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External Panel Report

CUNY School of Medicine

External Panel Report


External Panel Executive Report

Sophie Davis Program/ City University of New York Medical School

Site Visit January 24-25, 2018

Report Prepared for:

Maurizio Trevisan, MD MS
Anne and Irving Brodsky Medical Professor Dean CUNY School of Medicine
City College of New York 160 Convent Avenue New York, NY 10031
Submitted, March 5, 2018 External Panel Members:
M. Natalie Achong, MD, MHL, Yale University School of Medicine
John P. Sanchez, MD, MPH, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Carol Storey-Johnson, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College


External Panel Executive Report

Sophie Davis Program/ City University of New York Medical School Site Visit January 24-25, 2018


Founded in 1973, the Sophie Davis Program is making major strides to move from a BS-MD program to an accredited new medical school, CUNY School of Medicine (CSoM). This complex transition is occurring within the context of a larger societal, political and medical education context of issues related to accreditation, changing student demographics and the complexity of having student populations reflecting both undergraduate and medical school level education. The School has a very unique mission and historical legacy of preparing its physician graduates to care for underserved and marginalized patients, populations, and communities in addition to achieving expertise in a wide array of medical school competencies that will prepare its graduates to pursue a wide range of medical careers. In terms of diversity, in 2017 63% of matriculated students, 21.7 % of faculty, and 29% of senior administrators were Black/African- American or Latino/Hispanic. The school finds itself with an appropriately diverse student population but less diversity within its faculty to ensure racial/ethnic concordant role modeling and mentoring. There are also issues of faculty progression tenure that lie in the background of the institution and may have an impact on faculty recruitment, advancement and retention, notably for faculty from underrepresented groups. Furthermore, issues relating to the academic progression of faculty who play primary roles in medical education are being considered by the school, as City College of New York oversees many policies and procedures for faculty promotion and tenure.

From September through November 2017, the school has been confronted with evaluating a series of incidents that are clearly racial in nature, and for which a Title IX investigation is underway, just as an External Panel has been invited to provide commentary on the culture and climate towards diversity and inclusion at the school. The External Panel was invited at the request of the Dean, Maurizio Trevisan. The Dean of the school is committed to moving forward to address the underlying issues related to the culture and climate of the school on diversity, inclusion, and racial issues, and has asked the External Panel to visit the school and gather the perspectives of community members, including senior administrators, faculty, staff, trainees, alumni and parents. The Dean has already articulated a Strategic Plan to Restore Trust which the External Panel and the student and faculty communities at CSoM have reviewed. The External Panel will utilize additional information gathered among community members to enhance the Strategic Plan and inform the Dean’s next steps.

Composition of the External Panel

M. Natalie Achong MD, MHL, is an assistant clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine and is an alumna of the Sophie Davis School of Medicine She is board-certified and has practiced Ob-Gyn for over 15 years in Connecticut. She serves on the State of Connecticut African American Affairs Commission advisory council for health and is a charter member of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut, Global Woman’s Issues Forum. Dr. Achong was elected to the National Medical Association Board of Trustees and is a member of the multi-cultural training committee at the State of Connecticut Office of Minority Health.

Sánchez MD, MPH, is Associate Dean, Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Sanchez serves as the Co- Executive Director of the National Latino Medical Student Association Inc., President of the National LGBT Health Workforce Conference, and is Associate Editor of Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity Collection for AAMC MedEdPORTAL. He also served on the AAMC Group on Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee from 2009-2011.

Carol Storey-Johnson MD, is the Senior Advisor to the Dean’s Office for Medical Education and Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCM) in New York City. Dr. Storey-Johnson served from 2001-2014 as Senior Associate Dean for Education at WCM and has also presented faculty development programs on topics related to professional development for the AAMC, the Society for General Internal Medicine, and other national specialty organizations.

