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Virtual Residency Program Diversity FAQ

At the University of Iowa Health Care, we are committed to enhancing the learning experience for everyone and are dedicated to our core values of education, clinical care and research. We believe that bringing different groups together leads to a rich diversity of ideas, perspectives, values and overall excellence of our institution which benefits our colleagues and importantly our patients.

In the clinical learning environment the diversity of our faculty and trainees has a strong, positive effect on the quality of medical education to help break down stereotypes and racial biases, challenge assumptions, broaden perspectives about racial, ethnic and cultural differences and increased trainees awareness of health and health care disparities.

We value equity as ensuring fair treatment, access to opportunity, and advancement for all resident physician, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Finally, we strive to create an inclusive environment in which our resident and fellow physicians feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. 

Please view the following informational videos:

Mentor's View

Mark Wilson, MD, Associate Dean for GME

Our Values

Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, UI Health Care

Frequently asked questions

What is it like living in Iowa? What was it like finding a community outside the hospital?

See resident physician’s perspectives on their experiences at Iowa.

Additional information on life in Iowa City.

Does the University of Iowa have any daycare options inside the hospital, or any recommendations for working moms for childcare?

Iowa City is a great place to raise a family. There are several child care options available to parents outside of the hospital.

Are there opportunities for residents to work with the underserved populations?

Yes! There are several options for house staff members to work with underserved populations in our community. The Iowa City Free Medical Clinic and Mobile Clinic are examples. Please check with your department of interest to explore specialty specific opportunities.

How is a culture of diversity and inclusion fostered at your institution? How are the residents involved? Current diversity initiatives for residents?

The Office of GME established the House Staff Diversity Collaborative in 2020, which is composed of an interdepartmental group of resident and fellow physicians focused on providing support to underrepresented in medicine house staff members and creating a more inclusive learning environment.

The goals of the collaborative are to foster house staff professional and leadership development, provide mentorship and networking opportunities, and support outreach pipeline programing and recruitment. Please check with your department of interest to explore specialty specific opportunities.

What education are you offering/requiring of your staff for things like unconscious bias?

The Carver College of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion provides diversity educational programming and training on a number of topics including: Implicit Bias, Bystander to Upstander training, Cultural Competence and Culturally Responsive Care, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) training, Fair Search and Hire Practices, etc.

Can you highlight a specific example of events and initiatives clinics that increases exposure to different cultures and ethnicities?

Several initiatives and programs are available to provide a range of diversity resources, educational materials, cultural enrichment and acclimation programs for members of the Carver College of Medicine and UI Health Care community. Some of these initiatives include Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa Conference, Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa Conference, Culture Vision, Mobile Clinic, UI Health Care Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Clinic, etc.

What are some ways that your program or hospital supported faculty/residents of color during last year’s sociopolitical climate?

In an effort to hear and support our trainees, faculty and staff, several listening sessions were held throughout the institution. As a result of these listening sessions, the Dean created a UI Health Care DEI task force to make recommendations in three major areas including:

  • Patient Initiated Identity Harassment and Health Disparities
  • Recruitment and Retention
  • Environment and Culture

The final recommendations are to be announced in early 2021.

Does the health insurance provided to GME students cover gender affirming surgery?

Yes. Coverage for gender affirming surgery is available for faculty, staff and any UI student, graduate and undergraduate students.

What support do physicians with disabilities receive?

At the University of Iowa, we strive to provide equal opportunity based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA) in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, hiring benefits, treatment, etc.

How are issues of discrimination from patients handled? Have there been incidents of discrimination in the past whether from patients or internally and how would the program respond?

We believe that patient harassment is an underrecognized and pervasive issue in the clinical education environment. The GMEs work to address patient harassment and discrimination stemmed from the work of one of our resident physicians based on personal experiences with verbal sexual harassment.

A few years ago, Dr. Lauren Hock, an ophthalmology resident, took a leadership role and created a response toolkit and educational workshop to address patient initiated verbal sexual harassment. The importance of this work and need to expand it to other identity groups was recognized and adopted by the GME and CCOM DEI office.

A climate survey was distributed to determine experiences of our house staff members with patient and visitor harassment. GME guidelines were created to provide house staff members, faculty and program directors guidance on what to do when these incidents occur and these guidelines encompass reporting, responding in real time, bystander intervention, documentation and how to escalate concerns.

We instituted response training sessions during the Transition to Professional Development for new residents and fellows. Finally, the GME received a grant through the American Medical Association (AMA) to develop a GME-wide training workshops. This has been recognized on the institutional level with goals of instituting a strong value statement and establishing a reporting system to monitor and address incidents as they occur.

What are your plans for addressing inequalities in patient outcomes/patient care and the lack of representation in medicine? How are disparities in health care addressed and opportunities for residents to participate? Health care disparity research?

Lack of representation in medicine is being addressed through robust pipeline programming at every level of the educational continuum.

Addressing inequities and disparities in health care: The last year of the pandemic has highlighted the stark health inequities among Black and Brown communities. Although work is being done at the individual departmental level, the institution quickly realized the need for a systematic and meaning approach to obtaining data and impacting change in a robust and evidence-based manner. The Dean tasked the DEI task force to make recommendations surrounding Health Disparities to centralize and strengthen our approach to these important issues.