Make Diversity and Inclusion IntentionalMake Diversity and Inclusion Intentional

We will reflect the diversity of the populations and staff we serve in our teams, programs and communications; and be inclusive in our processes and decisions.

Statement of Importance:

The populations we serve are increasingly diverse with growing health inequities, and the people working at Vanderbilt represent this growing diversity. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our success in reducing health disparities in the populations we serve. Moreover, a workforce that is diverse and inclusive in nature is more effective at crafting innovative solutions to the major challenges of health care and executing those solutions as a team.

VUMC Diversity Timeline (PDF Version)

Full Vanderbilt Diversity Timeline

Full Timeline (larger image | PDF Version)

Vanderbilt Diversity Timeline Start to 1960

Timeline Detail 1: Start-1960 (Larger Image)


Vanderbilt Diversity Timeline 1960-2000

Timeline Detail 2: 1960-2000 (Larger Image)


Vanderbilt Diversity Timeline 2000-Present

Timeline Detail 3: 2000-Present (Larger Image)

  • Our collaborative culture to be inclusive, and to reflect the diversity of the populations we serve
  • Diversity of our teams, faculty and leadership
    • Establishing the Chief Diversity Officer position (Andre Churchwell) to provide leadership across mission areas and the VUSM Office of Diversity Affairs to support programs of the School of Medicine.
    • Appointing a Senior Associate Dean and an Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs for the School of Medicine.
    • Continuing URM second look weekends for residency programs and establishing second look weekends for fellowship programs.
    • Recruiting the highest percentage ever of URM residents for the cohort entering in July 2020.
    • Section of Surgical Sciences New Leaders Developing D&I people pillar goals, beginning with inclusion of underrepresented minorities (URM) in the applicant pool and retention of URM faculty.
    • Increasing diversity of Clinical Department Chairs, 16% are women and URM compared to AAMC average of 7%.
  • Strategies to achieve health equity and reduce health disparities in all programs, internally and in the communities VUMC serve
    • Establishing the vice president for health equity and associate dean for health equity (Consuelo Wilkins) and the Office of Health Equity  to connect and coordinate existing community health and health equity initiatives from across the organization while scaling system-wide efforts to identify and address disparities in health (more).
    • Over 200 ongoing Health Equity initiatives across the research, education and clinical/population health mission areas of VUMC housed in the OHE’s Health Equity Inventory.
    • Inclusion of a developmental goal focused on Health Equity in the VUMC Pillar Goals; the developmental goal will focus on collecting high-quality race, ethnicity and language data on VUMC patients.  In concert with Health IT, the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTQ Health made recommendations for collecting sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data in eStar that reflect the unique identities of all our patients more accurately. The plan is to roll out new data collection tools in late 2020.
    • Establishing a MyHealth@Vanderbilt workgroup to address barriers to accessing care through the portal and to develop tactics to improve access to care. 
    • Trans Buddy Volunteers Establishing clinical programs to support LGBTQ patients.  Examples include: Trans Buddy program with trained volunteers to support  transgender patients during any kind of healthcare visit; patient phone line and webpage to direct LGBTQ patients to find culturally competent care; opening two clinics – one pediatric and one adult – focused on transgender health; performing a full array of gender affirmation surgeries for transgender patients; adding wrap-around services like case management, behavioral health, social work, OB/GYN, and surgical consults in a more patient-centered approach.
    • Engaging with the community to address health equity.  Created the first LGBTQ Health Supplement of the Community Health Needs Assessment and are providing leadership to a community-wide LGBTQ Health Task Force and participating in a health equity task force for the Mayor’s Ending the HIV Epidemic Plan.
    • Launched the Certificate in Health Equity at VUSM for students who wish to deepen their knowledge and expertise to become future health equity leaders.
    • Established the student-led Social Mission Committee within the School of Medicine.
    • Temporarily transitioned the student-run Shade Tree Clinic into a telehealth clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that the underserved population that accesses that clinic continued to receive care.
    • Student-led volunteer efforts to address food inadequacy issues in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Expanding LGBTQ health education programs including the LGBTQ Health internship (since 2015 engaged 21 students in the only LGBTQ health pipeline program in the country for students committed to serving LGBTQ people and championing best practices of treating sexual and gender minority patients at their respective institutions; the premier annual educational symposium on LGBTQ health in the Southeast; on-demand education for clinical teams.
  • Representation of our diversity in recognition and awards
    • Creating faculty and staff awards named after women and URMs.     
    • VUMC Awarded 2018 and 2019 TOP HOSPITALS FOR DIVERSITY:
    • VUMC Awarded “Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index Leadership Award” (2012 – 2019)”.

  • A welcoming and inclusive environment where diverse cultures see themselves within the fabric of the organization
    • Light Hall Faculty PortraitsAdding portraits that reflect and celebrate the diverse nature of our community, faculty, students and staff.
    • Creating an annual celebration of Hidden Figures an Honor Wall that is updated each year that has a picture and a description of each Hidden Figure’s contribution to the Medical Center’s culture and history.
    • Creating an organic Vanderbilt Diversity Timeline that in a linear fashion notes when key positions and events occurred that add to our D&I experiences richness.
    • Exploring opportunities for employees to put the personal pronouns they use on their badges. As transgender and non-binary identities become more visible, this will be helpful to employees and demonstrate our commitment to serving people of all gender identities.
    • Acting upon the recommendations of the Learning Environment Task Force.
    • Monitoring the environment through the annual Learning Environment Assessment and Feedback report card.
  • A consciousness to elements of diversity, equity and inclusion
    • Increasing self-awareness of unconscious bias to prepare the Medical Center workforce to exercise “constructive uncertainty” in the decisions they make around hiring, promoting, program development, and interpersonal interactions.  Trained the entire Medical Center on how to identify and respond to UCB, and developed patient satisfaction metrics sensitive to UCB training.
    • Developing D&I service pillar goals.  Added patient satisfaction metrics sensitive to UCB training.
    • Incorporating empathy mapping into VUMC strategy design events.
    • Developing a plan to confront racial inequities and establishing a Racial Equity Task Force.
    • Committing to develop a comprehensive personalized compensation philosophy for our workforce.
  • Processes that ensure diverse voices and perspectives in decision making and communication at all levels
    • Creating the Executive Diversity Council that includes Medical Center leadership with the intent to educate all on our ongoing D&I activities and catalyze all senior leaders to own D&I as part of their official function.
    • Developing the Diversity & Inclusion Intentionality Planning Tool for use in formation of  Medical Center committees and ensuring multiple perspectives in decision making.  For example, Medical Center Marketing uses the Intentionality Tool to ensure the patient portal message and use promulgates to all races, ethnicities, people of color, LGBT couples, etc.
  • Resources and coaching to help academic and clinical units promote and improve diversity and inclusion in all of their activities
    • Developing Medical Center‐wide workforce climate policies and processes on Uncivil Behavior and how to respond.  Programs rolled out, and in process, include those on Sexual Harassment and Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities.
    • Creating Diversity Liaison teams that connect to the ODA that embed the best practices of diversity and inclusion into the clinical and non‐clinical departments’ culture.

Contacts and Partnerships diagram