Charge to the External Panel

  1. Review/comment on the processes and systems in place at the CSoM re: recent events surrounding student complaints of discriminatory behavior and general policies/reporting systems.
    • Brief review of current (recent) events and check on the reported prevalence  of any events prior to this.
    • Review CSoM and CUNY Mission and Policies re: diversity/discrimination
    • Seek Student, Faculty, Administrator, Alumni/Parent reaction to the recent incidents, response and evaluation of the general environment with specific focus on issues regarding professionalism and discrimination.
    • Comment on the proposed Strategic Framework for Restoring Trust
  2. Make recommendations on how CSoM can continue to foster an environment that recognizes its history and meets its mission.

Preparation Prior to Site Visit

The External Panel reviewed a number of documents prior to the site visit. These included a review of School Mission Statement, policies relating to discrimination and student mistreatment processes, the submitted LCME documents for Standard 3.3 on Diversity/Pipeline Programs and Partnerships, all correspondence between the Dean and the students relating to the sentinel incidents leading to this site visit, the draft of the Dean’s Strategic Framework to Restore Trust, the TACCT (Tool for assessing competency training) spreadsheet for the school’s curriculum, and tentative upcoming steps including the schedule for the External Panel site visit. The External Panel spoke directly with Dean Trevisan on two conference calls and received written responses from Dean Trevisan to general questions generated by the External Panel.

The Constituents who met with the External Panel were all prepared in advance to express their thoughts through their receipt of a letter from Dean Trevisan which included the following text:

[In preparation for the meeting, the panelists and I ask that you reflect on the following questions before the meeting]

History with CUNY School of Medicine (CSoM):

Faculty/Staff: What is your role and responsibilities at the institution? How do your responsibilities tie to promoting professionalism, diversity and inclusion among trainees and staff and faculty?

Alumni: When do you attend CSoM? Parents: What year is your child at CSoM?


All Participants: From when you first became a part of the CSoM community until now, how would you describe professionalism among students? Staff/Faculty? Students and staff/faculty?

  1. In the past year has there been a significant change in the culture of professionalism? How so?
  2. Looking forward, how can we optimize the culture of professionalism among students? Staff/faculty? Students and faculty/staff?

Diversity and Inclusion:

All Participants: From when you first became a part of the CSoM community until now, how would you describe the culture of diversity and inclusion among students? Staff/Faculty? Students and staff/faculty?

a)  In the past year has there been a significant change in the culture of diversity and inclusion? How so?

b.)  Looking forward, how can we optimize the culture of diversity and inclusion among students? Staff/faculty? Students and faculty/staff?

Engagement and Leadership:

Faculty/Staff: How can faculty/staff help to enhance the culture of professionalism at the institution? How can faculty/staff help to enhance the culture of diversity and inclusion at the institution?

Parents: How can parents help to enhance the culture of professionalism at the institution? How can parents help to enhance the culture of diversity and inclusion at the institution?

Alumni: How can alumni help to enhance the culture of professionalism at the institution? How can alumni help to enhance the culture of diversity and inclusion at the institution?

Students: How can students help to enhance the culture of professionalism at the institution? How can students help to enhance the culture of diversity and inclusion at the institution?

Additional thoughts or comments?

In addition, all constituents who met with the External Panel were provided the following definitions:


Diversity as a core value 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.


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.

[1. Diversity and Inclusion Definitions by the Group on Diversity and Inclusion of the Association of American Medical Colleges.]

Learning Environment/Professionalism2

A medical school ensures that the learning environment of its medical education program is conducive to the ongoing development of explicit and appropriate professional behaviors in its medical students, faculty, and staff at all locations and is one in which all individuals are treated with respect. The medical school and its clinical affiliates share the responsibility for periodic evaluation of the learning environment in order to identify positive and negative influences on the maintenance of professional standards, develop and conduct appropriate strategies to enhance positive and mitigate negative influences, and identify and promptly correct violations of professional standards.

