Page 19 - RU RWJ Medicine Magazine • Winter 2021
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Committee faculty and student members bring their diversity to the interview and acceptance processes.
The school has success recruiting Black students because of pathway programs and in- tentional recruitment strategies. Access-Med is a BA/MD or BS/MD pipeline program between Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University, and Seton Hall University, whose goal is to increase the number of underrepre- sented and disadvantaged students in medicine.
In addition to Access-Med, the Office for Multicultural Affairs organizes summer programs for high school students interested in medicine, attends minority recruitment fairs, and hosts various conferences and diversity days aimed at aiding URM students through the application process. Prospective students meet with URM faculty and students and participate in workshops. Dr. Cato Varlack personally advises candidates through the recruitment process.
Once students matriculate, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has a robust set of initiatives that aim to support URM students, which have been augmented as part of the school’s “Roadmap to Healing.” There is a formalized mentorship program between URM faculty and students as well as social activities
for new students. Dr. Cato Varlack hosts weekly meetings with Access-Med transition students to mentor them as they begin medical school.
Creating a sense of inclusion and opportu- nity for URM students is not only up to URM faculty, but the entire medical school commu- nity. Says Dr. Terregino, “We acknowledge that we’re successful in recruiting these diverse students, and now we have to do everything we can to make sure the learning environment helps them to thrive. It’s important to have regular conversations about racism and implicit bias within both our faculty and student body.”
The Office of Education created a new implicit bias training for incoming students, and additional curricular content is woven through the four years. Students have been involved in the process to achieve anti-racism at the medical school.
Structural racism: the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics–historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal–that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of white domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society, including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric.
Anti-Racism: the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach, and set up in opposition to individual racist behaviors and impacts.
Implicit biases: also known as unconscious or hidden bias, are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automat- ically, without conscious awareness, and affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individu- als may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves.
Microaggression: the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.
—Modified from Racial Equity Tools
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