Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine dean named to national leadership group on diversity
The Association of American Medical Colleges recently named Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) Dean Lee Learman to its 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 nation’s medical school leaders in their diversity efforts across the education continuum.
“At VTCSOM, we recognize in our core values that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to excellence and the achievement of our mission: to improve the health of our communities and transform health care,” Learman said. “We use an accountability framework in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts that includes ongoing progress reports and alignments with the university, dean’s office, department chairs, and our health system partner [Carilion Clinic].”
The not-for-profit Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) represents 171 accredited U.S. and Canadian medical schools and is dedicated to transforming health through medical education, health care, medical research, and community collaborations. The Council of Deans Insight Circle’s work will contribute to systems change efforts supported by it and National Medical Association (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 collaborative,” Learman said. “People who self-identify as Black make up approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, but Black men make up less than 3 percent of physicians. Participating in the Insight Circle will enable us to share our approach to accountable 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 forward more effectively.”
Recently, VTCSOM hosted an event called “Generational Health: An Intimate Conversation on Black Men and Health Disparities.” The talk brought together health care leaders and members of the community to discuss ways to build solutions for a more equitable health system. It was one example of the types of events the school has developed to support diversity in health care and in the community.
“We are currently implementing the final recommendations from our InclusiveVTC Taskforce, ensuring that we are living up to our core values and emphasizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our students, faculty, and staff,” said Azziza Bankole, VTCSOM’s chief diversity officer. “We have been developing new ways to help promote diversity in the health professions with 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 minority-serving institutions.”
INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine has recognized VTCSOM with its Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for four straight years. The school continues to make deliberate changes and create programs to increase diversity among its student body.
“Achieving the needed improvements in physician diversity requires leaders to drive complex change while creating a culture of shared accountability across many stakeholders in medical education and health care,” Learman said. “We look forward to working with other medical schools to expand our insights as participants in this important AAMC initiative.”