image greg “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


ClaytonAnitaAnita Clayton, MD, Appointed Chair of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences

Anita H. Clayton, MD, the David C. Wilson Professor of Psychiatry, has been appointed the chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences effective December 1, 2015. She has served as interim chair since August 2013.
Dr. Clayton received both her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Virginia, where she also completed an internship and residency in psychiatry. She was a U.S. Navy Health Sciences Education & Training Command scholar during medical school and, after graduation, served in the Medical Corps as a general medical officer at Great Lakes Naval Hospital in Illinois, and as a staff psychiatrist at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She has been with the University of Virginia since 1990, rising from assistant professor to her current position as chair of the department. She is also a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology, is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and is an International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) fellow.
Dr. Clayton is an internationally recognized physician scientist in women’s mental health, sexual dysfunction related to illness and medications, and diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders. She developed and validated assessment tools such as the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire, the Sexual Interest and Desire Inventory, and the Decreased Sexual Desire Screener. Dr. Clayton has served as principal investigator for over 100 clinical studies; she has published over 150 peer-reviewed original works, written 15 books or chapters, and presented at over 250 scientific conferences. Dr. Clayton has served as contributing editor and member of the editorial board of the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Primary Psychiatry, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Archives of Women’s Mental Health, Women’s Health and Current Sexual Health Reports.

 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.Marcus Martin md

 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 SAM_0144pilot 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

heed 2015