Improving cultural diversity within the academic workforce is not only a 21st century moral imperative, but is the centerpiece in our national effort to eliminate health inequities.

Will Ross, MD MPH
Associate Dean for Diversity
Associate Professor of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine

As a national leader in pediatric health, Saint Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) serves a unique and varied population of patients. The diversity of our patient population – by race, ethnicity, country of origin, socioeconomic status, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, language spoken – is a strength of our community and our training program, and challenges us to continually strive for better, more nuanced care grounded in mutual respect and cultural competency. Residents receive regular education in implicit and unconscious bias and cultural competency through case discussions and resident conferences. Our residents also have opportunities to engage in meaningful community outreach, particularly through their advocacy rotations, quality improvement projects, and the advocacy pathway within the residency program.

We strive to recruit, support, and educate a diverse group of trainees, and to equip all of our graduates with the tools to improve patient outcomes by providing culturally effective, context-sensitive health care for children. As an institution, we aim to provide a work environment where differences are accepted and embraced, and where equality is cherished.

Resident Diversity Committee

Our Resident Diversity Committee (RDC) is a resident-led initiative working to foster an inclusive, supportive, and empowering environment for our residents of diverse backgrounds. WashU faculty provide mentorship and advising to this resident-led committee. Our initiatives include diversity recruitment, visiting medical student clerkships, community outreach, and resident mentorship and support.

Patient outreach

  • SLCH Transgender Center: the area’s first, providing comprehensive services for this vulnerable population.
  • SPOT (Supporting Positive Opportunities for Teens) Clinic: providing free services for at-risk teens and young adults; a required rotation for all residents.
  • Healthy Kids Express: funds RVs providing free dental, general pediatric, and asthma-related services directly to low-income communities and schools.
  • Project ARK: provides support for those infected, affected, and at-risk of HIV disease.
  • Residents can shape their own outreach project as their quality improvement project or through the advocacy pathway.

Community building and engagement

  • Washington University Minority Medical Association (WUMMA): focuses on networking and professional development for residents and fellows of color.
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Med (LGBTQ Med): mission to improve health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer patients.
  • Residents and Fellows Diversity Initiative (RFDI): provides additional financial support to residents who demonstrate a commitment to improving cultural diversity within the medical center and improving the health of medically underserved individuals in the Saint Louis community.
  • Pediatric Residency Diversity Committee (RDC): mission to foster an inclusive environment by improving diversity of representation within the residency and working with the Associate Program Director for Diversity & Inclusion to expand the resident curriculum on cultural competency, healthcare inequities, and unconscious bias.
  • Office of Diversity Programs: through Washington University School of Medicine.