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Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion works to create lasting institutional change within Dell Medical School itself, cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus environment and culture that advances equity.

The aim is to assure that everyone — especially people who have been historically marginalized — can fully participate in decision-making throughout Dell Med and equally benefit from and contribute to the institution.

Values

We define diversity as a commitment to valuing everyone’s contributions to our community. It is more than celebrating the dimensions of identity (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, place of origin, et al) or composing a body diverse in them; everyone must have the opportunity to equitably contribute to and benefit from Dell Med and its work.

In particular, racism continues to be a pervasive force that permeates our society and institutions. It creates systemic and structural power inequities based on dominant cultural norms to the detriment and exclusion of other cultural ways of being, knowing and expressing.

We believe that a diverse, inclusive culture deepens our intellectual environment and improves the academic experience, patient care and health, advancing equity.

We understand diversity as a necessary starting point in Dell Med’s mission to revolutionize how people get and stay healthy.

Our approach to medical education focuses on building leaders who are as comfortable taking on systemic challenges in health as they are caring for individual patients. Both competencies benefit from the perspective that comes with learning in a diverse and inclusive environment.

Sue Cox, M.D., Executive Vice Dean of Academics

Key Initiatives

Organizational Climate

In 2020, ODEI distributed a climate survey among students, faculty, staff and trainees to evaluate how they feel within the Dell Med environment. This survey — plus focus groups and meetings with various Dell Med stakeholders — provided the based for ODEI’s Strategic Action Plan. The plain aims to co-create a diverse, inclusive culture that deepens Dell Med’s intellectual environment and improves the academic experience, patient care and health, advancing equity.

Additionally, ODEI has developed and maintained groups within Dell Med to support students, faculty, residents and staff and foster a robust, diverse community. Some of the groups include:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council
  • Making Equity Standard in Healthcare (MESH)
  • Residents and Fellows for Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Queer Medical Association
  • Diversity, Climate and Engagement Committee
  • Women’s Leadership Council
  • Dell Med Group on Disabilities

ODEI is also part of Be Dell Med, a group working to support the Dell Med Culture Council.

Faculty & Staff Recruitment, Hiring & Retention

ODEI staff work with units and departments across Dell Med to support their efforts in recruitment and hiring. To facilitate this work, ODEI developed Recruitment and Hiring for Excellence guidelines that include evidence-based strategies for equitable, inclusive recruitment and hiring.

ODEI also offers implicit bias training related to recruitment and hiring, including search committees for leadership positions.

Health Professions Pipeline Programs

Revolutionizing how people get and stay healthy begins with investing in the future health leaders. ODEI’s mission is to make education, exposure and preparation for a career in health care, including medicine, accessible to all students. The office is driven to increase in this field the number of individuals from groups historically underrepresented in medicine.

ODEI has divided the work to increase access and opportunities for these students into three domains: explore, enrich and enhance.

Health Sciences Summer Camps: Middle and high school students from 12 Travis County school districts enjoy hands-on science experiments, interact with health professionals from various fields, spend time with outstanding camp counselors ⁠— and much more.

GeoHealth: Dell Med collaborates with the UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences to host a weeklong virtual summer camp for middle and high school students centered on the impacts of global and climate change on health. Scientists and health professionals present their work and expertise, and students participate in case-based activities to map out and apply critical thinking skills.

Austin Energy Regional Science Fair: ODEI provides the Future Health Leader Award to third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade student projects focused on health. Dell Med staff, faculty and students serve as judges for the award.

Health Through Science: Founded by Health Sciences Summer Camps students at Austin’s Liberal Arts and Science Academy, this program mentors elementary school students, helps them with science fair projects and educates them about preventable diseases. The program has since expanded to schools and districts outside of the academy.

Explore UT: ODEI works with Dell Med departments to showcase their work and expertise to students and families of the local community and beyond.

Health Sciences Summer Camps: Middle and high school students from 12 Travis County school districts enjoy hands-on science experiments, interact with health professionals from various fields, spend time with outstanding camp counselors ⁠— and much more.

Health Sciences Yearlong Academy: Health Sciences Summer Camp alumni (10th through 12th grade) are invited to participate in monthly Saturday sessions at Dell Med from September through May. The four-hour sessions cover topics such as college readiness, strategies for a successful mentor experience, general chemistry review and health professions guest speakers. Dell Med students program serve as teaching assistants and mentors.

GeoHealth: Dell Med collaborates with the UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences to host a weeklong virtual summer camp for middle and high school students centered on the impacts of global and climate change on health. Scientists and health professionals present their work and expertise, and students participate in case-based activities to map out and apply critical thinking skills.

Emergency Medical Responder Course: High school seniors, juniors and camp alumni are invited to apply to participate in this 60- to 90-contact-hour certification course held on Saturdays throughout the academic school year. Students that successfully complete the course are certified emergency medical responders.

Health Career Collaborative: The Health Career Collaborative is a national program that aims to connect medical students with high school students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. For this grant-funded program, Dell Med students to go Travis High School once a week in the spring semester to deliver a health-sciences-based curriculum. At the end of the semester, the high school students present their projects at Dell Med.

Chemistry for Pre-Health Professions: This program is offered to incoming UT Austin freshmen who are pre-health, a first-generation college student, a graduate of a Title I school or have a background that is underrepresented in medicine. Chemistry for Pre-Health Professions is a six-week intensive general chemistry class (Chemistry 301) taught by a UT Austin chemistry instructor. The program intends to close the gap in what is considered a “weed-out” class that has a high potential to impact whether students change their major or career path.

Pre-Health Undergraduate Program: An extension of the summer chemistry program, the Pre-Health Undergraduate Program offers UT Austin undergraduate students unique study and review sessions prior to major exams, as well as networking, mentorship and collaboration opportunities with the Dell Med chapters of the Latino Medical Student Association and the Student National Medical Association.

Dell Med Pre-Health and Diversity Scholars: Members of this sponsored UT Austin student organization are past participants of the summer chemistry program. They focus on mentorship, community building and leadership development.

Patient Liaison Program: UT Austin undergraduate students assist Ascension Seton with this qualitative survey of inpatient participants who provide feedback on resident performance and health care delivery.

Explore health equity work