Meaningful progress on diversity, equity, inclusion as UNR Med open doors for faculty, staff and learners from all backgrounds

News & Events

By Nicole Jacobs, Ph.D., associate dean of diversity and inclusion

A photo of the Student Outreach Clinic (SOC) Learner Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award certificate.

UNR Med's 2021 Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award recognizes the Student Outreach Clinic and Christy Jerz, communications marketing director, for their efforts in improving diversity efforts at UNR Med and in the community.

At UNR Med, we wholeheartedly understand that our diverse faculty, staff and learners strengthen our teaching, scholarship and clinical care missions. Like most medical schools, our mission is tied to excellence in teaching, research and patient care. One of the things that makes UNR Med so special, however, is our mission's fourth pillar: excellence in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

UNR Med's Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) supports this mission through initiatives that increase the diversity of the health care workforce, educate a culturally sensitive and humble workforce, and promote a culture of inclusion and equity.  

Educate a culturally sensitive and humble workforce to reduce health care disparities  

ODI seeks to increase the cultural competence and humility of our current health care workforce by helping to develop and deliver curricular content for medical students, Physician Assistant students and residents with classes on topics such as implicit bias, strategies to mitigate bias, health care disparities, structural racism in health care, microaggressions and active bystander intervention, and cultural humility. The Implicit Bias Research Group at UNR Med helps to develop and assess the impact of some of this curricular content.  

Through the annual Inclusive Medicine Series, ODI engages the community on thought-provoking and sometimes uncomfortable topics. ODI's 5th annual Inclusive Medicine Series, "MeToo Comes to Medicine: Transforming the Culture to Promote Gender Equality," will be held Tuesday, April 6 from 5-6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Oncologist and equity advocate Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil. will speak about the persistent under-representation of women among leaders of the medical profession, even in an era when half of all medical students are female.  

In addition, UNR Med and University Health learners, staff and faculty are invited to participate in monthly Diversity Dialogues and quarterly Diversity Health Series discussions on topics such as privilege, oppression, microaggressions, structural racism, health equity, allyship and how to be an anti-racist. Ongoing DEI activities can be found on our events calendar, and everyone is welcome.  

Increase diversity of the health care workforce  

Increasing the diversity of the health care workforce has been shown to improve access to and quality of patient care. UNR Med's Office of Admissions and Student Affairs has a number of outreach and pipeline programs to increase the number of applicants who identify with our Mission Based Diversity Groups (MBDGs). These programs have been tremendously successful, and the diversity of our students allows them to break down stereotypes and learn from one another in a manner that creates more richness in their educational experience.  

ODI has developed an internal pipeline program, known as the Academy for Development in Academic Medicine (ADAM). This three-year longitudinal program teaches UNR Med residents, fellows, graduate and post-doctoral students the skills they will need to be successful applicants to faculty positions, including skills in teaching, scholarship and leadership. Over 70% of the participants in the ADAM Program identify with at least one MBDG.  

ODI also oversees the Leadership Development Academy, designed to teach leadership skills to current UNR Med faculty and staff so they can thrive and advance in academic medicine.  

With respect to increasing the diversity of faculty, UNR Med is one of seven institutions across the country to participate in a AAMC pilot of Holistic Review for Faculty Recruitment and Advancement, and we are in the process of implementing the framework and evaluating its impact. UNR Med is also building partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Hispanic Serving Institutions in order to recruit faculty from diverse backgrounds.  

Promote a culture of inclusion and equity  

The value of diversity shines most brightly when there is a climate of inclusion and equity. UNR Med strives to maintain a culture where people from all backgrounds are welcomed, included and valued.  

Every person at UNR Med has a role to play in upholding this climate. Our commitment to DEI begins during new faculty and staff orientation, and our expectations are reinforced, acknowledged and celebrated during annual evaluations.  

Through a generous philanthropical donation, ODI has been able to create two yearly Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (EDEI) Awards. The EDEI Awards recognize innovative leadership, excellence, and impact from an individual or team responsible for developing and implementing an outstanding and effective program or initiative that advances diversity, equity and/or inclusion at UNR Med.

  • In 2021, the Student Outreach Clinic (SOC) received the Learner Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award for providing culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate care to underserved populations. In addition, the SOC diversifies the health care workforce by offering opportunities for premedical students to gain clinical experience through volunteerism.
  • The 2021 Faculty Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award was presented to Christy Jerz, communications marketing director. Christy helps build a climate of equity and inclusion by serving on the Council on Diversity Initiatives and Anti-Racism Communication Sub-Committee, providing timely messaging about UNR Med's commitment to DEI, sharing stories that elevate the voices of marginalized groups and demonstrating a personal commitment to advancing equity.  

Climate surveys at UNR Med indicate high levels of satisfaction with diversity and inclusion efforts. Last year, UNR Med participated in a AAMC pilot of the Foundation Principles of Inclusion Excellence workshops and conducted deep-dive sessions with several units and departments, resulting in meaningful conversations about the current climate of inclusivity and concrete steps for how to continue to create inclusive excellence at UNR Med.  

To learn more about how you can contribute to the School of Medicine's culture of inclusivity and equity, visit med.unr.edu/diversity or contact me directly at nnjacobs@med.unr.edu


Media Contacts

Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen, MPA
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Released: Tuesday March 30, 2021 @ 8:30 AM