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In recent years, there have been concerted efforts to better recruit, support, and retain diverse faculty, staff, and trainees in academic medicine. However, many institutions lack comprehensive and strategic plans to provide support to retain and recruit individuals from historically underrepresented groups. In this article, we itemize specific mechanisms through which institutions can support diverse individuals with the goal of improving inclusion and belonging in the workforce to better reflect the diversity of the intended patient and research participant population.
The hidden curriculum encompasses the norms, values, and behaviors within a learning environment. Navigating the hidden curricula of academia is crucial for doctoral trainees, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. Faculty mentors have an important role in helping trainees uncover and cope with the hidden curriculum. The purpose of this paper is to explore perceptions of the hidden curriculum among diverse doctoral trainees and mentors.
Following a presentation on the hidden curriculum at the Association for Clinical and Translational Science annual meeting in March 2021, attendees were asked to brainstorm ideas for diverse trainees and their mentors. Breakout room discussions were held for specific hidden curriculum topics; participants voted on which topics to discuss from a list of topics defined during the presentation. Ideas from these discussions were presented to the larger group to upvote.
Participants (n = 116) voted to discuss the following hidden curriculum topics: “coping with bias,” “assertive communication,” “knowing how things work,” and “developing a career.” Many suggestions emphasized the role of institutions in empowering mentors to help diverse trainees and, more generally, to meaningfully support policies and programs that facilitate the career success of trainees and faculty from underrepresented backgrounds.
This work generated a list of suggested action items for trainees, mentors, and institutions to ameliorate the hidden curricula of academia, especially for diverse trainees. However, institutions need to support changes that will facilitate these discussions as well as more broadly enable the success of faculty and students from diverse backgrounds.
To mitigate the impact of racism, sexism, and other systemic biases, it is essential for organizations to develop strategies to address their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) climates. The objective of this formative evaluation was to assess Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research (HSR) faculty and staff perceptions toward a proposed departmental DEI plan and to explore findings by diversity and professional subgroups.
Materials and methods:
Key plan components include recruitment and support for diverse individuals; training for all HSR employees and leaders; and a review system to capture diversity and inclusion feedback for leaders. Additional activities include building inclusion “nudges” into existing performance reviews. To assess pre-implementation beliefs about specific plan components, we polled attendees at a departmental staff meeting in July 2020.
Overall, respondents (n = 162) commonly endorsed a blinded promotion review process and DEI training for all staff and leaders as most important. In contrast, respondents expressed less support for plan activities related to “nudges.” However, attitudes among certain diversity or professional groups toward specific plan activities diverged from their non-diversity group counterparts. Qualitative feedback indicated awareness of the need to address DEI issues.
Overall, HSR faculty and staff respondents conveyed support for the plan. However, some specific plan activities were perceived differently by members of certain diversity or professional subgroups.
These findings present a DEI framework on which other institutions can build and point to future directions for how DEI activities may be differentially perceived by impacted faculty and staff.
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