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The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Committee (DISC) was launched in January 2017. The committee is comprised of faculty members, trainees (residents, fellows, psychology interns and postdoctoral residents), and staff. Since its inception, the DISC has:

Created a Diversity Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Infrastructure and Culture

  • Developed a mission and goals statement
  • Created a logo
  • Launched a website
  • Achieved the appointment by the department of a Vice Chair for Faculty Development, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and an Assistant Vice Chair for Faculty Development – DEI focus
  • Created a diversity consultation service -consultants for various diversity topics related to race, ethnicity, language, disability, religion, sexual orientation, sexual identity, refugees and immigration, and implicit bias, etc.- Consultants, who are available to provide advice regarding patient care, educational, and/or research matters, provide services that cover approximately 20 languages and 30 topics

Took Active Steps toward Improving the Departmental DEI Culture

  • Receive consultations from grand rounds speakers about current activities and future initiatives
  • Co-sponsor department-wide forum related to improving the culture related to DEI
  • Updated Diversity Engagement Guidelines for the department

Provide DEI-Related Education

  • Sponsor 1-2 grand rounds speakers each year and received consultation from the speaker (e.g., Muslim mental Health, transgender behavioral health, implicit bias in healthcare, Jim Crow in the Asylum, Vascular Disease and Depression in Black Older Adults, cultural formulations) and expanded the diversity of the grand rounds committee members
  • Sponsor programs for the department and family members related to diversity (e.g., reading of a children’s book about talking to children about racial injustice -written by current and former faculty members)
  • Offer monthly information in the department newsletter about key days in the Diversity Calendar (when possible, individuals associated with a particular demographic group shared their personal experiences as well as factual information about a particular day)
  • Disseminate emails in response to DISC relevant current events (e.g., deaths of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Congressman John Lewis, C.T. Vivian) that provide additional readings and recommended actions
  • Sponsor panel discussions and workshops related to diversity (e.g., Transgender Panel: presentation and then discussion about unconscious bias)
  • Hold conversations about diversity-related movies and books (e.g., Congressman John Lewis’ book, Across that bridge)

Advance DEI within the Training Programs

  • Provide implicit bias training for faculty and trainees involved in residency recruitment
  • Revised the residents’ diversity curriculum and assume responsibility for it
  • Have a member of the DISC available for each residency recruitment day so applicants can ask questions about DISC and the department and program’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity
  • Updated training brochures to be clear about welcoming international students and addressed challenges for these applicants and ways to overcome these

Partner with Others to Improve the Lives of Local Refugees and Immigrants

  • Provide psychoeducational workshops to youth at a local refugee community center
  • Partner with colleagues to provide asylum evaluations
  • Secure and implement research grants to address the mental health needs of the local refugee community

Assume a Leadership Role in Advancing Anti-Racism

  • Develop and disseminate communications to the department in response to hate crimes (e.g., murder of trans and gender non-conforming individuals; murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery; Al Noor Mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand; shootings at the kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey and the Chabad of Potway outside of San Diego, California)
  • Held a series of well-attended anti-racism town halls that led to the articulation of a series of action steps
  • Developed and implement a program to train faculty, staff, and trainees as diversity dialogue facilitators and secured funds to support these efforts
  • Create and disseminate anti-racism actions guides with action steps
  • Participate in the Atlanta Behavioral Health Advocates (ABHA) Psychology Today blog by crafting DEI-focused blogs

Engage in DEI-Related Scholarship

  • Partnered with the Women Faculty Subcommittee and the Racial and Ethnic Minority Faculty Subcommittee to detail departmental DEI efforts in an article that was published in Focus: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry
  • Took the lead in creating a diversity in research curriculum for K23 recipients and T32 residents in the Brain Health Center