Diversity embodies inclusiveness, mutual respect, and multiple perspectives and serves as a catalyst for change resulting in health equity. In this context, we are mindful of all aspects of human differences such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, geography, disability, and age (CDC).
Inclusion is a core element for successfully achieving diversity. Inclusion is achieved by nurturing the climate and culture of the institution through professional development, education, policy, and practice. The objective is creating a climate that fosters belonging, respect, and value for all and encourages engagement and connection throughout the institution and community (CDC).
Health equity is when everyone has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their social position or other socially determined circumstance (CDC).
Departments and colleges can and should pay attention to issues of equity and inclusion in their units, and the availability of women and people of color in the applicant pools. We use the term “underrepresented” to indicate areas where women and persons of color are present on the faculty in numbers below what would reasonably be expected given their presence in the available pool.
For example, in faculty hire, if data show that over the past 10 years, 14 percent of PhD recipients in a given field were women but there are no women in the department, we would consider women to be underrepresented. To take this further, in the search we would expect at least 14 percent of the applicant pool to be women and that, absent compelling evidence, women would be in the interview group.
While sexual orientation, disability status, veteran status, age, and other categories may also be underrepresented in the academy, at the present time we do not have a well-developed means of tracking the number of faculty who identify with these categories.
However, these other categories should also be taken into consideration when developing plans to diversify your faculty. (University of Washington Faculty Recruitment Toolkit)
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has defined the institutional climate for diversity as the perceptions, attitudes, and values that define an institution, particularly as seen from the perspectives of individuals of different racial or ethnic backgrounds. IOM has also characterized several major elements of the institutional climate as:
Culturally competent organizations: