Like many of you, I was concerned and alarmed when I learned for the first time on Monday that a decision had been made, but not widely communicated, to “pause” Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training in response to Executive Order 13905 pending internal review. Since then, I have heard from many members of our department and the wider community that this approach undermines our strong commitment to addressing issues of racism and discrimination that negatively impact our community, our patients, our staff, our trainees, and our faculty colleagues. I want to recognize and acknowledge those who worked tirelessly to convey these concerns to senior leaders over the past two days and we appreciate the response that was issued earlier today.
This statement from senior leadership affirms the commitment of University of Iowa Health Care and the Carver College of Medicine to continuing work underway in understanding and improving diversity, equity, and inclusion. The clarification limits the review at UI Health Care to mandatory employee training, but commits to proceeding with all other DEI programming. It is my hope that this statement will move toward restoring our confidence in what I believe should be our institution’s core values to create an environment that does not shy away from the difficult conversations about race and gender equity that must be addressed as we work to build a better future. I look forward to learning more about the outcome of the review of employee and staff training programs and trust that this review will improve those activities.
I include links to statements from the AAMC and ACGME on this issue. These statements and others underscore that in times like these we should have the courage to advocate for those who are underserved, underprivileged, and underrepresented, not only within our walls, but in the community at large. History is watching and will judge our actions.