DEI in Internal Medicine – August 2023

The following newsletter is provided by clinical associate professor Jeydith Gutierrez, MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Department of Internal Medicine.

As we prepare for the end of the summer, I would like to reflect on some of our experiences and events during these past few months.

First, I want to thank all the faculty members and staff who have already participated in our listening sessions regarding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB). The DEIB leads for the Divisions of Pulmonary, General Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and Endocrinology did a wonderful job leading discussions and how these topics impact your work. Anonymous feedback has also been submitted via survey, which was distributed prior to the sessions. We have received more than 100 responses so far!!! Thank you for sharing your time and opinions.

Second, I wanted to share some of what we have learned through these discussions. As we hear more of your thoughts regarding the definitions, challenges and opportunities in these areas, an almost unanimous feeling is that our individual differences make us stronger. Just as diverse colors in a painting blend to create a masterpiece, so too do diverse talents and perspectives enrich our medical team, fostering innovation and empathy. As one of my friends referring to the importance of representation in Artificial Intelligence puts it “Increasing representation improves the quality of questions, answers, and data, which mitigates ethical issues such as framing and confirmation biasNelson Colon, PhD, Ethical and Responsible AI | LinkedIn. This too applies to health care. The Divisions we have visited are proud to support faculty from diverse backgrounds and faculty have commended many leadership efforts to make people feel welcomed.

We have also heard loud and clear that there are some challenges, concerns, and opportunities for improvement. Some of the suggestions include moving beyond discussions and training, into more applicable and tangible actions. Some include enhancing awareness and empowering upstanders in situations related to implicit or explicit bias (whether gender, racial, ethnical, religious, political or others). We have heard concerns about the recent SCOTUS decision regarding affirmative action, and whether this will impact the work that is being done to promote diversity and advance health equity. As we wait for additional guidance from the University and the College of Medicine on the implications of this decision, we continue our commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment. This juncture gives us the opportunity to engage in open and respectful conversations so we can truly understand each other’s viewpoints, evaluate the results of previous efforts, and seek innovative ways to address health care disparities and enhance the care experience for all our patients.

Lastly, we are excited to welcome our new residents, fellows, and faculty members across the Department and look forward to working with all of them. We also wanted to highlight the Distinction in Health Equity Track, for our Medicine Residents launched in July and led by Drs. Krista Johnson, Manish Suneja, Desmond Barber, and myself. We welcomed Drs. Rachel Anderson, Adam Blaine, Paige Carlson, Kimiya Nourian, Shivali Patel, Laurel Smeins, and Alice Xu to the inaugural cohort.

In order to support our Health Equity curriculum and track we are asking faculty to complete a brief survey, to help us identify content matter experts and mentors to help enrich the resident’s experience in the track.

Summer social events!

The Latinx Faculty Council held a Spring Social at City Park on June 3, with faculty and trainees.

The Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion held a Social event to receive students and trainees of underrepresented backgrounds on July 23 at Bumps. It was a great time to engage with colleagues and friends.

Be on the look-out for the invitations for a social event for people from underrepresented backgrounds to be held by the Department of Internal Medicine in the fall.

Upcoming DEI Events and development opportunities

Women in Medicine Series

The Women In Medicine Series will host our own Dr. Diana Jalal on August 22 at noon. We are looking forward to hearing from her. Previous WIM session recordings are available upon request.

Advancing health equity through telehealth

The AAMC series will present awardees of the Telehealth Equity Catalyst Awards and a lecture on “Approaching Telehealth Through a Health Equity Lens” in their August Webinars. More information here:

Community engagement opportunities

Midwest One Bank’s Rock the Chalk

August 11, 12pm-8pm

Community members and local artists will fill the street with unique chalk art pieces and we will “rock” various Iowa musical talent throughout the day while the artists work.

The community is invited to observe the artists’ progress and enjoy the live music throughout the day. From 5:00 – 8:00 PM we will host free family activities including:

  • Face painting & glitter tattoos
  • Balloon art
  • Spin art
  • Hair tinseling
  • Photo booth
  • Airbrush tattoos
  • Professor Bubbles – bubble show & make your own bubbles
  • Community art quilt – everyone can participate!

For more information, visit the Rock the Chalk website.

Diversity Market, August 19th

Join us in celebration of the end of this year’s South District Diversity Market season!

Adding to the normal lineup of excellent vendors with crafts, produce, food trucks, homemade treats and social services, we’re turnin’ up with 5 amazing bands and other entertainment throughout the day. Admission is FREE!!

Check out the music lineup:

  • Orquesta Alto Maiz (eastern IA) – latin jazz, salsa, merengue
  • LowDown Brass Band (Chicago) – hip-hop, street beat, dancehall
  • PanChromatic Steel (Madison) – steel pan, soca, calypso
  • The Feel Right (Des Moines) – r&b, soul, pop
  • Leradee & The Positives (Des Moines) – reggae

– Bring a chair
– Some shade available but umbrellas are welcome
– Family Friendly
– Inclusive

Participate in a school supplies drive

Despite our belief that summer will never end, the school year is looming in front of us. Please consider donating to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, which supports 100+ kids in our local schools. For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life through the power of youth mentoring.

Support the Latino Native American Cultural Center GOLDrush campaign

The Latino Native American Cultural Center (LNACC) ) is a “home away from home” for Latino Native American students. Funding will support programming during the Latinx Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Month events for students, the Native American Powwow, professional development opportunities, and other activities of the center.

Donations can be made at

Volunteer at the Mobile Clinic

This student-run organization has provided free health screening, prevention, education, and basic health services to underserved populations in and around Iowa City for more than 20 years. Volunteer faculty and fellows are always welcome. Please consider participating on a weekend or evening clinic. For more information contact or learn more at

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