Commitments and Acknowledgements
Medical School Diversity Statement
The University of Minnesota Medical School is committed to excellence. Our mission will only be achieved through embracing and nurturing an environment of diversity, inclusiveness, equal opportunity, and respect for the similarities and differences in our community.
We strive to create an atmosphere where differences are valued and celebrated, knowing institutional diversity fuels the advancement of knowledge, promotes improved patient care and fosters excellence. We will train a culturally aware workforce qualified to meet the needs of the diverse populations we serve. We especially strive to have our community better reflect the broad range of identities in our state, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, national origin, religious practice, and socioeconomic status.
Given the dynamic nature of our community, the Medical School Diversity Statement and Policy should be reviewed biennially to ensure it is current and reflective of our priorities.
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Duluth are located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. We acknowledge these places have a complex and layered history and these land acknowledgements are one of the ways in which we work to educate the campus and community about this land and our relationships with it and each other. We are committed to ongoing efforts to recognize, support, and advocate for American Indian Nations and peoples.
About Land Acknowledgements:
University of Minnesota Twin Cities Land Acknowledgement
We acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is built within the traditional homelands of the Dakota people. It is important to acknowledge the peoples on whose land we live, learn, and work as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with our tribal nations. We also acknowledge that words are not enough. We must ensure that our institution provides support, resources, and programs that increase access to all aspects of higher education for our American Indian students, staff, faculty, and community members.
University of Minnesota Duluth Land Acknowledgement
We acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Duluth is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. The University resides on land that was cared for and called home by the Ojibwe people, before them the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne people, and other Native peoples from time immemorial. Ceded by the Ojibwe in an 1854 treaty, this land holds great historical, spiritual, and personal significance for its original stewards, the Native nations and peoples of this region. We recognize and continually support and advocate for the sovereignty of the Native nations in this territory and beyond. By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and will work to hold the University of Minnesota Duluth accountable to American Indian peoples and nations.
Resources for Land Acknowledgements
- Why Treaties Matter — a comprehensive and thoughtful exploration of treaties and land theft in Minnesota.
- University of Minnesota Native American Promise Tuition program
- Where We Stand: The University of Minnesota and Dakhóta Treaty Lands — a discussion on land acknowledgments by Čhaŋtémaza (Neil McKay) and Monica Siems McKay, published in Open Rivers
- The On Being Project Land Acknowledgment Resources — resources dedicated to Native American culture and history in Minnesota, as well as on the practice of land acknowledgment
- Local Dakota Land Map — downloadable visual and audio Dakota land maps of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and surrounding areas by local artist Marlena Myles
- Tribal Nations in Minnesota - a comprehensive list of the seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) reservations and four Dakota (Sioux) communities with web links to those communities where available.
- Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa is located in northern Minnesota, approximately sixty miles south and west of International Falls, MN.
- Fond Du Lac Reservation. The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation lies in Northeastern Minnesota adjacent to the city of Cloquet, MN, approximately 20 miles west of Duluth, MN.
- Gichi-Onigaming / Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The Grand Portage Reservation is located in Cook County in the extreme northeast corner of Minnesota, approximately 150 miles from Duluth. It is bordered on the north by Canada, on the south and east by Lake Superior and on the west by Grand Portage State Forest.
- Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The Leech Lake Reservation, located in the forests of north-central Minnesota.
- Lower Sioux Indian Community. The Lower Sioux Indian Community is located on the south side of the Minnesota River in Redwood County, two miles south of Morton and six miles east of Redwood Falls.
- Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. History, tribal government, and educational material.
- Prairie Island Indian Community. Prairie Island Indian Community is located in southeastern Minnesota, north of Red Wing, between Highway 61 and the Mississippi River.
- Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. Historical information, tribal planning, employment and training, Pow-wow pages, gaming, telephone directory and more.
- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community. The Shakopee-Mdewakanton Reservation is located entirely within the city limits of Prior Lake, in Scott County, Minnesota.
- Upper Sioux Community. The Upper Sioux Community is located in Yellow Medicine County.
- White Earth Reservation. The White Earth Reservation is located in the northwestern Minnesota counties of Mahnomen, Becker, and Clearwater.
Statement on the Death of George Floyd
The University of Minnesota Medical School community continues to mourn the death of George Floyd. We are outraged by the brutal manner of his death and the role racism played in the callous disregard for his life. People from across our state and around the world have risen in protest and asked to be heard. We share their pain and add our voices to condemn racial profiling, police brutality, and injustice.
