Takeaways from We’re here, but are you listening?

LAS recently collaborated on a two-part chat with Iboro Umana, MD, PhD based on his presentation, We’re here, but are you listening? These discussions were part of the LAS series, Culture of Silence in Medical Education, and they struck a cord. In the days that have followed, our conversations with students, residents, parents, faculty, and one another have focused on solving for racism and discriminatory barriers.

The LAS Team is a diverse group. We know that racism is a systemic problem and we will not tolerate discriminatory actions and implicit biases against Black students, residents, families, faculty, or one another. LAS is committed to removing discriminatory actions and upholding diversity and representation.

Below are some of the actionable steps that you can take right now. Next week, the LAS Team will share reflections from the series.

  1. Normalize conversations about race and privilege within your program. Work to turn “uncomfortable” conversations about race to into necessary conversations.
  2. Make cultural competency a mandatory part of your program. Evaluating cultural competency as a required skill makes it more likely that everyone will work to understand it.
  3. Develop curriculum that includes the history and modern experience of Black patients. Continue to evaluate whether your curriculum is accurate and up to date. When it’s not, change it.
  4. Listen to, and support, your Black students and peers. Attend presentations and meetings and directly introduce yourself. Make yourself available for individuals to share their concerns.
  5. Ensure that multicultural organizations within your program are adequately supported. Consider whether all opportunities in your program receive the same amount of publicity and funding. If not, take action to equalize this.
  6. Advocate for minority students and peers. If someone’s contributions aren’t being heard, amplify their voice and provide credit to the original speaker.
  7. Actively recruit, support, and promote minority students, residents, fellows AND faculty. Evaluate the demographics of your program and accept feedback from underrepresented minorities.
  8. Take accountability for your organization. Put a face to the policies of your institution and acknowledge ways in which your organization actively, or passively, discriminates against minorities.
  9. Provide opportunities that allow minority students and faculty to excel. Create a holistic application review process that looks at the entire applicant instead of only looking at test scores.
  10. Develop trainings for faculty and employees. Base these trainings on feedback that you have received and ensure that everyone understands the rationality of these trainings.

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