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2022202120202019

URMC Office of Equity and Inclusion Statement on the Overturning of Roe vs. Wade

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The fifth goal of the URMC Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan is to make health care more equitable and accessible, with a specific focus on reducing health disparities. We are deeply concerned that the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion is in direct opposition to that aim.

Those seeking abortion are disproportionally likely to be people of color, low-income, and lacking equitable access to robust insurance coverage, high quality health care, and effective contraception. In addition, U.S. maternal and infant health outcomes for Black women and infants are the worst of any high-income country in the world, with Black women nearly three times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, and Black infants more than twice as likely to die in the first year of life. These grim realities aren’t due to biology, rather, they are the result of systemic racism. 

While those with resources have historically had more choice, and more access and control over their health and their family’s well-being, pregnant people who are already disenfranchised, including those who are poor, those who live in rural areas, and people of color, will be left to navigate complexities and their own difficult circumstances as they seek comprehensive care. Furthermore, we are concerned all areas of reproductive health care, not limited to abortion care, will become uncertain and difficult to navigate, resourced or not. 

For these and many more reasons, it is imperative that we continue the challenging and vital work of removing barriers to high quality, compassionate, culturally humble, and anti-racist health care. We are pleased that the University of Rochester Medical Center supports and will continue to provide reproductive health care services in accordance with core healthcare ethics principles and access to safe and legal pregnancy termination. Additionally, we know the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry is unwavering in its commitment to education and research in the areas of reproductive health. Future health care providers and scientists will continue being trained in a full spectrum of evidence-based sexual and reproductive health care.
 
We reaffirm President Sarah Mangelsdorf’s and URMC CEO Mark Taubman, M.D.'s joint statement that differences be expressed with respect and ask as we continue to navigate these complex issues, that we do so in a way that holds dear our commitment to health equity and justice. 

Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, URMC 
Senior Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, URSMD 

David Lambert, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean, Medical Student Education, URSMD

Flavia Nobay, M.D. 
Associate Dean for Student Affairs, URSMD

Anne Nofziger, M.D.
Associate Dean for Advising, URSMD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine

David C. Kaufman, M.D., FCCM, HEC-C
Director of Adult Critical Care at SMH
Advisory Dean to Medical Students, URSMD
Ethics consultant at SMH

Katherine Blumoff Greenberg, M.D.
Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, URSMD
Vice Chair for Equity and Inclusion, Department of Pediatrics

Eva K. Pressman, M.D.
Henry A. Thiede Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Erik Rueckmann M.D., MPH 
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, URMC
Associate Dean of Advising, URSMD

Cheryl Kodjo, M.D., MPH
Associate Dean of Advising, Professor of Pediatrics, URSMD 
Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Staff Physician, University Health Service 

Kyan Lynch, M.D., M.A. 
Associate Vice President for Education and Digital Innovation

Margie Hodges Shaw, J.D., Ph.D., HEC-C
Associate Professor, Law and Bioethics
Director, Program for Clinical Ethics
Interim Director, Paul M. Schyve, M.D. Center for Bioethics
Department for Health Humanities & Bioethics, URMC, URSMD

Call for “Tabletop Talk” proposals for the URMC OEI "Better Together: Equity, Anti-Racism, and a New Way Forward Conference"

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Do you have a burning question, topic or idea that needs an outlet? Do you wish to cultivate community around a concept? Host a “Tabletop Talk” at the Better Together: Equity, Anti-Racism, and a New Way Forward Conference on October 14, 2022. We’re looking for people with big ideas who want to host focused discussions at the conference on a diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) related topic. Tabletop discussions allow all participants a chance to weigh in on a subject and to consider their roles and responsibilities. A scribe will be assigned to each table to summarize the meeting. Submit your idea here by Friday, July 15. Email URMCOEI@urmc.rochester.edu with any questions. A committee will select the best ideas for presentation. We hope you can join us! 

Statement from Mark Taubman, MD, CEO, URMC and Adrienne Morgan, PhD, VP for Equity and Inclusion, URMC on Juneteenth

Friday, June 17, 2022

Juneteenth: Fulfilling the Promise

“Forever free.” This was the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, yet they were just words. For enslaved men, women and children in the state of Texas, that freedom wouldn’t be realized until 1865. Why? Because words require action. 

