Radiology Hosts DEI Week, Announces $1 Million EndowmentAug. 11, 2021, 4:06 PM
The Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences recently hosted its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Week, featuring in-person and livestreamed presentations and panel discussions focused on the relationship between medicine and DEI. Leaders from Vanderbilt University, Yale University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Maryland and several other health care systems led the nuanced discussions.
DEI Week covered multiple topics, including:
- The effects of microaggressions on the academic environment for health professional trainees.
- The importance of racial justice in medicine.
- The historical perspectives underrepresented minority groups bring to the practice of radiology.
- How to become a racial equity learner and advocate.
“I would like to thank our entire DEI leadership and organizing team for assembling such a phenomenal week of learning. The speakers and audience, whether in person or virtual, are linked with a shared vision to promote health equity, diversity and inclusion. The collective energy is inspiring and contagious,” said Reed Omary, MD, MS, Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Professor and chair of the department.
The culminating event of DEI Week was a panel on diversity in medicine at VUMC and beyond, featuring speakers André Churchwell, MD; George Hill, PhD; Arie Nettles, PhD; and Consuelo Wilkins, MD, all renowned leaders in DEI and their respective medicine fields.
Omary opened the panel by unveiling a $1 million endowment dedicated to the department’s efforts in DEI. The endowment will provide a budget to continue making DEI a priority for the department — funding educational events, providing sponsorships for students of diverse backgrounds to visit VUMC and helping to build relationships between the department and the Nashville community.
After this announcement, the panel members went on to share insights about the history of DEI at VUMC and the role they each play in advancing those efforts. They also reflected on how VUMC can best partner with neighboring institutions to ensure better health outcomes for marginalized groups.
Nettles, who founded the VUMC Office of Inclusion and Health Equity in 2011, spoke about the importance of acknowledging diversity in Nashville and providing the best care to the community.
“We have a diverse group of patients and families that we serve. To elevate our level of treatment, we need to embrace what our patients and families are bringing to us. The challenge is to figure out how we can provide high-quality, excellent care in the context of being culturally aware and culturally sensitive,” Nettles said.
Radiology’s DEI leadership team, which organized the week of events, also shared their thoughts on the week’s success and the importance of DEI in radiology and medicine.
“This week is about acknowledging that we as a department and society are not perfect and that there continues to be work that needs our attention and collective efforts to move toward a more equitable health care construct,” said Marques Bradshaw, MD, MSCR, Radiology’s vice chair of Diversity Affairs.
“Hopefully, this week’s activities highlight our shared experiences and enable us to continue leading from the front on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion by setting a standard that we will hold ourselves to as we continue to grow, together, within VUMC and beyond,” Bradshaw said.
“Vanderbilt Radiology is committed to health equity and to diversity and inclusion. The department’s novel, substantial financial commitment of a $1 million endowment for diversity, equity and inclusion is critical to support these sustainable, dedicated efforts. This unprecedented level of commitment is inspiring in and beyond the radiology community,” said Lucy Spalluto, MD, Radiology’s vice chair of Health Equity.
“The goal of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week was to create pathways for impactful action to establish medical equity,” said Andrea Birch, MD, director of Radiology’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
“Our experts grounded us in the history and results of medical injustice and showed how each of us can — and must — embrace the opportunity to make meaningful change. The creation of our endowment tangibly demonstrates our commitment to ensure quality and equitable care is available and accessible for all. All medical specialties contributed to the creation of health inequities, and all are responsible for dismantling them,” said Birch.