Diversity & Inclusion
Thank you for visiting the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion page. We remain steadfast in ensuring that we realize the vision of Elson S. Floyd, being a community-based medical school committed to the State of Washington and an integral component of Washington State University – a public research university committed to its land-grant heritage and tradition of service to society.
We recognize diversity and inclusion are essential to achieving the mission of the WSU College of Medicine, improving access to quality health care, reducing health disparities, promoting equity and improving the health of communities in Washington State and beyond. We understand that the challenges facing our communities are complex and will not be overcome by working in isolation; therefore, we are collaborative when invited to partner with K-12 schools, universities, families, communities, and other stakeholders to implement activities to enhance current and future pathway programs for students aspiring to enter the health care professions, including women and members of underrepresented groups. In addition, we are continually aspiring and taking action toward fostering an educational environment for our students, faculty, and staff that intrinsically values diversity and inclusion: practices self-awareness, bidirectional learning, leadership, and the ability to engage patients, communities, and others with humility and respect. We are committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion strengthen the partnerships with communities served by the medical school and that our community-based faculty and graduates are prepared to advocate for the ideals of communities wherein we serve.
We thank you for taking time and energy to look at our Diversity and Inclusion pages. We hope you will join us at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in the future as we continue working towards realizing our late President Elson S. Floyd’s bold, audacious, and visionary commitment to serving the State of Washington and its people. Go Cougs!
Dr. Leila Harrison, David H. Garcia, and the Diversity Matrix Team
The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine makes the advancement of diversity and inclusion a top priority. The college strives to create an environment in which students, faculty, staff, patients and communities treat one another with mutual respect. It honors the needs and contributions of all persons through culturally responsive clinical care and research. It continuously seeks to cultivate relationships beyond the campus to open reciprocal opportunities for people, families, and communities in the state of Washington.
- Diversity: A range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.
- Inclusion: The involvement and empowerment of all, where the inherent worth and dignity of people are recognized. An inclusive culture promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.
We want you to be you at WSU!
Below are the various policies and resources within the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine which help us create an environment that embraces and values differences and seeks to make all feel valued and included.
The faculty-led Equity Committee, guided by the WSU Strategic Plan, develops and implements the college’s diversity and inclusion policy (PDF). The policy outlines strategies to achieve a diverse, inclusive environment through many channels:
“I am passionate about continuing to cultivate a culturally competent community and being a part of that community not by assimilation, but by respecting, appreciating and celebrating the uniqueness of individuals.”
—Christopher J. Davis, Ph.D., Equity Committee Chair
The WSU College of Medicine utilizes a matrix approach to inclusion. In this framework, all are responsible for helping to foster and sustain an inclusive culture. To that end, in conjunction with the Equity Committee, an Inclusive Matrix Leads working group with representation from many different areas including faculty development, student affairs, admissions, pathways, community outreach, clinical partners, and curriculum, meets to share about their respective areas in order to advocate for issues or goals within inclusion and diversity.
Below are links to various resources available to students, faculty, and staff.
- Access, Anti-Discrimination/Prohibited Bias, and Related Misconduct
- Committees and Councils
The college recruits and works to retain faculty and staff from a variety of backgrounds. To provide an educational environment that respects diverse ideas, cultures, and people, it welcomes differences in:
- Gender Identity and Expression
- Sexual orientation
Recruitment and hiring
The Equity Committee has adopted best practices and guidelines for search committees to use during recruitment and hiring processes. They aim to attract a talented and diverse applicant pool, reduce unconscious or implicit bias in ratings and recommendations, and promote diversity and inclusion in hiring.
In 2018, an Inclusive Excellence Training for Search Committees policy was created to train search committee members on how to reflect on how bias can impact the recruitment and hiring of a diverse faculty, administration, and staff. One of the goals in this policy is to have a 100% of search committee members trained in Inclusive Excellence within 36 months of its implementation.
We also have a group of faculty and staff who serve as Ambassadors to help answer questions for those who are considering employment with the College of Medicine.
Monitoring internal climate
Climate surveys for faculty, staff and students are used to inform quality improvement for all people teaching and learning in the College of Medicine.
Dialogue among committee members and invitees at each meeting to communicate past and current climate and opportunities to improve equity and inclusion.