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery for people in Texas and the beginning of the fulfillment of the proclamation’s promise. Today, more than a day off, the holiday gives us an opportunity to reflect and be inspired. Juneteenth set into motion the never-ending pursuit of Black excellence free from physical and emotional bondage. 

For us, living out its legacy means fulfilling our promises of anti-racism in healthcare. It echoes in the Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan, which is purposeful and public—ensuring accountability for those responsible for its creation and cultivation. 

We must keep our promises and keep up the momentum to attract and retain people historically excluded from medicine, cultivate a diverse, culturally humble and responsive medical center community, pursue excellence in anti-racist and inclusive healthcare delivery.

Juneteenth reminds us of the power of a promise and why being inclusive of that promise matters. The proclamation didn’t intend freedom for some of the enslaved—it was meant for all. Its supporters spread that message as far and wide as they could, while others worked to conceal it. But just as water seeks its own level, so did the promise eventually fall upon the ears of those men and women whose lives would be altered forever. Justice prevailed and that victory guides our actions today. 

We hope this Juneteenth you recall its promise and join us in the work that continues.

 

 

 

 

Poised for Pride: Strong Earns Healthcare Equality Designation

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

HEI Logo Strong Memorial Hospital has again been named one of the nation's leaders in LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality initiatives by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) surveys healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.
 
Strong earned the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader designation using survey criteria that include non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement. Under HRC’s system, a facility needs to score 100 points to be designated an "LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader." Facilities receive points for meeting specific requirements and by having a certain number of best practices and policies in place.
 
In the HRC survey, Strong was recognized—as in past years—for meeting criteria such as having a patient non-discrimination policy that includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” providing equal visitation rights to LGBTQ+ patients and their loved ones, having an employment non-discrimination policy that is fully LGBTQ+ inclusive, and providing approved training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care.
 
Everyone under the University of Rochester umbrella shares the responsibility of bolstering acts of inclusion and equity to protect the LGBTQ+ community and align with organizational values.
 
Jackie Beckerman, chief patient experience officer and senior director of the ICARE Commitment, recognizes just how critical it is to break down healthcare barriers for the LGBTQ+ community.
 
“Our goal, first and foremost, is to ensure that all patients receive high quality, compassionate, and equitable care—in an environment that feels respectful and safe for everyone,” she said. “Our LGBTQ+ patients face significant challenges in healthcare, and we need to provide a space where these individuals always feel safe and comfortable talking with their care team about all aspects of their lives. There is no place for discrimination or bias in this organization.”
 
Mark Taubman, M.D., URMC CEO and SMD dean, said being a model institution for equity is a crucial goal for the Medical Center. "As use of pronouns has taken hold, just by saying them you are demonstrating that you are sensitive to the issues of gender identity,” he said.
 
Taubman recognizes that earning an award or recognition—a designation in this case —doesn't mean the job is done.
 
"There's always more to do,” said Taubman. “We acknowledge the award as it tells us where the bar is. Our goal is not to hit the bar but be way above it. There are so many ways to make equity and inclusiveness attainable.”
 
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are often subject to discrimination in all spaces, including healthcare facilities.
 
“This often leads to avoiding care and anticipating their voices not being respected in an incredibly vulnerable environment,” said Tari Hanneman, director of Health & Aging at The Human Rights Campaign. “The Healthcare Equality Index, at its core, strives to ensure LGBTQ+ people are protected and affirmed by their healthcare providers and feel safe seeking services."
 
This designation, awarded at the end of March, ties in with Pride Month, celebrated throughout the nation during June. The Medical Center has made progress in the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals and is committed to continuing to work to protect those who have been marginalized.
 
"There are so many people who need love and support and help right now," said Timothy Wood, a UR Medicine patient and member of the transgender community, who said the University works to understand his needs. "Trusting in your healthcare system is key. I'm so grateful for the support I receive from my primary care doctor."
 
More than two decades ago, Wood began living secretly as a man, unable to reveal his true self to many of his friends and family members. He described years of feeling alienated and lonely.
 
It's patients like Wood, along with a diverse staff and faculty, that the Medical Center aims to protect. Being inclusive means that everyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ has a safe place.
 
"Our society is very binary, but we don't have to all fit in neatly, we're not under obligation to be a certain way," said Wood. "It's about respecting people's differences and lifestyles without making a big deal of it or overreacting."
 
