After internal pushback, Mount Sinai's med school updates diversity pledge

Emily Rappleye (Twitter) - Print  | 

New York City-based Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is revamping its commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equity, after facing a discrimination lawsuit and student petition to improve culture earlier this year.

The medical school announced on Aug. 5 a "robust new organizational statement on diversity," that expands and updates its past pledge to promote diversity and inclusion. The school will review and update this statement annually. The Icahn School of Medicine says the new statement builds on the Racism and Bias Initiative, an effort that began in 2015 to address the effects of racism and bias in medical education and healthcare, as well as its more recent efforts in this space, like the creation of a Dean for Gender Equity in January.

Along with its enhanced statement on diversity, the Icahn School of Medicine also pledged Aug. 5 to only host and organize panels that include female and/or minority speakers. The policy will take effect next year. It also plans to conduct listening tours among students, trainees and faculty on how to improve the organization.

"As critical conversations about equity happen nationwide, it is incumbent on institutions, both inside and outside medicine, to rigorously examine their policies and climate, pinpoint ways to improve, and take action," medical school dean Dennis Charney, MD, said in a press release.

These improvements come on the heels of some critical feedback. In April, eight current and former employees of the medical school's Arnhold Institute for Global Health filed a federal lawsuit against the health system for alleged age and gender discrimination that resulted in women leaving senior leadership positions. The lawsuit spurred medical school students to organize around the issue. They created a petition and called on the board to join Time's Up Healthcare, a branch of the Time's Up movement. Time's Up Healthcare was created to combat sexual harassment and inequity in hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

 

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