Message from Dean Whalen: Call to Action Update

Update on the College of Allied Health Sciences' call to action

Dear CAHS Community: 

The College of Allied Health Sciences has been working on many levels the past months in response to the escalation in racial inequities that have shaken our society and CAHS community.  We continue to stand firmly against racism in any form and we thank you for inspiring our continued call to action.    

One of the college’s Strategic Goals includes focused efforts around diversity and inclusion (located below) and our recent work seeks to not only reaffirm our commitment to the tenets of this goal, but also outline next steps to the members of the CAHS community. 

“Goal 5 – CAHS will foster a culture of inclusion and community to attract diverse students, faculty, and staff whose knowledge, skill and perspectives enhance their ability to provide health care, education and social services.”  

The following are some of the plans related to Goal 5 that are in progress at the college and departmental levels. This is not an all-inclusive list but provides insight on the initiatives that are in progress:

Curriculum & Courses

Undergraduate Level

  • HLTH 1001 – Success in Allied Health I: This week’s first-year experience course module focuses on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Students will discuss “Living in a World of Diversity”. As in prior years, the spring semester will continue to include a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) themed module. 
  • HLTH 3011 Democratizing Healthcare: A Discourse on Equity and Action: Dr. Amy Hobek and Dr. Francoise Kazimierczuk will offer this Honors course which is now available for Spring 2022 enrollment in Catalyst.
  • HLTH 3100: Mid Collegiate Touchpoint Conference: This annual interdisciplinary conference recently concluded in October 2021 and included DEI related discussion points to facilitate conversations around health inequities and access to care.
  • Programs in CAHS are looking at ways to enhance the students' study abroad experience (post-COVID) inclusive of Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

Graduate Level

  • There were an impressive number of curricular updates across programs to focus upon E&I topics including implicit bias, health disparities and social determinants of health, cultural awareness, and service to the underserved communities/populations.  
  • Online graduate programs in Health Informatics, Respiratory Therapy, and Medical Laboratory Science Leadership are creating DEI focused modules in their curricula. 
  • All CSD graduate programs will have a required course added entitled “Culturally Responsive Service Delivery in Speech-Language Pathology.”  

Structural Transformation and Communication

  • DEI Committee – The CAHS Diversity Council is undergoing restructuring to 1. create a formal committee structure within the college and 2. create subcommittees that reflect the five pillars of DEI focused work. 
  • DEI Inventory – The DEI inventory which is maintained for all college initiatives in DEI is now updated and housed on the CAHS intranet site, providing greater access and visibility.

Education & Trainings

  • Dr. Amy Hobek developed a tool entitled “A Self-Assessment Tool to Guide Anti-racist and Culturally Inclusive Pedagogy” with faculty input. This tool will be used to evaluate courses for inclusive teaching and is being formally launched this semester. 
  • Faculty and staff have been and continue to be engaged in university trainings/offerings:  
  • The Inclusive Excellence Conference on ‘Creating an Accelerant Culture” is currently being hosted and attended by many CAHS faculty and staff. Other IE workshops and offerings through the UC Office of Equity and Inclusion are attended as well. 
  • One staff member (Katie Heyd) completed a 2-year certification in the Equal Opportunity (EO) Academy offered by the UC Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. CAHS has two faculty/staff members currently enrolled in the EO Academy. 
  • A number of CAHS faculty have attended DEI offerings at professional conferences.

Student Access & Engagement

  • Student leaders from across the college are coming together to present, “Allied Health Jeopardy” a fun, virtual game during Allied Health Week on Monday, Nov 8th. Register now.
    • Additional opportunities at the college and university level will be planned and communicated each semester. Students are encouraged to visit CampusLink events for all current programming. 
  • The CAHS MHI program and UC Online are piloting a student ambassador program to enhance online student engagement within the CAHS community. 
  • The Diversity Enrichment Project has given underrepresented undergraduate allied health students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) a series of seminars and a chance to visit UC’s campus for Welcome Weekend.  Over the past five years a total of twelve Welcome Weekend students have been admitted to one of our graduate programs. 
  • The College of Allied Health Sciences’ Connections Mentoring Program celebrated 10 years of matching underrepresented CAHS students with a mentor currently working/studying in the student’s field of interest. While the COVID-19 pandemic made connecting more challenging – the pairs were able to benefit from virtual support options and engagement. 

Research and Scholarly Activities

  • The college is currently establishing an interdisciplinary faculty research group that will include research that is DEI focused.
  • CAHS provides funding and administrative support for DEI related research. In the past academic year, CAHS faculty participated in 14 research projects, 23 peer-reviewed publications and 13 presentations that addressed issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I am proud of the continued work of our CAHS and UC Community. Our call to action and efforts thusfar have been recognized on a national level – we’ve been awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award for the 3rd year in a row. We will continue to provide regular updates to inform, engage and encourage feedback on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.  We encourage you to get involved in DEI efforts through your coursework, within your department, or alongside student or professional organizations/affinity groups.

Best regards,

Tina F. Whalen, PT, EdD, DPT, MPA, FNAP
Dean, Professor
College of Allied Health Sciences
University of Cincinnati

Inclusive excellence 

More than simply a metric, inclusion is the driving force behind the University of Cincinnati’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here. By activating inclusion, the university amplifies its impact.