We acknowledge that the state of Minnesota has vast disparities in health, economic status, and educational outcome, largely due to the social construct known as “race,” and the perpetuation of structural racism.
We pledge to educate ourselves, examine our personal biases, and expose where structural racism pervades our institution.
We commit to change. We commit to maintaining our momentum long after the protests have stilled. We commit to transforming our grief and anger to action.
The first actions we will take are these:
- Listen to our patients and advocate for them both in and out of the clinic. We listen because we do not have all the answers. We advocate because we have power.
- Use a collaborative approach to eliminating racism that respects the expertise of students, faculty, staff, and diverse community partners. Time spent on these efforts will be administratively supported, compensated, and recognized.
- Educate ourselves by ensuring all students, residents/fellows, faculty, and staff receive training on racism, implicit bias, and microaggression so that they understand the expectations of treating others with respect, interacting effectively with people from diverse backgrounds, and serving everyone in our community with humanity and cultural humility.
- Focus additional recruitment efforts in communities that are underrepresented in medicine (URM). We must provide prospective students with tangible evidence that URM students are not only “welcome here,” but that they also succeed here.
- Collaborate with the new Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to build programs that recruit and retain faculty of diverse backgrounds and to create a more inclusive academic community.
- Accelerate developing new curriculum for our medical students that comprehensively integrates the topic of health equity and how structural racism and accompanying socioeconomic factors are central barriers to it.
- Evaluate our use of the concept of “race” in research, education, and health care.
- Perform research and develop policy that can be used to support legislation that acknowledges and works to eliminate the direct impact of racism on the health and well-being of our communities.
We commit to absolute systemic change that will prevent more senseless deaths, reduce racial gaps in healthcare outcomes, ensure that all students are educated equally, and create a better Medical School, University, state, and world for us all.
What Can I Do? - Take Actions Today
It is important to continuously take actions to learn more about the history of the various BIPOC communities, as well as engage with them. So what are simple actions I can do within my daily life? Here are a list of items and resources:
VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY
- 20 Minnesota nonprofits providing a platform for the Black community
- GiveMN List of BIPOC led /BIPOC Serving Organizations
SUPPORT BIPOC OWNED BUSINESSES
WATCH A DOCUMENTARY OR FILM
- PBS:10 'Must-Watch' Black History Documentaries
- Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) series
- 10 Films That Show How the U.S. Has Mistreated Native Americans and Alaska Natives (teenVogue)
- 15 LGBTQ+ Documentaries That Everybody Needs to Watch (Cosmopolitan)
READ A BOOK BY A BIPOC AUTHOR
- Best Books Written by BIPOC Authors (goodreads)
As much as we engage in times of distress during racist incidents, we forget to celebrate the achievements in this journey. Where are the moments for celebration and recognizing those that have done the work?
ACKNOWLEDGE AND SPREAD THE WORD
Educating yourself is just the first step. It is important to spread the word and educate others. Be intentional in having an open conversation of racism and spread Black advocacy, as well as for other BIPOC groups.
Women of Color and Intersectionality Initiative
The AAMC announced an initiative to address visibility, awareness, and advocacy of intersectionality and women of color in academic medicine — The Women of Color and Intersectionality Working Group. This multi-affinity group will revisit and update information and products of the Women of Color Initiative from 2015, develop and facilitate a new webinar series around these crucial topics, and consult on AAMC research endeavors. The working group will also update the Women Faculty of Color Toolkits. The interactive Women of Color Data Site uses various AAMC data sources to provide a complete picture of women of color as students, faculty and the physician workforce across the country.
Faculty Fighting Racism
Faculty Fighting Racism was created by the Graduate School Diversity Consultation Team as a first step in the process of understanding what it means to be anti-racist. They curated a list of books, articles, videos, and podcasts to get faculty started on this long, personal, and continuous journey towards understanding this concept and our role as educators. The goal is for faculty who want to learn more about racism, how it has been perpetuated in higher education, and ways to move towards anti-racist policies and practices will engage in this initial step. This is the step of doing your own work by reading, watching, and listening to the voices, knowledge, and experiences of the oppressed so that we may engage in educated conversations in the steps that follow.
Student Voices: Anna Dovre, Class of 2022
I joined the board of PRIDE in Healthcare during my first year, hoping to meet other queer health professions students and get plugged into local advocacy efforts - and I'm so glad that I did! I also got to be a member of White Coats for Black Lives during my first two years, and have continued to feel energized by the ongoing passion and dedication of my fellow students to creating a culture of anti-racism in medicine.