How diverse are we?

The CoM does not have comprehensive equity information for all of its faculty and academic leadership. This information is needed in order for us to assess whether we are living up to our values and principles focused on diversity and inclusion.

Among the CoM values we are committed to:

  • fairness and equitable treatment
  • inclusiveness

Among the CoM principles we believe in:

  • different ways of knowing, learning and being
  • diversity, equality and human dignity
  • reconciliation

Initially, due to the timeline for accreditation reporting requirements related to UGME accreditation element 3.3, we will gather data on representation among our faculty and academic leadership of three groups: visible minorities, women, and people of Indigenous ancestry. It is important to note that this is a first step in responding to the feedback of our accreditors with regard to diversity, which included their finding that we have no mechanism currently to measure diversity among our leadership and faculty.

The requirement for accreditation is outlined in the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) language in standard 3 and delineated in element 3.3 within that standard. I share some brief content from both here:

Standard 3: Academic and Learning Environments
A medical school ensures that its medical education program occurs in professional, respectful, and intellectually stimulating academic and clinical environments, recognizes the benefits of diversity, and promotes students’ attainment of competencies required of future physicians.

3.3 Diversity/Pipeline Programs and Partnerships
A medical school in accordance with its social accountability mission has effective policies and practices in place, and engages in ongoing, systematic, and focused recruitment and retention activities, to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes among its students, faculty, senior academic and educational leadership, and other relevant members of its academic community. These activities include the appropriate use of effective policies and practices, programs or partnerships aimed at achieving diversity among qualified applicants for medical school admission and the evaluation of policy and practices, program or partnership outcomes.

In alignment with USask priorities, we will also gather data on persons with disabilities among these two groups. The data will be gathered over the next few months using a short, four-question survey distributed by email this week to all individuals on the CoM faculty and in academic leadership positions.

We will aim for the highest possible participation in this survey, and with that in mind will be providing reminders and updates on the survey and participation levels from now until late April, when the survey will close.

Initially, we will make use of the survey results in preparing the report due to the CACMS in December 2019 for element 3.3, but the data will also become part of ongoing record keeping and data collection on diversity at the CoM.

Going forward, we will be expanding the diversity categories to be more inclusive. As well, we will continue to work in alignment with the university on diversity goals across our entire college community. We will rely on data we collect to support decision making and help us determine where we will focus our efforts.

We’ve made progress in many areas of diversity, and we have people on our team who have been leaders in this area for many years, who we thank and continue to rely on for guidance. Members of our Indigenous Health Committee are a clear example. Still, much needs to be done.

I ask that all of our academic leaders and faculty members take a few minutes to complete the survey when it reaches you later this week. Did I mention that it is very short? Only four questions that will take only a minute or two to complete! It’s a further important step towards being a more diverse and inclusive college. And while this work supports accreditation requirements and university priorities, most importantly our path to greater diversity and inclusion aligns with our values as a college.