 
 

Trauma Resources in Response to the Buffalo Mass Shooting

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The recent racially motivated hate crime at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo New York in which the perpetrator targeted a Black community and has expressed white supremacy and anti-Semitic leanings has evoked a range of emotions and concerns of safety across the United States. In response to this event, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed resources to help children, families, and communities navigate what they are seeing and hearing, acknowledge their feelings, and find ways to cope together. These resources include:

Psychological First Aid and Skills for Psychological Recovery

The NCTSN also has resources for responders on Psychological First Aid (PFA; En Español). PFA is an early intervention to support children, adolescents, adults, and families impacted by these types of events. PFA Mobile and the PFA Wallet Card(En Español) provide a quick reminder of the core actions. The PFA online training course is also available on the NCTSN Learning Center. PFA Handouts include:

From the National Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center

From the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University

 Disaster Helpline

 SAMHSA has a Disaster Distress Helpline - call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.

 

 

Statement from Adrienne Morgan, PhD, URMC Vice President for Equity and Inclusion on the Mass Shooting in Buffalo, N.Y.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Office of Equity and Inclusion extends its most sincere condolences to the families whose loved ones were killed in the mass shooting in Buffalo. Their deaths are a bitter reminder that the work of fighting racism must be a priority for all Americans, no matter their identity. The pandemic has taught us that what happens in one corner of the world can end up in our homes, in our schools, and, sadly, internalized in our very own bodies. The same holds true of the emotional and societal impact of racism and violence in the name of white supremacy; it stains the soul and depletes the reserves of those who actively work to be anti-racist. 

This tragedy puts the work of this office into sharper perspective. Confronting all forms of racism, bias, hatred and oppression is not only an imperative for this institution; it has implications for our entire community. We remain steadfast in our mission to serve as a powerful force for eliminating racism, division, and exclusion in our communities and beyond.

Our doors are open to anyone who wishes to join us in a path forward toward diversity, equity, inclusion and, now more than ever, justice. Whether you engage with us through our educational offerings, attend our events, or you stop into our office to connect in person, we are here to listen, comfort, and advocate. This is our pledge to you in these fractured and fraught times.

Meliora,

Adrienne Morgan, PhD

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Muslim Patients Can Now Observe Ramadan Fast

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

April is National Arab-American Heritage month and, for the first time, patients admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Highland Hospital and UR Medicine affiliates can fast while observing Ramadan (April 2-May 2). Ramadan is a Muslim holy month designed for prayer and fasting. Muslims believe that Ramadan is meant to strengthen their relationship with God.

This change is the result of a quality improvement initiative involving second-year Internal Medicine and Med-Peds residents, Hayley Flanagan, M.D., Dean Salem, M.D., Hannah Doyle, M.D., and Jessica Oribabor, M.D., M.S. After learning that the current hospital meal ordering system did not adequately accommodate Muslim religious fasting needs, the four collaborated with Clinical Informatics, Clinical Nutrition Lead Kathryn Schneider, Food and Nutrition Services, and Strong hospitalists Jennifer Readlynn, M.D., Julia Trumbo, M.D., and Amy Blatt, M.D. to create a specific Ramadan dietary order-set, which is a set of directions for patient care. 

Dr. Readlynn recalls a time, two years ago, when a patient observing Ramadan left against medical advice because of a lack of full food service after sundown. "I reached out to some Food and Nutrition staff and initially we had a very small thing going. If a nurse was able to identify a patient observing Ramadan they could talk to the kitchen and they could set aside food that could be heated up by the nursing staff on the unit, but it was pretty small scale." She adds, "In speaking to our IDEA committee, Dr. Blatt and Dr. Trumbo really took it on."

The residents say they hope to increase the understanding of the social and spiritual needs within the Greater Rochester Region and foster a more inclusive environment for patients to practice their personal religious beliefs within URMC.

“I think what drew me to this particular project was that it addressed some of the cultural competency concerns and being able to support a more diverse healthcare system which is important to me as a minority physician,” says Jessica Oribabor, M.D., M.S., Internal Medicine PGY-2.

After ensuring a patient is physically well enough to observe Ramadan fasting, which goes from dusk until dawn, providers can enter information into eRecord which will trigger a workflow that ensures that meals for patients observing Ramadan are delivered to units at the latest possible evening delivery time for dinners. It will also ensure that breakfasts are delivered the evening before so that patients can access them before sunrise. Meals will have no fluid limits, be fortified with higher nutritional or caloric content and include hot (microwaveable) options.  The order panel also includes a prompt to offer or encourage fluids overnight to help patients avoid dehydration.

