“Diversity is not only a numerical goal; there is a fluid progression that must be evaluated. Inclusion as a Strategy for Excellence, in the School of Medicine, is the recognition that the institution’s success is dependent on how well it values, engages, and includes diverse faculty, staff, students, patients, and suppliers. More than a short-term project or a narrow initiative, this comprehensive approach requires a fundamental transformation of the School’s culture by embedding and practicing inclusion in every effort, aspect, and level of the institution. The goal is to make inclusion a norm that is implemented and practiced.
The concept of Inclusion as a Strategy for Excellence within the School of Medicine is a departure from a simplistic definition of diversity to a more comprehensive, and omnipresent notion of inclusiveness that envelopes several ideologies. Inclusiveness and Excellence are interdependent, as opposed to the traditional perspective that separates the two concepts. To practice inclusiveness is a demonstration of excellence.
Our plan is to shift the responsibility for diversity and inclusiveness onto all administrators, faculty, staff,researchers, and students within the School of Medicine. This is in contrast to one unit or department shouldering the responsibility for diversity. A single department or person can guide the process, but every individual with the School, from the Dean to individual employees, assumes responsibility for change.
In effect, this will shift the School away from conceptualizing diversity solely as a numerical goal of diverse faculty, employees, vendors, and applicants to transforming the institution into a vibrant community that embeds the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan throughout the institution in multiple ways.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan throughout the institution includes demographics, policies, research, financial resources, leadership, hiring, organizational learning, organizational structure, marketing, outreach, technology, performance management, communications, promotion, assessment, and evaluation. This Plan employs a broad and inclusive definition of diversity that includes disability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, race/ethnicity, nationality, and other social dimensions that are important for the School and academic medicine. The magnitude of inclusivity will impact faculty, staff, and students alike, and we can embed a more Diverse outlook onto the School of Medicine.”
– Greg Townsend, MD
Associate Dean for Diversity
Raymond A. Costabile, MD the Jay Y. Gillenwater Professor of Urology, as chair of the Department of Urology has been appointed as chair of the Department of Urology.
Dr. Costabile received an undergraduate and medical degree from Georgetown University, and completed his internship and residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and his fellowship in impotence and infertility at the University of Virginia. Dr. Costabile is a retired, U.S. Army Colonel, having served as Chief of Urology Service at Madigan Army Medical Center, Attending Urologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, General Medical Officer at Ft. Eustis, and Chief of Surgery at the 85th General Hospital. From 2001-2003 he was Commander of the 47th Combat Support Hospital during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was deployed for eight months during 2003.
Dr. Costabile has been included on the lists of America’s Top Doctors, Leading Physicians of the World, Leading Health Professionals of the World, America’s Top Surgeon’s, Who’s Who in America, and America’s Top Urologists. He has received the Urology Teaching Award from UVA and the Outstanding Physician Educator Award from Madigan Army Medical Center, and he is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha and Phi Beta Kappa societies. During his military service he received the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Order of Military Medical Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Service Defense Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and many other outstanding citations.
Over the last 20 years, Dr. Costabile has served on dozens of hospital and professional committees; been a member of numerous professional groups, associations, and societies; been published in over 100 peer-reviewed publications; written 16 book chapters presented at more than 60 national conferences; been invited to speak at more than 100 lectures; and been on the clinical advisory boards for companies such as Lilly/ICOS, Pfizer, Vivus, Abbott, and Bayer. Dr. Costabile has more than 30 ongoing protocols.
Dr. Marcus L. Martin is the recipient of this year’s Paul Goodloe McIntire Citizenship Award, given out each year by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Unconscious Bias: How Can We Overcome It?
Let’s be honest: We are all biased. As we move through our lives, internal opinions and personal thoughts are a (sometimes complex) part of being human. We naturally base our perceptions of others on individual conscious and unconscious experiences, emotions, and encounters. But can we be more equitable in our decision-making, especially when it comes to forming opinions about others? Can we overcome our own internal judgments — especially when we do not even realize we are making them?
Under the guidance of Gregory Townsend, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, and Associate Dean for Diversity; and Brian Gittens, EdD, SPHR, Director of Human Resources and Director of Diversity Initiatives, the School of Medicine thinks we can. The first step in battling our own unconscious biases is to bring them to the surface, to make them conscious — to assist in that process the school recently piloted an Unconscious Bias training program.
While unconscious bias training can influence all work areas and team members, this pilot focused on the application flow process for residency selection. During the process for selecting new residents, people meet, form opinions, and make life-affecting decisions. In situations such as these, everyone benefits if the decisions are based on conscious elements, and not biases lurking below the surface. In educating those who choose residency applicants to be conscious of their own internal biases, this seminar can positively impact the school’s compositional diversity and inclusion; improve the quality of selected residency candidates; increase personal self-awareness; and create a more positive experience for a residency candidate during their personal interactions with our physicians.
“I believe that unconscious bias is at the root of most inequity. Affirmative action programs, anti-discrimination policies, etc., are institutional responses to individual bias,” says Gittens. “This pilot training is a critical step in proactively addressing the root of the issue and cultivating an inclusive community.”Townsend adds, “It’s not surprising that even physicians, who are encountering people who are not like them, are going to treat them differently than people who are like them, and that includes giving pain medication. Unless we address the problems of race, we’re not going to be able to address those disparities.”
“I thoroughly appreciated the training experience in unconscious bias and found it thought-provoking. Since the training, I have tried to be vigilant in my own mind and heart, to examine myself for any unfair bias as I compare candidates’ merits against each other. One challenge for us in medical education … so much of the criteria on which we compare candidates (such as grades or honors/awards) can be built on biased assessments in the first place. Thus, it isn’t enough for one person to confront personal bias… we all have to seek reasoned and fair objectivity when we evaluate performance and ability.” –Brian Uthlaut, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Vice Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program
Written by: Brian Murphy, Lead Editor, Connect