Weill Cornell Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has been recognized as a Diversity Champion by Crain’s New York Business as part of its first annual Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Awards, announced July 15.
The Diversity Champion award recognizes organizations in all industries that have committed to a diverse workforce and have programs or initiatives advancing the promotion of diversity in the workplace. Weill Cornell Medicine won in the large-company category.
“Here at Weill Cornell Medicine, we have striven under the leadership of our dean, Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, to be an exemplary champion of diversity and inclusion in the biomedical academy,” said Dr. Linnie Golightly, associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Weill Cornell Medicine. “We are therefore proud to be recognized for this incredible honor.”
Weill Cornell Medicine has long been a leader in advancing diversity in healthcare, establishing several pipeline and mentorship programs to empower women and those underrepresented in medicine to pursue their career ambitions. The Travelers Summer Research Fellowship, which launched in 1969, provides 25 students annually from racial and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to work in laboratories, attend lectures and shadow physicians. Nearly 83 percent of fellowship alumni went on to medical school. The Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program, created in 1989, enables underrepresented student groups to meet and learn from healthcare professionals. And the Black and Latino Men in Medicine Initiative was established to advance Black and Latino male faculty, trainees and students at Weill Cornell Medicine; the initiative also operates the Science and Leadership in Medicine Mentoring Program for high school and college students.
Building on that legacy, Dr. Choi elevated diversity and inclusion to an essential pillar of Weill Cornell Medicine when he became dean in 2017. He broadened the scope of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, establishing an annual Diversity Week and expanding its annual Diversity Awards. And in 2019, Weill Cornell Medicine launched a scholarship program that allows medical school students who qualify for financial aid to graduate debt free, fostering a more diverse student body.
In the wake of last summer’s reckoning with racial injustice in America, Weill Cornell Medicine and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion announced immediate actions to ensure greater equity across the institution. These efforts include the creation of the Office of Institutional Equity to advance equity programs and initiatives; mandatory annual anti-bias training for employees; and the appointment of diversity champions in every academic department to assist with recruiting, promoting and retaining underrepresented faculty and trainees.
The Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences convened the Social Justice and Anti-Racism Task Force, comprised of students, faculty and program leaders, to promote the success and proportional representation of researchers and clinicians from underrepresented groups at every level, as a means to dismantle systemic racism and to champion social justice. The graduate school has also established a Trainer-Learner Committee to review instances of student mistreatment, including racial discrimination and microaggression incidences.
“Weill Cornell Medicine will continue to expand its efforts to foster a more diverse and inclusive environment,” Dr. Golightly said, “as we work to fight healthcare inequity and provide the best medical care, research opportunities and education for all.”