The Association of American Medical Colleges recently named Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) Dean Lee Learman to the Council of Deans Insight Circle on Leadership Accountability for Diversity. The 11-member group will inform the development of an accountability framework to guide the country’s medical school leaders in their efforts to address diversity in the education continuum.
“At VTCSOM, we recognize in our core values that diversity, equality and inclusion are essential to excellence and achieving our mission of improving the health of our communities and transforming healthcare,” said Learman. “We use an accountability framework in our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, including ongoing progress reports and alignments with the university, the dean’s office, department chairs, and our partner in the health system [Carilion Clinic].”
The not-for-profit Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) represents 171 accredited American and Canadian medical schools and is committed to transforming health through medical education, healthcare, medical research, and community collaboration. The work of the Council of Deans Insight Circle will contribute to the systems change efforts supported by the Council of Deans (NMA) Action Collaborative for Black Men in Medicine.
“I became interested in joining the Insight Circle after learning that AAMC is partnering with the NMA Action Collaboration,” Learman said. “People who self-identify as black make up about 14 percent of the U.S. population, but black men make up less than 3 percent of doctors. By participating in the Insight Circle, we can share our approach to responsible leadership and learn from the experience of other medical schools. Together we can identify best practices that will help us and the AAMC drive systems change more effectively.”
Recently, VTCSOM hosted an event called “Generational Health: An Intimate Conversation on Black Men and Health Disparities.” The talk brought together healthcare leaders and community members to discuss ways to build solutions for a more equitable health system. It was an example of the kind of events the school has developed to support diversity in healthcare and in the community.
“We are currently implementing the latest recommendations from our InclusiveVTC Taskforce to ensure we live up to our core values and emphasize the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion to our students, faculty and staff,” said Azziza Bankole, VTCSOM’s chief diversity officer. “We have developed new ways to help promote diversity in the health professions through our pathway programs and by creating new networks and partnerships with local and regional universities and colleges, including HBCUs [historically Black college or university] and other institutions serving minorities.”
INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine has recognized VTCSOM with its Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for four consecutive years. The school continues to make intentional changes and create programs to increase diversity among its students.
“To achieve needed improvements in physician diversity, leaders must drive complex change while creating a culture of shared responsibility for many stakeholders in medical education and healthcare,” Learman said. “We look forward to working with other medical schools to expand our understanding as participants in this important AAMC initiative.”