Continuing our commitment to EDI

In this blog, I want to share more information about our plans and next steps for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the CoM. It’s an incredibly important focus for our college that requires our full commitment and effort now, and always. If we truly want to be the college of our values and principles, and we truly want to achieve our vision and mission, we must make changes to ensure there is real equity of opportunity, diversity across our full team, and respect for one another.

About three years ago, we established our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Working Group, composed of 16 individuals including the group’s chair, Chief Operating Officer Greg Power. Given the passage of time, we want to open that group up to others from among our staff, faculty and learners once again, from all corners of our college. In the next few weeks, I will be emailing all students, faculty and staff in the college inviting your interest. Current members of the group can also choose to remain and have been already communicated with in this regard.

This group will be using the soon-to-be-released USask EDI Strategy and Action Plan to develop a strategy specific for the College of Medicine.

Last year, we hired Dr. Erin Prosser-Loose as the college’s senior EDI specialist. She is developing an EDI web page for the college, and beyond, filled with information and resources that will go live in the next few weeks. We will share that new page link with you through E-News and social media as soon as it is live.

Erin is also leading development of a new CoM EDI survey to be issued this spring. It will serve multiple purposes:

  • baseline of where we’re at regarding representation of marginalized members of the college
  • perceptions of an inclusive culture
  • demographic data needed for accreditation

Data collected from this survey will allow our college and the D&I Working Group to focus our initiatives and resources. We will repeat the survey periodically to monitor progress and to ensure our accountability in areas where we are not improving. Findings will be reported college-wide and department-level data will be shared with respective departments, supporting their improvements, as well. Some departments have formed their own EDI committees or have EDI representatives, and the survey data will help inform their activities. Senior leaders of our college will review, discuss and plan improvements, based on the survey data. Significant power to implement change rests with this group.

Of course, I want to emphasize in advance that the survey will be anonymous, with strict methods in place to ensure no individuals can be identified, including setting a reporting requirement of a minimum of five respondents for each potentially identifying category (e.g., racialized people).

These are the next steps our college is taking over the next few months, of an ongoing commitment to EDI. As I’ve mentioned before in my blog and at various meetings, I and our college is committed to being a leader in medical education in this area.

I will continue, through my blog and other venues, to inform you of our ongoing work.

A few other important reminders:

  • If you have not done so already, be certain to complete the Cultural Safety/Competence Survey, which will inform the invaluable work of the Indigenous Health Committee in creating an appropriate and functional Indigenous health structure within the College of Medicine.
  • On February 12, USask On Campus News and our college will share a profile of Dr. Manuela Valle-Castro, director of the Division of Social Accountability, on our websites and social media channels. Manuela brings incredible expertise to our college, the work of that division and our ongoing work in antiracism and EDI.
  • The School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS), which resides within our college as most know, is holding a full accreditation visit March 29 to April 2, 2021. The team in SRS is working hard to prepare for that important milestone. Watch for more news on this and the school in the coming weeks and months.

We continue to work through the challenges of COVID-19 in 2021. I do hope all are staying well and staying safe through these difficult times.