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: The college introduced a new module in the fall semester first-year experience (FYE) entitled “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 Course - Democratizing Healthcare: A Discourse on Equity and Action: Dr. Amy Hobek and Dr. Francoise Kazimierczuk created and obtained approval for this honors course which will be launched in the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • HLTH 2011 – Health Care Ethics:  A case study was added to this course to reflect conversations around health inequities as it relates to COVID; embedded within this course are other opportunities to engage in DEI discussion.  
  • HLTH 3100: Mid Collegiate Touchpoint Conference: This annual interdisciplinary conference included DEI related discussion points to facilitate conversations around health inequities and access to care.

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. 
  • Several programs addressed their involvement and representation at their national and state professional organizations to address resources, mentorship, funding and guidance for more enhanced diversity within our professions. 

Education & Trainings

  • Dr. Amy Hobek developed a self-assessment tool, with faculty input, that will be used to evaluate courses for inclusive teaching. 
  • During the faculty/staff retreat this summer, Dr. Benjamin Reese Jr., PsyD, a leader in the areas of implicit bias, systemic and structural racism, and diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, was invited to present “Systemic Racism and Bias in the Academy.” 
    • As part of the training, faculty and staff completed the Implicit Association Test and a series of videos and articles in order to help educate and reflect. 
  • Faculty and staff have been and continue to be engaged in university trainings/offerings: 
  • The Alumni Association has developed a 5-part series exploring the historical and current realities of health inequities in our society and community. 
  • The Inclusive Excellence workshops and offerings through the UC Office of Equity and Inclusion. 
  • Standing in Solidarity was hosted by the UC Office of Equity and Inclusion.  These sessions occurred in late-Summer 2020 and 60+ CAHS faculty and staff participated.

Student Access & Engagement

  • On November 2nd, a Health Inequities Student Discussion was hosted by student representatives from the College of Allied Health Sciences Tribunal, Black Social Workers, and Multicultural Concerns in CSD. Students participated in a webinar followed by break-out room discussions where students were able to have meaningful discussions on topics such as the lack of diversity in health care, building trust with patients, cultural humility, implicit bias and more. 
  • Additional opportunities will be planned and communicated each semester.  Students are encouraged to visit CampusLink events and take part in Black History Month events for additional opportunities across the university.  
  • Several graduate programs have made modifications in recruitment and admissions strategies to improve access and admissions for URM (under-represented minority) students
  • Central State University pipeline programming has resulted in 10 admissions/8 students entering the Social Work program.
  • Physical Therapy and Athletic Training programs have implemented changes in use of standardized tests, reformatted fees and are more strategically using graduate school funds to improve access.

I am proud of the continued work of our CAHS and UC Community. 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 going on within the university, your community, place of employment, or alongside your professional organizations/affinity groups. You can also get involved in CAHS specific DEI initiatives through mentoring opportunities and more. Reach out to Monica Wilkins, Director of Diversity Initiatives and Recruitment at monica.wilkins@uc.edu if you are interested in getting involved. 

Best regards,

Tina F. Whalen, PT, EdD, DPT, MPA, FNAP
Dean, Professor
College of Allied Health Sciences
University of Cincinnati
Email: 
whalentf@ucmail.uc.edu

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.