[2. Definition and description of professionalism taken from LCME Functions and Structure of a Medical School, March 2017.]

All participants were informed that the session would not be audio- or video-taped. A scribe would be present to help take notes for a summary report which will assist in enhancing the learning environment for our trainees, staff, and faculty.

Process/Site Visit

The External Panel completed a two-day site visit (January 24 - 25, 2018) meeting approximately one hour with each constituent group at CSoM, including the: Dean, Deputy Dean for Education, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Executive Director of Admission and Wellness, Assistant Dean for Diversity, CCNY Chief Diversity Officer, CSoM Deans as a group,student leadership and students at large, students who authored the letter, Coordinators of Black Male Initiative and Sisters of Sophie, CSoM Inclusive Excellence Council, CSOM Executive Faculty Committee, CSoM Faculty, CSoM Staff, Alumni of the Sophie Davis Program, and Parents of students currently matriculated in the Sophie Davis Program.

Process for Interviews

The panel sought to hear, through a confidential and open process, the perspectives of all the members of the CSoM community regarding the charges given to the panel. In order to facilitate the conversation between the expert panel and members of the CSoM community, participants were initially sent the discussion guide questions in a letter from Dean Trevisan to help focus their thought process. The questions below were supplemental questions that emerged during the sessions as the External Panel’s thoughts evolved. They were asked of some groups but not necessarily all.

Supplemental questions:

  • How unusual are these events at CSoM? Explain whether you’ve seen discrimination at the school. If you have seen it, to what frequency do you believe it occurs?
  • Do the CSoM/CUNY policies fully reflect the values expressed by the CSoM mission and the values we want to instill in our students for their lifetime work as physicians and valuable members of our society?
  • Do policies and procedures (and their application) reflect the School commitment to its mission and the wellbeing of students, faculty and staff?
  • Are the processes for reporting discrimination acts sufficiently clear and confidential?
  • Does the Strategic Framework to Restore Trust seem a reasonable plan?
  • Any additional suggestions to be added to the Strategic Framework to Restore Trust to ensure that we build an environment where everybody feels celebrated, nurtured, supported and safe?

A scribe was present in the room to take notes on the commentary. All group meetings began with brief introductions, a summary of the Panel’s charge, and moved on to dialogue.


The two-day Site Visit was successfully carried out and was well-attended by the participant groups. The dialogue in each meeting was very candid, often emotional for participants, and descriptive regarding the variety of reactions to the events that had occurred at CSoM. Participants were well prepared, and ready to offer their opinions. There was no sense of defensiveness on the part of the participants, and all seemed more than willing to offer commentary and suggestions for moving forward. The Panel assured the participants that their comments would be forwarded anonymously and in aggregate form in order to assist the Dean with next steps.

Emerging Themes

A number of similar themes emerged from the discussions with the constituent groups during the two-day site visit. They included:

  • The importance of the Dean in denouncing incidents of racism/discrimination/unprofessional behavior as an institutional message delivered in a timely and transparent fashion. The Dean is viewed as being at the cornerstone/critical crossroads in addressing adverse incidents (with or without the Diversity/Compliance Officer/CCNY President). Medical school deans and senior administration are positioned to speak and address the ways social forces like racism, discrimination, and other social injustices jeopardize students’, faculty/staff, institutional, and patients’ health and well- being.
  • The importance of systematizing institutional communication policies and routes, in a coordinated fashion with CCNY, to inform the community of the events related to racism/discrimination and express the denouncement by the Dean. Prompt addressing of incidents allows the Dean to manage the message, provides consistent level of detail to all members of the community, is “heard” at the same time by all members of the community, and promotes a community support for actions taken to address the incidents.
  • The sense of “loss of mission” support on the part of students, faculty, alumni, and parents of students when assertive efforts are not immediately taken to address incidents of racism/discrimination. The importance of frequent reinforcement to all constituents of the community was voiced by many interviewees.
  • The importance of all students, faculty, and staff in unveiling, discussing, and being engaged in addressing racism and discrimination at the school.
  • Many of the interviewees expressed the need that all students are formally taught about race in ways that reflect biological and social understanding rather than prejudice, and that the administration and faculty makes diversity, inclusion, social justice, and equity priority areas.