Faculty members play an important role in ensuring that the college community values diversity and creates an inclusive environment for students. Training in cultural competency equips faculty to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and appreciate differences and commonalities with others.
Training is offered through the Office of Equity and Diversity.
Enrichment programs encourage the college community to embrace diversity in the faculty. These programs enable the community to recognize inherent bias. They help faculty members feel supported and accepted in the working environment.
The college’s awareness activities are conducted in collaboration with WSU Health Sciences Spokane.
The WSU College of Medicine values a college culture which is intentional about supporting and including all faculty, staff, and students. Our founding Dean, Dr. John Tomkowiak is a key supporter of building an organizational culture as our espoused and lived values in our work.
The Culture Champions Working Group:
- Develops and nurtures initiatives and practices that cultivate a thriving culture.
- Takes the pulse of the College of Medicine culture, serving as a sounding board and advocates for faculty, staff, and students.
- Models the aspirational values of the College of Medicine in daily work, communication, etc.
- Learns from and collaborates with like-minded volunteers from across the College of Medicine.
As part of its commitment to diversity, the college recruits a broad diversity of future students we believe will help us fulfill our mission and goals. Students who have grown up in rural or underserved areas or have volunteered with these populations are encouraged to apply. Additionally, the college encourages those who have military service, are innovative or entrepreneurs, are first-generation college graduates, non-traditionally aged students, enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, or have overcome personal, life, or educational hardships to apply. Ultimately, we are seeking applicants who can help us fulfill our mission, vision and goals to solve problems in challenging healthcare environments, especially within Washington rural and underserved areas and populations.
We identify financial resources to mitigate the cost of medical education for students. The Student Scholarship Committee establishes procedures and criteria to award college-directed scholarships. Information about scholarship support can be found here.
The college has adopted a holistic set of attributes and experiences it seeks in its candidates for the MD program. The selection criteria ensure that the student body is broadly diverse in the context of federal and state law.
Balanced review of candidates
The Admissions Committee balances the importance of grade-point average and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores with consideration of an applicant’s life experiences, personal attributes, and academic metrics.
Interviews that focus on attributes
The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) interview modality provides an opportunity for the interview team to better understand applicants’ depth of characteristics which will help them train in medicine and become compassionate physicians. This interview process includes 8 highly structured independent interviews provided a broad understanding of the applicant.
The process of selecting medical school students conforms to Washington state law (RCW 49.60.400), which prohibits discrimination against or preferential treatment for any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.
The medical education curriculum explores health disparities that disproportionately impact diverse populations. It addresses the following issues:
- Health disparities
- Population health
- Social determinants of health
- Cultural competency/linguistic competence
- Unconscious/implicit bias
Medical students earn a leadership certificate through training that spans the four-year curriculum. At its core, this program is about problem-solving. It prepares graduates to deliver quality health care in the face of scarce resources. It shows them how to work as part of a team, engage peers, and build synergies among different personalities. It gives tomorrow’s physicians the tools to advocate for their patients, bring about positive change, and address health disparities prevalent in rural and underserved communities.
Students train in teams that span the fields of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and more. This collaborative approach produces physicians who are more likely to show respect and positive attitudes toward fellow professionals and work to improve patient outcomes. They learn the importance of delivering culturally appropriate care with humility.
Diversity among mentors, peers, and community members
In the college’s dispersed model of medical education, students learn at clinical sites across the state, many with diverse populations. These experiences enrich the education of medical students.
Support services help students from all diverse backgrounds successfully transition to and succeed in the medical education program. Student Affairs employs a 10-year Individual Success Plan to support our students. Services that promote retention include:
In addition, the college is raising funds to build extracurricular programs and activities, as well as scholarship funds, to retain a diverse class.
A sampling of student organizations that work to advance diversity and inclusion are listed below. For a complete list of registered student organizations and information about the activities of each, visit CougSync or Student Interest Groups with a full listing found here.
- Health Equity Circle
- LGBTIQ+ Health
- Medical Spanish
Resources that span all WSU locations
The college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion reaches across the state. During your first two years of medical education, resources on the Spokane Health Sciences Campus create an inclusive climate. During your clinical clerkships, you will continue to have access to an infrastructure that promotes diversity and works to protect equal rights for all students—regardless of your location.