It’s estimated about three percent of Rochester’s population is Muslim. While not every Muslim patient will observe Ramadan, it’s believed that there are up to 30 Muslim patients admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital at any one time. Not every Muslim observes the fast, much the same way not every Catholic abstains from meat on Fridays, but while accommodations are made for other faiths, they weren’t for those who fast, due to food service hours and the food available after 8 p.m., when patient food service ends, wasn’t sufficient.

Correcting this didn’t take long. Once the team met to talk over what changes needed to be made, work began in eRecord to allow providers the option to order food for patients.  Dr. Conrad Gleber, M.D., MBA, Associate Director of Clinical Informatics, Senior Instructor of Hospital Medicine, Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry says, “This job helped me take care of a patient population, that was not being cared for appropriately, and, to be honest, that is the kind of medicine I love.” He will help analyze the data once Ramadan is over to help make decisions about how to replicate this next year. He says initial feedback has been positive. He believes this project will empower others to make change.  “What I’ve learned with my job recently, now that people know that the system is adaptable, it’s like a rising tsunami, it’s slowly gaining speed, “ he says.

The URMC Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan, adopted in 2020, aims to cultivate a diverse, culturally humble, and responsive Medical Center community where all can thrive. “We want to be the employer and provider of choice. We need to recognize opportunities for improvement and then remove obstacles to make changes a reality,“ says vice president for Equity and Inclusion at the University of Rochester Medical Center and senior associate dean for Equity and Inclusion at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “This is a prime example of what can happen when process prioritizes people,” she adds.

Dr. Sheniece Griffin, DNP, RN, CNL, Nursing Director for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, University of Rochester Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing, University of Rochester School of Nursing says, “This is a wonderful initiative.  When I found about this initiative I almost shed a tear.  My faith is finally being recognized and someone is taking the initiative to go above and beyond so that patients can also still celebrate Ramadan while hospitalized.” She adds, “I think this is a great beginning to individuals feeling more welcomed and valued within this institution.  I hope it just doesn’t end here.”

“These initiatives may seem small but they make a huge difference to patients’ experience in the hospital. It makes people feel welcomed and cared for and helps further our values of inclusivity and equality, “ says Marie Laryea, M.D. B.Sc., M.D.C.M., Associate Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine.

Residents are currently working on the educational rollout about the order set. There will be an eRecord communication distributed to the faculty and staff at all hospitals.

Coming Home: Interview with Dr. Tina Young Poussaint

Monday, February 14, 2022

Tina and her fatherYou might say a career in medicine was inevitable for Tina Young Poussaint, M.D., FACR. In 1958, her father, the late Lionel W. Young, M.D., FACR, became the first Black radiology resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He was a brilliant doctor and a trailblazer but he was also a parent. And, like any parent with a sleepless child, he was eager to get her to sleep.

“When he was a Radiology resident, I guess I was the kind of baby that liked to stay up at night, so many times he would sit me on his lap and while he was reading his radiology books, I would sit there… I didn’t really like to sleep so he would put me on his knee and he would read his books, and they told me that I would then fall asleep,” Poussaint says.

Poussaint, the Lionel W. Young Chair in Radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital and professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, will enjoy a virtual homecoming to Rochester on February 23, 2022 as the 11th annual Tana A. Grady-Weliky, MD Lecture on Women and Diversity in Medicine guest speaker. Her topic is, “The Key Components for Academic Success.”

Born at Strong Memorial Hospital, she fondly recalls being raised in Rochester until she was 16. Her father and mother instilled in her the value of academic excellence, but a career in medicine wasn’t a forgone conclusion.

Tina Inez Young in high school“When I was in high school and college I thought I might be interested in medicine but it wasn’t a given that I would go into medicine because I had some other interests. I really liked math and some of the other STEM areas,” she says. A career in engineering or biomedical engineering interested her at first, but eventually, as a student at Mt. Holyoke College, career exploration projects with a pediatrician and a pathologist solidified her decision to go into medicine.

Although Poussaint chose her own path in college, she had once faced a significant obstacle from an unlikely source. Poussaint told a guidance counselor about her interest in medicine.

“She said to me, ‘Oh, that’s really hard… there are so many other areas you could go into such as nursing or medical technology. I think you should reconsider,’”recalls Poussaint. “I really loved my guidance counselor but it was discouraging. I think she meant well, but I was very disappointed and wondered if maybe I shouldn’t do this. Fortunately, I listened [to her] and pretty much moved on my own path.”