Specific Constituent Commentary

There was a wide range of responses from the staff and faculty regarding the three main racial incidents from “I completely expected this” to “this caught me completely by surprise.” This suggests that there are variable perspectives on occurrences of racism/discrimination at CSoM, a lack of discussion and information dissemination among staff and faculty, and a lack of consensus among staff and faculty.

  • It is important to underscore that unconscious bias and microaggressions may be difficult to identify, let alone to confront and address. This is a sensitive subject to raise and to address.
  • Microaggressions, which may seem innocent or benign, can, cumulatively, create  a hostile and marginalizing environment that is not conducive to optimal learning and may undermine professional development. Moreover, it is also important to appreciate that microaggressions in medical education and training is not really about being a “good or bad person” or having “one’s feelings hurt”; it is about the negative impact that being insulted, disrespected, invalidated or alienated can have on young adults emotionally, psychologically and academically. Leadership, staff and faculty should be knowledgeable about the definition of microaggressions, and vigilant and proactive about creating an environment that promotes a medical community of safety, advocacy and professionalism.
  • Students, in particular upperclass students, expressed anger and frustration with the occurrence of the three racial incidents, with the lack of information regarding the characteristics of the incidents, and the lack of information on the outcomes of the three incidents. Some students commented that they have endured on-going microaggressions from faculty and problematic faculty have not been reprimanded or removed. Despite this concern being reported to the Dean, several felt he was not “on their side”. Students suggested that more clarity on how faculty-based microaggressions would be documented, investigated, and addressed would have been helpful. As administration and faculty, it is unfair to place the onus of responsibility in creating an environment that is conducive to learning solely onto the students.
  • The lack of understanding of the degree and frequency of unconscious bias and microaggressions that may exist not just between CSoM student-student, but also between student-faculty/staff, faculty/staff-faculty/staff.
  • The alumni and the parent groups were very motivated and engaged. There were a number of parents with multiple Sophie Davis/CSoM student and alumni. They expressed many concerns about the current school atmosphere and their student’s experiences. They also expressed that would be glad to work with the medical school in supporting students and in achieving the school’s mission.
  • The leadership is currently developing a longitudinal curriculum within the medical school inclusive of content such as social justice, health equity, racism, diversity, and inclusion and hopes to extend the curriculum over the entire 7-year period starting in orientation for year 1. Many faculty/staff felt that would be helpful in reinforcing the mission of Sophie Davis/CSoM to all students over time. Across the various groups of interviewees, the opportunity to participate in that way to assist the school was embraced.

General Impressions of the External Panel

The External Panel felt that it is important to reflect on new and continued challenges for the Sophie Davis Program and CSoM.

  • There are many dedicated staff, faculty and students who are focused on measurable and implementable changes to improve the institutional culture and climate through heightened diversity by race, ethnicity, and other diversity dimensions; inclusion; and equity.
  • Expert education and longitudinal curriculum across all seven years (preclinical and clinical) on racial relations, diversity, inclusion, and health equity in medicine are needed.
  • Propose modifications to lecture content and include content related to cultural competency (e.g. diversity, inclusion, health equity) for trainees to become better prepared in addressing the needs of community members/patients locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Counsel and education on successful coping strategies for diverse trainees to help them manage explicit and implicit bias and microaggressions.
  • Robust faculty development that prioritizes critical thought around controversial topics and developing skills around explicit and implicit bias, microaggressions, and structural competency is needed.
  • Systems of assessment for these efforts are needed. How will we measure success of these new and collaborative initiatives?

These ambitious goals require real financial and administrative commitment from the highest administrative levels at CSoM and CCNY.

