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President’s Commission on Racial Justice

Transforming Campus Culture

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President's Commission on Racial Justice 
PCOM Office of the President

The President’s Commission on Racial Justice: Transforming Campus Culture was appointed by President Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81, in July 2020 to advance PCOM’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. The Commission will identify strategic priorities and initiatives that align with the new PCOM 2025 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan. Each work group represents faculty, staff, and students from PCOM (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), PCOM Georgia (Suwanee, Georgia) and PCOM South Georgia (Moultrie, Georgia).

The Commission is comprised of work groups charged with the following:

  • Gather information and data.
  • Engage in thoughtful conversations to identify priorities and initiatives.
  • Develop recommendations to advance work group priorities.
  • Develop action steps and timeline.

Work group co-chairs will provide status updates at the monthly President’s Commission meetings. 

Work Groups

Underrepresented Minorities in Healthcare Student Recruitment

Chair, Adrianne Jones, Chief Admissions Officer
Purpose:
  • Increase Admission of Black and other URiM Students.
  • Expand pipeline programs at the secondary and undergraduate educational levels through affiliations with minority serving institutions and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
  • Provide annual progress reports on strategies implemented for this goal.
  • Provide a space for affinity groups to speak with applicants (i.e. provide a space for URiM applicants to speak specifically with URiM students on interview day).
  • Create a contemporary definition of URiM for the purpose of admissions that is based on available, up-to-date regional and state demographic information.
  • Offer more minority-based scholarships (not in lieu of the financial needs-based scholarships).
WORK GROUP PRESENTATION [PDF]
Work group activities to date include:
  • Working to ensure recruitment efforts for underrepresented minorities is present across all programs.
  • Joining a pilot initiative with AACOM to embed artificial intelligence in an attempt to refine identification of candidates to interview who will matriculate.
  • Using the (HARP) Holistic Admissions Review Process to learn about applications that may have been overlooked.
  • Establishing a pathway analyst position to create processes for events and agreements as part of admissions efforts to establish additional affiliate agreements with historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions or minority serving institutions.
  • Increasing awareness of implicit bias specific to admissions.
  • Collaborating with marketing to build opportunities for recruitment.
  • Ensuring admissions staff are trained on implicit bias and microaggression.
  • Reviewing admissions interview questions for feedback centered on any bias.
  • Offering more scholarships for underrepresented minorities.
  • Consulting with Institutional Research to develop a report of our current application pool for FY 20-21 to benchmark the pool that reflects our efforts to recruit more underrepresented minority candidates.

Underrepresented Minority Faculty Recruitment and Retention

Chair, Christina Mazzella, Chief Human Resource Officer
Purpose:
  • Commit to hiring and retaining more Black faculty across all graduate programs (lecturers, course directors, admissions committee members, OMM, advisors) and guest lecturers, in addition to providing competitive and fair compensation for these Black faculty and guest lecturers.
  • Collect and document current demographic data across all programs.
  • Create minority outreach plan; research best practices.
  • Monitor all search committees to include diverse interviewees.
  • Document postings of faculty and administrative positions in diverse publications for each search.
  • Create recruitment and retention plan; develop metrics to measure progress.
Work group activities to date include:
  • Continuing to focus on strategies to retain faculty.
  • Researching institutional progress to date regarding the progression of work around underrepresented minority faculty recruitment.
  • Intensely and intentionally recruiting underrepresented minorities.
  • Examining ratio between student and employee underrepresented minorities.
  • Looking at retention numbers to examine the diversity of PCOM employees and promotion trends.
  • Researching a stipend program to address equity among faculty.
  • Developing job descriptions to attract more underrepresented minorities.

Bias and Discrimination Reporting and Support Plan

Chair, Isaiah Lopez, Legal Affairs
Purpose:
  • Establish a bias report and support system that allows for members of the PCOM community to anonymously report incidents of implicit bias, microaggressions and explicit racism perpetrated by faculty and guest lecturers, staff or students without fear of retribution or retaliation.
  • Develop a mechanism to follow up with the reporter to inform of the actions being taken to resolve the incident.
Work group activities to date include:
  • Reviewing standard operating procedures for reporting and responding to incidents.
  • Communicating protocols regarding bias and discrimination reporting with College community.
  • Working on a communication strategy to share current progress with the PCOM community.
  • Identifying and working to address the need to create more transparency and integrity with the PCOM community.

Culturally Responsive/Racial Justice Curriculum

Chair, Linda Adkison, Associate Provost
Purpose:
  • Integrate a cultural competency course into the medical education curriculum that includes training and programmatic material mandated for all students and faculty.
  • Provide students with knowledge and understanding of social, cultural and economic factors that affect the health of our patients in order to fulfill our ethical obligations as physicians.
    • Race-based medicine and its evolution (Interprofessional Education - IPE).
    • The historical use of biological race as the perpetuation of health disparities in minorities
  • Reconstruct clinical lectures, OMM course and PCS labs to include more information about how various disease states present in diverse patients. Medical education in all courses, including the labs of OMM and PCS, should use inclusive descriptors that are representative of the diverse society in which we live and the patients we will treat in the near future.
  • Dedicate Interprofessional Education (IPE) sessions to learning and conversing more about racial discrepancies in the healthcare field.
Work group activities to date include:
  • Identifying program standards that embed cultural competence.
  • Identifying the need for diversity across faith and invited students from various religious communities to provide insight.
  • Working to develop a curriculum map of what is currently being taught regarding diversity in order to identify gaps and develop a roadmap to address needs.
  • Identifying need to offer faculty DEI education.
  • Working to develop a DEI statement for syllabi that invites students to offer suggestions for course improvement.
  • Reviewing accreditation standards across all programs to assess how each is meeting DEI standards. 
  • Developing, distributing and analyzing surveys in order to provide recommendations for faculty development.

Underrepresented Minorities in Healthcare Student Retention Plan

Chair, Patience Mason, Chief Student Affairs Officer
Purpose:
  • Organize URM-in medicine focus groups. Hold focus groups that not only bring together minority students but bring minority students together with faculty and administration that can promote ongoing dialog at least 1-2 times a term.
  • Investigate disparities in remediation/SPEC meetings; investigate why there is a trend for Black students and other students of color to repeat specific courses.
  • Address student stress and emotional and psychological well-being.
  • Expand access to mental health resources.
Work group activities to date include:
  • Working to create opportunities for students to connect with mentors and allies.
  • Working to determine the number of students dismissed or given the ability to restart.
  • Reviewing data on student diversity enrollment and withdrawals in order to determine root cause of withdrawals.
  • Planning to recruit an underrepresented minority counselor to respond to the high demand of underrepresented minority students, in particular males of color.
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