As a medical school and medical community with a diverse population of patients, students, and staff, we have witnessed incidents of racism and inequity in our institution, our community, and our society. These issues have been even more painfully clear in recent months as the burden of COVID-19 has been disproportionately borne by Black and Brown communities, and a light has shone on violence and killings against Black citizens. We stand with all members of our community and say with resolve that Black Lives Matter.
Systemic racism threatens the health of our patients, their families, students, staff, and the community. Bias and discrimination have no place in medical education or the clinical learning environment. We pledge not just to continue but to expand and recommit to our longstanding goal of assuring a diverse and inclusive environment for all members of our community. We believe combating racism and discrimination wherever we see it is fundamental to meet our school’s mission in which we so deeply believe: to inspire diverse students of exceptional promise to become leaders and innovators in science and medicine for the betterment of humanity.
Therefore, we commit to the following important work:
1. We will continue our commitment to recruit and support a diverse medical student body at Pritzker and nationally. Specifically, we will:
- Implement within our institution the holistic evaluation of learners and utilize assessment strategies that do not selectively advantage some learners.
- Advocate nationally for similar approaches to ensure fairness and equity.
- Minimize emphasis placed on standardized examinations which can perpetuate bias and inequity in admission processes.
- Support and leverage our longstanding and successful summer pathway programs for college and high school students which have helped many students achieve their goals of a career in medicine.
2. We will make our community not only diverse but inclusive. Specifically, we will:
- Require the participation in implicit bias, anti-racism, and ally-ship training and education for medical students, core faculty, and staff
- Strongly encourage and facilitate the participation in such training for all members of our community – faculty, residents, staff, and students
- Evaluate the climate of our learning community and implement programming to promote respectful and effective communication with diverse patients and colleagues
- Increase support for local South Side businesses by prioritizing these businesses in the purchase of goods and services.
3. We will evaluate our curricula with intent to eliminate racist or biased historical teaching and to expand antiracist curricular elements. Specifically, we will:
- Constitute a faculty/student task force to conduct a critical review of the medical school curriculum to support inclusive clinical cases, eradicate racial stereotyping, and promote clinical practice based on unbiased evidence
- Integrate content related to disparities in health throughout the four year curricula, building upon the foundation of the first-year required course on Health Care Disparities
- Expand co-curricular programming (such as the Bowman Society lectures) which provide a venue for scholarship focused on the health of minority and/or marginalized patients and communities
4. We will review and reform our practices of holistic assessment to enhance the recognition of accomplishments in all areas important for future physicians. This includes knowledge and competence as a physician, scholarship that contributes to basic knowledge, dedication to service to the community, and patient care, commitment to evidence-based practice, professionalism, communication skills, and empathy.
5. We will listen to our patients. We will listen to our students. We will lean into discomfort together to learn. We will hold ourselves accountable. We will acknowledge and learn from our mistakes. We will strive for continuous improvement.
- Conduct an ongoing annual assessment of climate and develop programming to respond to issues of concern through the i2i Committee
- Expand and enhance our bias reporting process to ensure a readily available avenue for students to report concerns in real time and anonymously.
Every member of our community is important and contributes a unique perspective and voice. Together, we create the culture and values that imbue our school. For our community to thrive, we need to combat the bias and discrimination our Black and Brown students face. Our goal is to provide the resources and opportunities for all students to reach their potential personally and professionally.
Achieving equity and inclusion is intentional work. Each day requires a renewed commitment. Our goals and our plans will change over time. This is intended as a living document and pledge that we make in partnership with our students and on behalf of our patients to renew our resolve and our commitment to undertake the daily work necessary to achieve these goals.