The wide variety of perceptions of the constituent communities suggests that institution-wide approaches to incidents of racism/discrimination/microaggressions/unprofessionalism should be a major focus of the school. There is a sense that, while the mission and vision of the Sophie Davis Program/CSoM is clear in writing, it loses its imperative in that it is not reinforced sufficiently in orientation activities, the curriculum, or during day-to-day activities for faculty/staff and students. This has negatively impacted the climate and culture at Sophie Davis Program/CSoM and the personal and professional development of faculty/staff and students. In addition, while there may be overarching processes for investigating incidents of racism, complicated by oversight by CCNY, the medical college can formulate its own procedures to investigate racism as a form of unprofessional behavior that might result in a student being deemed unsuitable for the practice of medicine. Similar sanctioning activities for faculty who engage in bias or microaggressions and do not improve with remediation at the first incident should be strongly enforced since faculty members serve as major role models for students’ professional development as a physician, scientist, or future faculty member.

A number of the interviewed black students reported being subjects to a host of both overt and subtle, discriminatory and racial-charged experiences from their student peers and faculty. Experiences of prejudice and discrimination are an additional stressor for black and Hispanic students. The school needs to implement proactive best methods to address their coping with the stresses of racist experiences. The panel recommends that information be sought on how much stress individual students felt discriminatory actions to be and how students dealt with theseexperiences. Another concern expressed by these students was the lack of awareness and appreciation by the dean and some faculty and staff regarding the significant impact of the racial incidents as a source of negative experience in the school, especially over the past several months. Students interviewed who had been impacted by these racial incidents, expressed that the support from fellow black and other students and from certain faculty was of major importance in coping these experiences.

These efforts to enhance the learning environment, in addition to competent educational experiences, must also be grounded in student affairs and student health and wellness services (i.e. mental health) at the school. It is important to offer counseling services to all students from underrepresented groups and recognize that experiences of prejudice, bias, hate and discrimination are reality issues.

There are faculty members and administrators who are fully engaged in assisting the school to move forward and institute changes in faculty development around the concept of bias, curriculum, and administrative policies and communication.

The Strategic Plan for Restoring Trust developed by the Dean is an excellent starting point, but must be followed up with specific and decisive actions, with mandatory participation by faculty/staff and students in areas of development in cultural/racial issues.

The authority, role, and responsibilities for decision-making by the CSoM Inclusive Excellence Council need specification and clarity in diversity-related issues. The leader of this group needs to be a full-time Diversity Officer for CSoM who has appropriate delegated authority to lead the group and its initiatives.

As stated by a number of student, staff and faculty interviewed, the lack of faculty diversity, relative to the racial/ethnic make-up of the student body and surrounding community, contributes to the loss of “sense of mission” expressed by many constituents.

A professionalism Code of Conduct, attested to by students, faculty, and administrators may have a beneficial effect in creating a community consensus of the importance of professional behavior in all activities between those constituent groups and at all times (on and off campus).

More regular formal and informal contact between the Dean and students, and between the Dean and faculty members may have a beneficial effect to promulgate the professional culture and mission of the school and to provide a forum in which real-time reporting of issues and events may occur.

Faculty lack clarity in their role and responsibilities and lack training as “faculty” (in relation to students) and as student advisors. Additionally, there is a lack of awareness of boundaries between faculty/staff and students, whereby faculty/staff may be sharing their own struggles and dissatisfaction with their academic achievement and appointments when advising students.

Specific Recommendations and Action Items of the External Panel to the Dean and CCNY

1.) Move forward with the Strategic Framework for Restoring Trust. The Framework incorporates steps to address several of the impressions noted by the External Panel. Strongly consider a “School Assembly” to occur soon to inform the CSoM community of the plan to move forward to address the immediate incidents, promote the Strategic Framework, and start the process of student-faculty dialogue to begin the process of healing for the community*.

