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News & Archives

Special Public Health Grand Rounds: Historical Trauma and the Health Disparities that Perpetuate in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities

Friday, November 19, 2021

Dean Seneca, MPH, MCURP, CEO and founder of Seneca Scientific Solutions +, will present at a special Public Health Grand Rounds event on December 2, 2021 on Zoom. This presentation will cover leading health inequities, causes of death, health workforce and other challenges while working in Tribal communities. In addition, the discussion will include tribal life experiences, cultural issues, barriers, and how to successfully build tribal relationships. This lecture is presented in partnership with the URMC Office of Equity and Inclusion, Department of Public Health Sciences, and Center for Community Health & Prevention with additional funding from the UR Clinical and Translational Science Institute. This event will feature a traditional introduction - Ohen:ton Kariwatehkwen "the Words that Come Before All Else” by Rohsennase Dalton LaBarge (Kanienkehaka, Bear Clan) URSMD '23.
Pre-registration for this session is required.

Language Equity Prompts Reconfiguration of Access Services for Deaf Professionals

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

In an effort to ensure equity for underserved groups, such as those in language minority communities, access services for deaf professionals will now be centralized with its own budget under the URSMD Office of Equity and Inclusion. This reconfiguration will ensure that deaf scholars and staff can do their best work without navigating various layers of departmental budgets and administrative processes.

This centralization is meant to support the targeted, systematic, and ongoing recruitment, nurturing, and advancement of deaf staff, students, and scientists. It is envisioned to provide a safe space, facilitate effective communication within academic settings, streamline scheduling logistics, train and retain current and future generations of deaf-centered interpreters, create best practices for community engagement, and serve as a go-to location for resources and support.

Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Equity & Inclusion, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry says, “This is a social justice issue as much as it is about efficiency. It’s about putting our beliefs around fairness and inclusivity into action. We’re thrilled to see these much-talked about changes come to fruition.” She says, “Our Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan’s pillars––build, recruit, nurture, exemplify and engage—directly inform our work to make URMC a leader in language equity.”

To further understand the work environment for deaf professionals, their hearing colleagues, and interpreters, a series of listening and learning sessions by consulting firm, Brick Advantage, LLC is now underway. These sessions allow for participants to share their experiences working and learning at URMC, and inform the ongoing reconfiguration process with their expertise.

Wyatte Hall, Ph.D., an OEI faculty fellow whose research focuses on language acquisition as a social determinant of deaf population health, says, “Removing barriers for deaf professionals means they are allowed to succeed and thrive on their own merits just like anyone else at URMC. It also amplifies retention efforts, a priority as Rochester is home to one of the largest deaf communities in the world.”

Elizabeth Butcher, MS, CI, CT, CHI and Kim Morreale, CI, CT, CHI will join as transition team members to support the short-term management and logistics of the new central budget, and the overall reconfiguration process. Ms. Butcher brings over 20 years of STEM and medical interpreting experience, including six as the manager of URMC interpreting services. Ms. Morreale has over 20 years of experience interpreting and providing scheduling for deaf clinical staff and medical patients at URMC and the local community.    
“This is an exciting time and I look forward to assisting with the reconfiguration process and the improvements OEI will be making with input from all stakeholders,” says Butcher.

This endeavor reaffirms URMC’s commitment to equity and inclusion as core values of our institution, including language equity. The Office of Equity and Inclusion looks forward to sharing more details in the future as we reimagine and innovate a new structure that achieves full inclusion for deaf people in the URMC community.

The URMC Equity & Anti-Racism Action Plan Website Now Displays Progress

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Eight months after the URMC Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan was put into place, progress toward its goals can now be tracked online. The five-year plan, first announced last October, was created to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Medical Center, address inequities in patient care, and reduce health disparities in the Rochester community.

The website now includes an Our Progress page that, at a glance, shows the status of the plan's action items in a chart. Each of the plan's five pillars—build, recruit, nurture, exemplify, and engage—has its own chart, with more information available by clicking on each blue tab.

The website is an important part of assuring accountability and transparency and will be updated regularly. "From the beginning it was important that regular communication about progress be a priority," says Adrienne Morgan, PhD, the University's associate vice president for equity and inclusion and senior associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD). She adds, "Our partners want transparency and accountability and that's what we will deliver."

Some notable accomplishments include:

Build. Four cohorts of URMSMD/URMC leaders are currently enrolled in a six-month Enlightened Leader Learning Series. The virtual training sessions, led by Health Psychologist Jeff Ring, PhD, focus on developing trust, effective conflict management, commitment and accountability, recognizing implicit bias and addressing health inequities. At the conclusion of the training, each leader is required to work on a capstone project that can be operationalized.

Recruit. A faculty recruitment toolkit will provide departments resources to recruit outstanding faculty, and ensure recruitment efforts are in line with the Medical Center's commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to the toolkit, the Career Path Modernization Project remains on track to transform a four-decades old structure of job titles, descriptions, pay, and career paths. Updates include a newly expanded website with a glossary of terms to help understand the project along with community workshops and upcoming employee forums.

Kathy Gallucci, the University's interim chief human resources officer and vice president for human resources for the University of Rochester Medical Center says, "This project will give us the flexibility to attract, retain, and engage the very best employees. This work involves all of us and benefits the entire University system."

Engage. Efforts to make healthcare more accessible, reducing disparities through research, active listening, and collaboration with community partners are currently in progress. Currently, three critical working groups are actively identifying opportunities to ensure that these goals are met. Telva Olivares, M.D. has been named head of the health equity steering committee.

"Engendering trust during our patient interactions and in our clinical environments is essential to ensuring equitable outcomes. Perhaps more importantly, creating a caring and compassionate experience for our patients is solely dependent on our ability to meet our patients where they are and seek to understand their values, needs and expectations," says Michael Rotondo, MD, CEO, University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group.

Planning for how to maximize the plan's implementation during fiscal year 2022 has already begun. Check back here in August and October for more exciting updates!