Updates on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at RVU

Written by Adrian Clark, Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Contributions by Catherine Lewis Saenz

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council (DEIAC) is working its way through the recommendations provided by the four DEI task force groups (Climate, Communication, Curriculum, and Community). Twenty-six of the recommendations were given the green light for immediate implementation. Of those recommendations, eleven have already been completed (nine of which have been classified as ongoing rather than one-time events). Of the green-lit recommendations, fifteen are still in progress.

As a means of addressing several of the recommendations, RVU recently launched Ethics Point, an online application that both students and employees may use to report any issues of concern. This electronic process allows the University to investigate and respond to non-emergency concerns. Users may initiate their complaints or questions anonymously if they wish. See the back cover for more information.

A search is now underway for the new Vice-President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Carol Blackshire-Belay, PhD, Vice-President for Institutional Effectiveness, will serve as chair of the search committee for this new position. The position opening was posted internally at the end of November.

On the following pages, you will find both student initiatives to explore DEI, as well as the aforementioned recommendations and statuses. The DEIAC and RVU are committed to continuing the process of ensuring Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are a integral components of the University culture.

September 13: Adverse Childhood Effects

Trauma Informed Care Series

This event was presented by Dr. Robin Dickinson, a Board-Certified Family Medicine Physician, who has designed her practice to meet the needs of patients with prior trauma and mental health struggles. This was an interactive session to show participants how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) can impact future patients from a clinical perspective.

September 24: Celebration of Cultures

With the stresses of school, work, and everyday life, there isn’t much opportunity to show our unique backgrounds. Celebration of Cultures allowed students, faculty, and staff to creatively showcase a bit of their culture to the rest of the RVU community. Attendees learned about various cultures through dance, art, games, and food. We have amazing people at our school and we hope this event will come back every year to foster understanding and build bridges in our RVU community.

October 25: LGBTQIA+ Healthcare

Trauma Informed Care Series

This workshop was presented by Andrew Miller (he/him/his) who provides training, consultation, and capacity building assistance through the Denver Health’s LGBTQ Health Services Department. He specializes in Transgender and Gender Expansive affirming care and provides trainings spanning across medical systems, public health departments, academic settings, and community-based non-profit programming.

November 16: Denver Graffiti Art Tour

Urban Underserved Track

The UUT spent an afternoon learning about the history of the RiNo District in downtown Denver. Tour guide Jana Novak gave an engaging and in-depth account of the art, the artists, the culture, history, and future of graffiti and the history, pros and cons, and effects of the gentrification of the area from the time of the Arapahoe and other indigenous tribes through the years of Hispanic and African-American populations.

November 22: Understanding Substance Abuse

Trauma Informed Care Series

RVU’s addiction medicine event had two speakers, both of whom are in long-term recovery from substance use disorder and now
work as clinical therapists. Students heard from people who have experienced healthcare and life as people who have faced addiction.
The speakers told their stories and gave guidance on how to approach patients/people faced with addiction. The event was a great opportunity to strengthen understanding and empathy for individuals with substance use disorder.

Watch for more events next year, including the 2022 Diversity Summit, which will build upon last year’s success and open new horizons as a cross-campus event. There will be four unique sessions covering a variety of topics: student voices and experiences in January; LGBTQ+ perspectives in February; the politicization of race in March; and religious diversity in April. These sessions are bound to make an impact!

This article was originally featured in RVU’s Vista View Newsletter. To view the full issue, visithttps://issuu.com/rvucom/docs/2021216_vista_view.

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