Defining Our Terms

Words have power. Using the correct language is essential to communicate respect and inclusivity, acknowledge the complexity behind different issues, and can help us all understand a specific scenario before moving forward together. This is our list of commonly used words and phrases and how we define them:

Diversity: Diversity simply means variety. There are endless ways to be a diverse community - race, religion, ethnicity, economic background, geographic origin, gender, sexuality, ability, belief, and more.

Equity vs. Equality: equity is the state, quality or ideal of being just, impartial and fair. Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. The difference, and why we focus on equity, is that not everyone starts from the same place, faces the same barriers, or needs the same things.

Inclusion: It’s not enough to be there, you must belong there.

Underrepresented in Medicine (UIM): As defined by the AAMC, “Underrepresented in medicine means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population.”

Underrepresented Minority (URM): A term used by the AAMC, before switching to UIM on June 26, 2003, to define a group consisting of “Blacks, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans (that is, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians), and mainland Puerto Ricans. The AAMC remains committed to ensuring access to medical education and medicine-related careers for individuals from these four historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.”

Race: a socially constructed system of dividing humans into groups based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry. 

Racism: a belief that race determines human traits and capacities and that racial differences result in the superiority of a race over another and the behavior or attitudes that reflect and foster this belief.

Ally: a lifelong role in which people with privilege and power work to develop empathy towards other marginalized groups challenges and issues and use their power to make the marginalized group feel valued, supported and heard. Being an ally takes action.

Implicit Bias: favorable and unfavorable attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases are activated involuntarily and without your awareness.

Privilege: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.