are 6.2% of the population.

The program next followed with an inspiring talk given by Michelle Albert, who reflected on her personal journey as a black women in academic cardiovascular medicine. She was followed by Meshell Johnson who gave a much appreciated overview of the School of Medicine’s Differences Matter initiative. She noted the numerous members of the Department who are leaders in the initiative and spoke specifically about the focus area she leads, together with Alicia Fernandez and Malcolm John, on identifying and addressing health care disparities in the UCSF clinical environment.

Participants then broke up into small groups to brainstorm ideas and provide solutions the following questions:

  1. Understand the problem: What do you think are the biggest barriers to diversity and inclusion in our department?
  2. Understand root cause: What’s underneath those problems? What do you think are the root causes underlying the problems that have been identified?
  3. Identify strategies, solutions, insights, ideas: What ideas/ strategies do we have to address some of the root causes that were identified?

After lunch Bob Wachter moderated a panel of three speakers who summarized key proposals to increase diversity and inclusion. They were:

  1. Carmen Peralta, "Diversity in Superstar Researchers": a proposal to create intentional, multifaceted and expert mentorship committees for UIM junior faculty
  2. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, "Creating an Academic Physician Scientist Track in the DOM": a plan to identify, cultivate and support future UIM academic physician researchers at the medical school level through to faculty positions
  3. Sarah Schaeffer, "Dean’s Diversity Fund Award, John A. Watson Scholarship": a reflection on the pivotal role of financial support in promoting and sustaining the careers of UIM academic physicians

Then the participants moved into several small groups focused upon key areas of the Diversity Task Force report along with several others generated during the day: financial investment, promoting diversity through leadership, recruitment and retention including mentorship, strengthening internal and external community partnerships, cultivating a culture of equity and inclusion and "quick wins." Retreat participants generated a number of outstanding project ideas that will be further developed for implementation. The day concluded with an opportunity to indicate interest in working in DOM diversity leadership going forward, and we invite all in the Department with an interest to contact Beth Harleman at elizabeth.harleman@ucsf.edu.

A special thanks members of the Diversity Task Force who were retreat facilitators: Lukejohn Day, Antonio Gomez, Meshell Johnson, Kate Lupton, Gina Moreno-John, Carla Perissinotto and Sarah Schaeffer.