MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (11/03/2021) - Researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School have published an academic article laying the framework for more diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) opportunities in medicine and science. The article highlights reflections from early-career female faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The COVID-19 pandemic unearthed weaknesses within our national systems’ ability to rapidly respond to significant challenges,” said first author Sade Spencer, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the U of M Medical School. “In this perspective piece, we bring an often-silent voice of early-career female faculty and their experiences in navigating the tenuous balance of academic work, financial stress and work-life stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The framework, which was published in Preventive Medicine Reports, proposes solutions to address future improvements in clinical, research and education fields. Some recommendations include:

  • engaging diverse community perspectives;

  • considering culturally relevant decisions; 

  • communicating thoughtfully with a balance of hope and realism; and

  • a continued investment in diverse communities. 

“We propose an adapted diversity, equity and inclusion model to guide the response to future challenges within a faculty competency framework,” Spencer said. “We offer recommendations based on the DEI-competency framework, including opportunities for lasting positive change that can emerge from this challenging moment of our collective history.”

This research was supported by the Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) at the U of M Medical School. The team of researchers hope to engage with the CWIMS Early Pathways to Career Success program for future opportunities.


The article was written collaboratively by University of Minnesota faculty: Sade Spencer, Ph.D.; Catherine Burrows, Ph.D., L.P.; Sarah E. Lacher, Ph.D.; Kait C. Macheledt, Jerica M. Berge Ph.D., M.P.H., L.M.F.T., C.F.L.E.; Rahel G. Ghebre M.D., M.P.H., the CWIMS leadership team, Early Pathways to Career Success Program facilitators and 2019-2020 Cohort including: Raluca Gray, M.D.; Sobia Khaja, M.D.; Linda Rinehart, Ph.D.; Shahnaz Sultan, M.D., M.H.Sc., A.G.A.F., F.A.C.G.; Anjali Goel, M.D., M.P.H.; Laura Speltz, M.D.; Jessika Ralph, M.D., M.S.C.I.; Andrea O'Shea, M.D.; Christina Camell, Ph.D.; Anna Selmecki, Ph.D.

About the University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M Medical School, please visit med.umn.edu


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