Fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in science and medicine is an ongoing challenge for medical schools in the United States. Despite the increasing diversity of the communities we serve as a nation, we continue to lag behind in achieving parity in diversity among our faculty and students in our nation’s medical schools. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges 2014 Diversity in the Physician Workforce: Facts & Figures report, in 2013, out of the total U.S. MD active physicians, 4.1 percent were Black or African American, 4.4 percent were Hispanic or Latino, 0.4 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native. Further, recent data from the AAMC show that in 2014, approximately 11 percent of total enrolled medical students came from racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in medicine, according to the AAMC Medical School Applicant Biographic Research Database. In addition, while improving diversity in schools of medicine is important, even more challenging is realizing the benefits that a diverse student body and faculty bring.
At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), diversity in medicine and research is critical because it serves to drive institutional excellence, making our outstanding institution even stronger. Our programs support every aspect of the mission of the School—clinical care, research, and education—and are very much aligned with our commitment to ensuring access to educational opportunities for individuals from underserved communities.
Our Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs (CMCA) and our senior leadership lead our efforts to promote diversity. Building on our longstanding foundation of educational pipeline programs, the CMCA provides programs and initiatives that span the educational and training path from junior high school through medical school. The CMCA also facilitates research on issues related to minority communities and supports partnerships with our community for students and faculty.
We also offer a wide range of programs and resources that provide mentoring and other support mechanisms.
For over 40 years, our Center for Excellence in Youth Education helps more than 200 students each year, from grade seven through college, prepare for careers in science and health care with a range of school-year and summer programs geared to youth who belong to groups underrepresented in medicine. Our Office for Women’s Careers offers opportunities for women faculty to network across departments, serves as an advocacy and mentoring resource, and provides a forum for support, education, and discussion.
In addition, the School works closely with a number of councils and groups that support and implement system-wide policies and initiatives to advance diversity and inclusion, notably the Mount Sinai Health System Executive Diversity Leadership Board, the ISMMS Faculty Diversity Council, the ISMMS Diversity in Biomedical Research Council, and the CMCA GME Diversity Committee.
Our efforts have supported substantial increases in diversity among our medical student body and our faculty over the past decade, making the Icahn School of Medicine one of the most diverse private schools of medicine in the nation—one reason why we were named to the 2015 Diversity Inc “Top 5 Hospitals and Health Systems” list and 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award. We invite you to learn more about the unique programs we provide, which reflect our commitment to diversity, academic excellence, and, ultimately, to improving health equity.