NEWS | December 19, 2016

UC Davis Health System awarded grant to advance culture of diversity and inclusion


UC Davis Health System has been awarded a grant by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to pilot a first-of-its-kind diversity and inclusion toolkit. The three-year, $36,000 award aims to enable universities and their academic and health centers to measure institutional climate and culture.

The Diversity & Inclusion Culture & Climate Self-Assessment Toolkit pilot is led by the AAMC, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, with funding from the California Wellness Foundation. Upon being selected as one of the pilot sites, the selection committee commended UC Davis on the “institution’s leadership commitment to diversity, capacity to execute the project and ongoing efforts to develop an inclusive campus climate.”

“This toolkit answers the call for us to take a full environmental scan of our diversity and inclusion efforts, and identify areas in which we need to focus our energies,” explained David Acosta, associate vice chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion and principal investigator on the pilot program. “This initiative aligns with our strategic plan on changing culture and equips us with a mechanism to assess our strengths, identify our weaknesses and develop a long-term action plan.”

As a member of the first cohort of pilot sites, UC Davis receives a toolkit consisting of three components: an assessment tool, a how-to guide and a scorecard to provide university leaders with a visual snapshot of the institution’s progress, and a campus action plan to help institutions identify next steps for incorporating diversity and inclusion opportunities into campus improvements and the strategic planning process. Ultimately, the use of this toolkit by California’s universities is expected to increase diversity in the health professions, support success of students from all backgrounds and promote greater diversity in leadership ranks.

“This toolkit is not a new climate survey to assess attitudes and perceptions of students, staff or faculty,” said Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, assistant adjunct professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis and co-principal investigator. “The focus is at the institutional and department levels to assess our practices, policies and programs that contribute to a diverse and inclusive climate for members of our health system community.”

“Creating an inclusive culture is not the job of one team or one department. It’s everyone’s responsibility to respect other people and their ideas,” added Adrienne Lawson-Thompson, director for Institutional Culture/Climate and Community Engagement and co-principal investigator. “When everyone has input, their ideas spark true innovation and excellence.”

Funders hope the tool enables pilot universities to accelerate their progress toward more inclusive climates and contribute directly to practice and policy change in California. Other members of the first cohort include UC San Francisco, California State University, Fullerton, and California State University, Northridge.

To read more about UC Davis’ diversity and inclusion efforts, click here.