David Geffen School of Medicine joins Anti-Racist Transformation in Medical Education Project
“The David Geffen School of Medicine is relatively well resourced in the anti-racism space, but those resources, financial and otherwise, are not sufficient for bringing about transformational change,” says Julian McNeil, M.S. Ed, program manager of the Anti-Racism Roadmap at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
“What we’ve learned and what we’ve seen is that while we have the support of many senior leaders, moving the needle in key areas is difficult. Making progress will require us to engage in continued professional learning related to organization development and change management – drawing on scientific research and evidence-based practices in these fields.”
DGSOM’s selection for participation in the three-year Anti-Racist Transformation in Medical Education (ART in Med Ed) program, one of just 11 medical schools chosen, is a milestone in its journey toward anti-racism.
Sponsored by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, in partnership with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, ART in Med Ed replicates a model developed by the Icahn School to dismantle systemic racism and bias in academic medicine.
The program aims to mitigate racism in the learning and work environment of medical schools through a formal management change process that is “lifelong, people-centered, incremental and nonlinear,” according to the program website.
“Mount Sinai has been a leader in anti-racism work and organizational development,” says Eraka Bath, MD, associate professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the vice chair for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute at DGSOM. “The selection of the DGSOM is a feather in our cap that affirms the work that we’re doing, and will also allow us to operationalize these efforts with another layer of structure.”
Dr. Bath says the opportunity will “give us more scaffolding to make sure we embed transformation at the different levels of the organization.”
Building lasting results
As part of DGSOM’s application to this three-year intensive program, senior leadership and students submitted letters of support. Dr. Kelsey Martin, former dean of DGSOM wrote a letter of recommendation on behalf of the institution. Additionally, leaders of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, Latino Medical Student Association, Muslim Student Union and other student groups, co-signed a letter of support.
McNeil says the program marries well with the work that’s already been done through the Anti-Racism Roadmap and Cultural North Star.
“When I started here a year ago, I was really impressed with the medical school’s commitment to anti-racism and the Anti-Racism Roadmap. I thought the content of the roadmap was ambitious, and I recognized that we didn’t quite know how to reach some of the stated goals,” McNeil says.
He calls the Anti-Racism Roadmap the “what” and the ART in Med Ed program the “how” of anti-racism work and accountability.
“The Anti-Racism Roadmap spells out what we would like to accomplish, like increased data transparency and diverse representation within search committees,” he says. “The (ART in Med Ed) program will help us build institutional and individual capacity to actualize this work so that the impact lasts for a very long time.”
ART in Med Ed uses an interactive virtual learning platform to engage in experiential learning, assessments, outcome and performance monitoring sessions and coaching. The goal is to move beyond knowledge transfer to promote change that is systemic, adaptive and enduring.
This work will be led by two groups named at each medical school – the Cohort and the Guiding Coalition.
The interprofessional Cohort of 15 faculty and staff was nominated by the initial steering committee to align in mission and skillset with the work already under way.
In early 2022, it will expand to include a Guiding Coalition. This broader group will be made up of students, trainees, staff and faculty to help coordinate and facilitate change efforts.
Addressing historical hurt
Dr. Bath says while there’s been tremendous goodwill and commitment to the anti-racist work, there is historical hurt in the community.
“Out of all the UC Health campuses, we are the largest but I feel like we’ve lagged behind in terms of some of the antiracism work. We’re still dogged by the Moreno report, she says.”
The Moreno Report, an internal review launched by Chancellor Gene Block in 2012 and updated in 2021, found that university policies on race and discrimination were insufficient.
“Even though we’ve made some efforts, we need to make sure they are cohesive. This national forum for accountability will help move us in the right direction,” Dr. Bath says.
Health systems, medical education and biomedical research are rooted in abuses against Black and brown communities – such as the legacy of Henrietta Lacks’ cells, the Tuskegee syphilis trials and repeated forced sterilization of Black, Latino and Indigenous peoples, and lack of people of color in biomedical research.
To eliminate such ingrained structures, medical education and the health care systems at large must partake in transformational change. Dr. Bath says she is optimistic about this work and through the accountability this program offers, she believes the structure and organizational development models will provide DGSOM an opportunity to transform its culture.
McNeil agrees. “I want us to become an organization where everybody owns this work,” he says.
- Eraka Bath, MD, senior adviser to the Anti-Racism Roadmap
- Medell Briggs-Malonson, MD, MPH, chief of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Enrico Castillo, MD, MSHPM, associate director of Residency Education, faculty lead and Community & Global Psychiatry, Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior
- Stephanie Fisher, MA, chief administrative officer for Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
- Mark Grichanik, PhD, MA, director of Program Evaluation
- Charles Hajek, MBA, executive director of Finance
- Christina Harris, MD, assistant designated institutional officer for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Graduate Medical Education
- Daniel Kozman, MD, MPH, assistant dean for Justice, Equity and Diversity Inclusion
- Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, professor and chief of Internal Medicine-Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine
- David McIntosh, PhD, MA, vice dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Julian McNeil, M.S. Ed., program manager of the Anti-Racism Roadmap
- Gerardo Moreno, MD, MPH, interim chair of Department of Family Medicine
- Catherine Nameth, PhD, director of Faculty Professional Development
- Mikel Whittier, DBA, director of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Learn more about the Anti-Racist Transformation in Medical Education program.