The experience had a lasting impact but didn’t deter the young scientist. Poussaint would later graduate magna cum laude from Mt. Holyoke College, where she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She would receive her medical degree, with honors, from Yale University School of Medicine and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. She completed her residency in diagnostic radiology and fellowship in neuroradiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was an attending neuroradiologist for four years. Poussaint later joined Boston Children’s Hospital as an attending neuroradiologist.

Although they worked in different subspecialities, she and her father were colleagues who attended conferences together. Dr. Florence Young, who is a retired podiatrist, would attend as well. Poussaint credits both for her success. She says more young girls need an early exposure to math and science to help reduce the disparities of women in medicine.

“This is a time when they can be very influenced and so I think it’s really important when you’re considering what the outcomes could be or the vision of what a girl can be; I think it’s really important to be encouraging,” she says.

Poussaint cites the value of pipeline programs for high school and college students. She also says institutions need to foster an equitable environment that makes learners want to stay beyond graduation day. And, though such programs are critical, she says retention is key. “Otherwise those people will leave. It’s not just about the numbers, but the environment.”

Tina Young Poussaint and her parentsThe career trajectory of women in medicine and of those who are underrepresented in medicine is of great importance to Poussaint. She connects the work of her father, who once recruited Black doctors to the University of Rochester Medical Center, to efforts today, such as the Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan, which aims to increase the recruitment and retention of people from diverse backgrounds. In fact, it was her father who recruited Ruby Belton, M.D., to Rochester. Dr. Belton became the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Poussaint’s lecture is for the Tana Grady-Weliky, M.D. Annual Lecture, an endowed lecture series established to honor the late Dr. Grady-Weliky, a former University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Senior Associate Dean for Education and Department of Psychiatry faculty member. She was nationally recognized as an expert in medical student education and in the treatment of women’s mental health disorders.

The free lecture will be on February 23, 2022 at noon on Zoom. Registration is required.

Family Legacy: Tina Young Poussaint, MD, FACR, Daughter of URMC Radiology Trailblazer is 2022 Tana A. Grady-Weliky, MD Annual Lecture Guest Speaker

Monday, January 10, 2022

Tina Young Poussaint, MD, FACR, the Lionel W. Young Chair in Radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital and professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, will enjoy a (virtual) homecoming to Rochester on February 23, 2022 as the 11th Annual Tana A. Grady-Weliky, MD Lecture on Women and Diversity in Medicine guest speaker.

Dr. Poussaint, who was born in Rochester, is principal investigator and director of the Neuroimaging Center of the NIH-funded Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and is director of Boston Children’s Hospital Neuro-Oncologic Imaging. She is also the current President of the American Society of Neuroradiology.

She comes from a legacy of academic excellence. In 1958, her father, the late Lionel W. Young, MD, FACR, was the first African-American radiology resident in the Department of Radiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He went on to establish the first Pediatric Radiology Section in the Department of Radiology. Dr. Young became a nationally and internationally recognized leader in pediatric radiology.

Dr. Pouissaint will deliver her remarks on Wednesday February 23, 2022 on Zoom at 12 p.m. Pre-registration for this free event is required. 

“We are honored to host Dr. Poussaint as our guest lecturer. She has dedicated her career to excellence in radiology benefiting countless children with cancer,” says Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D., vice president for Equity and Inclusion at the University of Rochester Medical Center and senior associate dean for Equity and Inclusion at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “She embodies the spirit of Dr. Grady-Weliky through her work and is a living example of breaking barriers in medicine,” she adds. 

Jennifer Harvey, MD, chair of the Department of Imaging Sciences, says, “Dr. Poussaint’s significant contributions to pediatric radiology make her someone to whom our learners can aspire. She leads the way for women in medicine to be recognized and celebrated and, like her father before her, she leaves an indelible mark on the science of diagnostic and therapeutic imaging technologies.”

The annual endowed lecture was established in 2011 to honor Dr. Grady-Weliky, former University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Senior Associate Dean for Education and Department of Psychiatry faculty member.  She was nationally recognized as an expert in medical student education and in the treatment of women’s mental health disorders. Dr. Grady-Weliky impacted many students, residents, fellows, and faculty through her dedication to medical education, her commitment to women and diversity in medicine and her passion for psychiatry.