The Office of Inclusion and Diversity was founded in July 2016 to expand on the School of Medicine’s efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Department of Medicine. In 2022, the office was renamed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Allyship and Social Justice (IDEAS) at Department of Medicine to better reflect our core values and encompass all of the ongoing efforts in inclusion, diversity and equity, along with our commitment to allyship and social justice throughout the department.
Since its inception, IDEAS at DOM has continually developed and fostered new programs, initiatives and training opportunities to support and promote individuals of all backgrounds, especially those who have been historically under-represented in all levels of academic medicine.
The Department of Medicine’s strategic approach to diversity and inclusion was advanced when Joe Pangelinan, PhD, joined the Department of Medicine in 2016 as director of cultural awareness and diversity in the department. With a dedicated office to diversity and inclusion, the department expanded efforts in training and recruitment efforts, professional development, and education for faculty, staff and trainees regarding diversity, unconscious bias, and cultural awareness. In November 2016, Victoria Fraser, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine, called for the creation of task forces to identify areas of concern and barriers. These task forces, focused on faculty, staff and trainee inclusion and cultural awareness, were charged with identifying inclusion, diversity, and equity related areas of concern and recommending innovative solutions. A variety of current IDEAS programs and initiatives grew out of these task forces, including Mentorship to Enhance Diversity in Academia (MEDA), a program designed to foster and support the careers of trainees who belong to diverse groups.
Programming expanded again when OUTmed was launched by the Department of Medicine in 2017, with the goal of supporting LGBTQIA-identified faculty, residents, fellows and staff in the department and the school as a whole. Kara Sternhell-Blackwell, MD, a former assistant professor of dermatology, led the initial development of OUTmed, with priorities to help LGBTQIA-identified faculty, residents, fellows and staff connect, develop networking relationships and find mentors. OUTmed has grown over the years to include activities such as sponsoring St. Louis PrideFest and the development of OUTlist and ALLYlist, lists of faculty, staff, residents, fellows and graduate and medical students who identify or identify as allies of the LGBTQIA community. Today, OUTmed continues to grow and expand focused on their mission to increase LGBTQIA: visibility and community, provide training for patients and health care providers, support research efforts and foster networking and mentoring relationships.
Included within IDEAS at DOM are initiatives targeted to supporting women in medicine. The Forum for Women in Medicine (FWIM), created in 2014, supports the professional and personal development of the women trainees in the Department of Medicine. The Advancing Women in Academic Medicine (AWAM) program actively identifies and provides guidance to women fellows and faculty within the department to achieve leadership opportunities on institutional, local, national and international levels with the intention of achieving representation, professional rank, and compensation equal to that of their male counterparts.
In 2020, Angela L. Brown, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine was appointed Vice Chair for Health Equity for the Department of Medicine. In this role, Dr. Brown has accelerated equity and antiracism efforts for faculty, trainees and staff in the Department of Medicine and expanded diversity and inclusion organizational structure and resources. Additional leadership positions in diversity, equity and inclusion have been added specific to fellows and postdoctoral trainees and for the internal medicine residency program.
IDEAS at DOM continues to innovate today by evolving our initiatives and training to support and meet the needs of all within the Department of Medicine.