Story written by CMB Student Songeun Kim
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) is a group of CMB students and faculty representatives who works to address systemic biases including but not limited to race, gender, sexuality, and disability status within the program. The committee strives to provide better support structures for students by promoting equity within the program and calling for broader, university-wide changes. Since its inception in 2020, DEIC has restructured the mentorship program for CMB first-year students and added a diversity-centered learning goal to the CMB program curriculum to highlight the importance of DEI in students’ personal and professional development. To increase student’s awareness on DEI, the committee recognized students who have made exceptional contributions to DEI within the CMB program, the University, and greater scientific community by announcing its first DEI impact awardee, Ashely Scott.
Ashley, a third year MD-PhD student in Dr. Kristyn Masters lab, is investigating how aortic valve disease progresses differently between sexes, with a goal of reducing sex-based inequalities in treatment and outcomes. In her DEI work, Ashley has developed implicit biased training for MD-PhD program students, consisting of 3 parts journal clubs each focused on the following topics: conceptualization of bias, identifying what bias is in the student’s field of interest, and strategy to eliminate the bias. To make broader impact of her work, Ashley has compiled students’ opinions toward bias pre- and post-training and is currently working on to publish the data. Additionally, Ashley has developed an implicit bias curriculum for first-year medical students at the UWSMPH, organized an anti-racism statewide rally, and planned a national DEI summit. Ashley has always been interested in learning about health disparities and how she can strive to end that bias in a comprehensive measure. She commented, “the reason behind implicit bias training and why I feel passionate about diversity and outreach as a graduate student is that as scientists, I think it’s very important to actively think about how we are either contributing to health disparities or working to alleviate them in our research”.
DEIC continuously endeavors to create a more supportive environment for students by positioning the CMB program as an actively diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. As parts of its ongoing projects, DEIC is currently working on incorporating DEI-centered discussions into the CMB curriculum and on building recruiting relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), universities in Puerto Rico, and other institutions from underrepresented groups. More information on DEIC can be found in this link. DEIC is actively looking for more members and projects so if you would like to be involved in DEIC or have any suggestions on projects that the committee can work on, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.