2.) Move to create a full-time Diversity Officer, Associate Dean, with deep development in diversity issues, policy, and management, to lead the Inclusive Excellence Council and clarify the authority, decision-making, and responsibilities of the Inclusive Excellence Council.

3.) Create and promote required professionalism, diversity, inclusion and equity curricula content for all students (not as electives) integrated throughout the seven years and introduced during orientation (e.g. Year 1-7 Curriculum) with the inclusion of topics such as:

  • Stereotype threat
  • Ramifications of racism and unconscious bias in medicine and patient care
  • Race Theory in higher education
  • Self-awareness of bias and prejudice in healthcare
  • Implicit bias and micoacroaggression in higher education and training
  • Best practices and methods to report and how to deal with microaggression and bias and to defuse situations with confrontational approaches
  • How medical institutions can affect change to address bias, justice and equity
  • Unique health issues in underserved communities
  • Global Health
  • Health and Healthcare disparities and social determinants of health—specific issues and research agendas
  • Community needs of underserved, marginalized populations and communities of color
  • Academic career development for diverse trainees

In the experiences prior to starting the program and the preclinical years, imbed the importance of student-student interactions among CSoM students as reflective of future professionalism relationships with patients early in the CSoM experience through in-class facilitated discussion across differences.


AAMC MedEdPORTAL Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity Collection in co-sponsorship with the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), features peer-reviewed educational resources for educators to advance institutional efforts in creating a diverse and inclusive culture and climate for all in order to drive clinical, educational, research and service excellence. Link:

Definition: Health Equity1

Health equity is the principle of providing everyone the opportunity to attain their full health potential while no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their social position or other socially determined circumstance.

[1. Diversity and Inclusion Definitions by the Group on Diversity and Inclusion of the Association of American Medical Colleges.]

4.) Improve Faculty Diversity.

  • Search committee training on holistic review (Both senior and junior faculty)
  • Recruit more diverse senior and junior faculty from historically underrepresented groups (e.g. African-American, Latino/Hispanic; Native-American/American Indian)
  • Engage alumni to serve as faculty (volunteer; adjunct; part-time; full-time)
  • Identify pools of prospective faculty and senior leaders through National Hispanic Medic al Association (NHMA), National Medical Association (NMA), AAMC Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar (MinFAC), Association of American Indian Physicians, National Institutes of Health
  • An additional resource is the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians (BNGAP Inc.) which has professional development conferences and educational modules to raise diverse trainees (URM, women, and LGBTQ) awareness of, interest in and preparedness for academic medicine careers. The following are a list of published modules for staff/faculty to implement to inspire URM trainees to become future faculty.


  1. Williams R, Holaday L, Lamba S, Soto-Greene M, Sánchez JP. Introducing trainees to medical education activities and opportunities for educational scholarship. MedEdPORTAL. 2017;13:10554.

  2. Fernández CR, Lucas R, Soto-Greene M, Sánchez JP. Introducing trainees to academic medicine career roles and responsibilities. MedEdPORTAL. 2017;13:10653.

  3. Callahan EJ, Banks M, Medina J, Disbrow K, Soto-Greene M, Sánchez JP. Providing diverse trainees an early and transparent introduction to academic appointment and promotion processes. MedEdPORTAL. 2017;13:10661.

  4. Guilliames C, Sule H, Perez H, Hubbi B, Sánchez JP. Providing trainees with both an introduction to and decision-making framework for pursuing an academic residency position. MedEdPORTAL. 2018;14:10667.

  5. Dickerman J, Sánchez JP, Portela-Martinez M, Roldan E. Leadership and academic medicine: preparing medical students and residents to be effective leaders for the 21st century. MedEdPORTAL. 2018;14:10677.

  1. Nakae S, Soto-Greene M, Williams R, Guzman D, Sánchez JP. Helping trainees develop scholarship in academic medicine from community service. MedEdPORTAL. 2017;13:10659.

