Medical School Unveils Diversity Statement

Harvard Medical School’s Diversity Task Force unveiled the school’s new diversity statement and announced the creation of diversity subcommittees at a panel Wednesday morning.

In January, Medical School Dean George Q. Daley announced he would create a Diversity Task Force with the ultimate goal of increasing diversity among the school’s students and faculty. Following months of closed-door meetings, the task force’s 40 members presented a statement to a crowd of hundreds at the Armenise Auditorium.

Harvard Medical School Quadrangle
Harvard Medical School.

The statement reaffirmed the school’s commitment to “convening and nurturing a diverse community of individuals dedicated to promoting excellence and leadership in medicine and science through education, research, clinical care and service.”

“Our unique perspectives, talents, experiences and contributions as HMS students, trainees, faculty, staff and administrators are the foundation and drivers of our excellence,” the statement reads.

In her speech punctuated by applause, Joan Y. Reede, Medical School Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership and the task force’s chair, said that the group has conducted a “deeper investigation” of diversity issues at the Medical School.

“The work of advancing diversity and inclusion is not just to do good but to hold each other accountable on being better,” Reede said. “The diversity statement was launched with all of us in mind.”

Reede also announced the creation of five subcommittees which will tackle diversity in five areas including residency training, faculty development and retention, and community engagement.

In February 2016, a group of Medical School students submitted a petition to University President Drew G. Faust calling for more diversity on the Longwood campus and asking that the school hire a diversity dean from an underrepresented background.

On Wednesday, Daley thanked the task force for its work, adding that diversity and inclusion are especially important given that they are “in many cases under siege in the national stage.”

“We have to find a way for those who are educated in Harvard Medical School that our community reflects the same diversity of the community that we are serving,” Daley said.

Daley also said that he expects the Medical School’s general mission statement to be “revised slightly” following recommendations from the Diversity Task Force.

During the panel, task force members presented pieces of the diversity statement and shared stories reflecting on why the mission statement was important to them. The presentation was followed by an open forum where audience members submitted feedback to the task force, which was projected onto the auditorium screen.

The task force will deliver a set of recommendations to Daley in the coming months.

—Staff writer William L. Wang can be reached at william.wang@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @wlwang20.

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