Wayne State School of Medicine Working to Add Diversity to Department

The School of Medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit convened a new committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion to develop strategies and tools to further increase diversity in the student body to better reflect the city of Detroit.
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Wayne State Medical school building
The Wayne State School of Medicine has formed a committee to help create a student body that better represents the city of Detroit. // Photo courtesy of Wayne State School of Medicine

The School of Medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit convened a new committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion to develop strategies and tools to further increase diversity in the student body to better reflect the city of Detroit.

This move is one of the six key pillars of the school’s strategic plan, says Dr. Wael Sakr, dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

The committee, consisting of 36 faculty members, students, staff, and community members, , met Dec. 13. Some of the key points of the committee’s charge includes:

  • Collect and aggregate historical statistics on diversity in the School of Medicine.
  • Develop and implement a plan to support the success of graduates of the post-baccalaureate program.
  • Re-examine the admissions process and implement a plan to recruit a medical school class that better reflects the city of Detroit.
  • Develop and implement a hiring plan for tenure-track and tenured faculty that prioritizes hiring faculty members whose research, teaching, community engagement and student support efforts focus on the Black community, which aligns with the university’s cluster hire in Black Studies. This includes redoubling efforts to recruit clinical faculty who better reflect the city, and implementing proactive strategies to support the development, retention, and promotion of diverse faculty.
  • Develop and implement a plan across the School of Medicine that promotes the hiring of a diverse workforce.

“We have an ambitious timetable for this vital mission,” says Sakr. “The committee includes diverse representation from across the medical school and our community friends, ensuring a majority membership of those who are underrepresented in medicine. They bring a comprehensive range of individual expertise, years of experience and fields of specialty.”

The committee’s mission is to develop a road map, complete with strategies and tactics, to achieve the targets of the School of Medicine charge, thereby enhancing the school’s diversity, particularly among students and faculty.

The factors to be analyzed include:

• Review and understand current status, numbers, data and trends of diversity.
• Assess the experience of being at the School of Medicine from a DEI perspective.
• Review available data and feedback from those recruited from underrepresented in medicine populations who chose not to join the School of Medicine as students, faculty or staff.
• Evaluate marketing and recruitment approaches, and tools within the DEI domain.
• Assess the School of Medicine’s effectiveness in mentoring and retaining faculty in underrepresented in medicine populations.
• Define the effective management structure for the DEI mission and the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
• Identify the needed resources and support to achieve the stated goals and align the targets with the strategic plans of the school and the university.
• Monitor the progress and adapt a data-driven assessment to adjust approaches as needed.