With focus and determination, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences continues its journey to create a more inclusive University environment for all faculty, students and staff. The University Chief Executive Officer and President reconstituted the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee for action – to facilitate policies, guidelines, and programs that support the University’s commitment to developing exceptional practitioners where all students, faculty, and staff have a sense of belonging.
The IDEA Committee is excited about its progress and learnings to date. The following are some highlights:
- Hosted Ten Town Hall Meetings: with 150 students and 170 employees in attendance. Participants shared meaningful ideas and key messages in areas that would improve our organization, such as addressing racial issues; embedding diversity and inclusion into our DNA and identity; facilitating greater comprehension of diversity and cultural competence in academics and the work environment, increasing outreach to prospective students from different backgrounds, and understanding the cultural differences and social economics challenges of our students and community .
- USAHS Board of Directors and Leadership Engagement: The IDEA Committee provided an overview and presentation of findings and recommended next steps to the Board of Directors. The Committee closely coordinated with the University Executive Committee to assess the current climate, establish actionable plans and obtain resources.
- IDEA Guiding Principles: The IDEA Committee recognizes the need to uphold clear guiding principles. This centered approach will allow us to gain traction that results in meaningful change. Our strategy and initiatives will be:
- Focused on our mission to develop professional health care practitioners that are prepared to serve all patients and their families,
- Grounded in USAHS values of professionalism, integrity, collaboration, and creative and critical thinking, and
- Aligned with our BCorp Certification which measures positive impact on our workers, customers and community while meeting the highest standards
- Initial Action through Education Offerings: More than 2,438 students have completed the Online DEI training along with the pre- and post-evaluation. Also, the IDEA Committee partnered with the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation to launch and complete the “Cultural Competence in Healthcare Expert Exchange Series.” It featured discussions on the following topics:
- Cultural Competence for Future Clinicians
- Disparities in healthcare Among Underrepresented Populations
- How Clinical Providers Can Provide Better Treatment and Care to Underrepresented Populations
- Advocacy Outside Clinical Practice: How to Promote Equality and Access
- 90-Day Plan: A comprehensive plan has been developed to ensure we maintain momentum
- IDEA Working Groups: Having reflected on lessons learned and prioritized high impact opportunities, the IDEA Committee will appoint the following working groups:
- Competency and Curriculum: Identify IDEA competencies to develop, review existing content, and recommend education strategies to foster an inclusive culture and prepare our students to deliver culturally competent services.
- Talent Management and Faculty/Student Recruitment: Review existing processes, demographics, and best practices to develop recommendations to embed equity-driven processes; establish community partnerships to continue to grow talent pool and student enrollment.
- Culture, Communications, and Work Environment: Recommend assessments to identify current state of the University culture and develop IDEA long-term strategy to build an inclusive, safe work environment, academic learning space, and implement a communications strategy.
- Learning and Development: Design and implement IDEA awareness and education training to develop capacity in staff, faculty, and students to build an inclusive work and academic learning environment.
Advancing racial equity and building a long-term strategy for Inclusion-Diversity-Equity-Access to foster belonging and respectful encounters for all students, faculty and staff can only be accomplished if you get involved.
For more information and to learn about opportunities to get involved, please contact the Committee at IDEA@usa.edu.