The Office of Health Sciences Diversity exists to foster an equitable and inclusive environment for students, trainees, and faculty within the health professions schools.
Its mission also includes increasing the number of well-trained professionals who reflect different cultures, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, abilities, genders, religious affiliations, gender identities and expressions, and sexual orientations.
The Office of Health Sciences Diversity (OHSD) was established in October 2007 to:
- Assist departments within the schools of the health sciences to seek qualified, diverse candidates for academic opportunities
- Assess internal and external pipelines to graduate and health professions education and build programming to bridge any existing gaps
- Connect individuals at all points of the pipeline to role models, mentors, and opportunities within the Health Sciences schools by partnering with existing organizations and programs or assisting in the planning and implementation of new programming
- Assist schools to secure campus and extramural funding for programs and initiatives advancing faculty and student diversity
- Create and monitor systems of evaluation that measure success for diversity and inclusion, including overall faculty, resident, fellow, and student success within the University of Pittsburgh's health science schools.
Diversity Efforts Increase
The scarcity of minorities in our health professions came to national attention in 2003, when the U.S. government formed the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce. The Commission is an outgrowth of a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to Duke University School of Medicine.
Named for former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., the Commission is composed of 16 health, business, higher education and legal experts and other leaders. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole and former U.S. Congressman and Congressional Health Subcommittee Chairman Paul Rogers serve as Honorary Co-Chairs.
Keeping in step with the Sullivan initiative, the University formed the Sullivan Commission Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Diversity within the Schools of the Health Sciences in late 2004. It was supported by Pitt's senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and the deans of the Schools of the Health Sciences. The task force's objective was to examine the barriers that prohibit the successful inclusion of underrepresented minorities in our schools.
The task force conducted an inventory of initiatives to address diversity in our schools, held focused discussions with key stakeholders, and actively explored promising partnerships to accomplish our goals.
An assessment included interviews and discussions with minority faculty members of the health sciences schools, UPMC administrators, and key administrators from the broader campus.
In addition, it examined our student application and admissions processes; the support services provided to students, faculty, and staff; and the participation of underrepresented faculty on search and admissions committees. As a result of the findings, the task force identified strategic directions for increasing diversity in our schools.
Today's Task Force holds as its central value the critical importance of racial and ethnic diversity within the health professions, and recognizes that other factors, including gender and disability, may interact with race and ethnicity in critical ways. Its goals are to:
- Create an environment in the schools of the health sciences in which under-represented (African American, Hispanic/Latino and Native American) minority students and faculty can flourish
- Assess the barriers to the successful inclusion of minorities in the Schools of the Health Sciences
- Inventory current initiatives to address diversity in Pitt's Health Sciences schools
- Hold focused discussions with key stakeholders; and actively explore promising partnerships to accomplish Task Force goals
- Determine strategic directions for increasing the diversity of Pitt Health Sciences schools, including faculty and students
- Recommend directions, actions and programmatic activities to the deans and Senior Vice Chancellor of the Health Sciences