  2. Paredes Molina CS, Spencer DJ, Morcuende M, et al. An introduction to research work, scholarship, and paving a way to a career in academic medicine. MedEdPORTAL. 2018;14:10686.

The next conference for diverse trainees, residents, and junior faculty will occur at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Fall 2018.

5.) Create a “Suitability for the Practice of Medicine Policy”.

Students and faculty must understand that the profession of medicine requires a professionalism competency that faculty members of medical schools must approve. This requirement for the assessment of professionalism is very different from the standards for accreditation in other graduate schools. This reinforces the idea that “racism pranks” are serious violations and could remove students from pursuing their training at CSoM (i.e., result in dismissal). The policy should include reporting procedures and consequences for lapses in professionalism, the use of an ad-hoc committee of three faculty members to investigate incidents, and clear penalties ranging from short-term discipline, temporary suspension with written acknowledgement of the issue, or dismissal from the school depending on the egregiousness of the event.

6.) Systematize timely, transparent and effective communication dissemination of information to student and CSoM community regarding institutional racial, bias and hate incidents.

Consider consulting an expert in communications with a track record of success and experience who can assist the medical college in rapidly developing community messages regarding incidents and can help the school determine what should be sent out as messaging (balancing confidentiality; setting tone; and community interest). Engage in aggressive reporting of incidents to systematize the message and details of the incident for the community and denounce unprofessional behaviors, request help from the community, etc.

General communication strategies should include the following:

  • The promulgation of “zero tolerance” for behaviors suggesting intolerance, hate, bias or group-targeting
  • The mission and vision of the school remains in place despite growing to a new medical school and these index incidents
  • Acceptance of individual’s acknowledgment of missteps and the creation of a culture of improvement.
  • School’s  policy  and  processes  regarding  race  and  discrimination  across tradition and social media forms
  • Acknowledging acceptance and the organizational advancement of diversity and inclusion in healthcare
  • Addressing student-student, faculty-student, faculty-faculty, senior leadership Dean-community professionalism and professional behavior with respect to student interactions
  • Report outcomes of the investigations of the institutional climate and culture to the community and disclose active “next steps.” to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents of matriculants
  • Understand and apply privacy and confidentiality as a concept for professionalism at CSoM and in patient care

7.) Enhance the Dean’s active engagement with both student and faculty forums.

Use these forums as ways to gather information on the institutional community climate and culture, especially around professionalism and diversity, inclusion and equity. Demonstrate active investigation of events or issues disclosed, and “close the loop” by reporting back on actions taken.

8.)    Regarding diversity and inclusion issues, activate the role and responsibility of the Assistant and Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion.

Possible roles include creating an inventory of programs and curriculum addressing diversity, inclusion, social justice and health equity and engaging students in assisting in this effort, either individually or through the participation of a student leadership committee. Recruit alumni, parents, CSoM and CCNY staff/faculty to join this effort so their voices can be used to report/engage other resources in the community.

9.) Institute longer term Program Evaluation.

Report on performance outcomes for all students and student graduates to the student/faculty community. Is there an Alumni Association? Important questions to consider are:

  • What are the performance outcomes of our students (by group/in total)?
  • Are we matriculating, developing, graduating, Black and Latino students for competitive residency programs, future faculty positions and other career opportunities in medicine and healthcare leadership?
  • Where do our alumni go for their careers? Are they advancing the mission of the school?
  • Follow-up evaluation and analysis by this external panel in 6 months

10.) Formalize and implement Faculty Development.

Make this an institutional requirement for a school like CSoM which has a mission to train physicians to serve underserved communities. Consider “Train the Trainer” models for some faculty

  • AAMC Cook Ross Training on Unconscious Bias

11.) Determine which faculty/staff will serve as official student advisors and afford them proper training, recognition, and feedback.


12.) Review all pertinent CSoM and CCNY school student code of conduct and social media policies to ensure that they reference professional behavior where  appropriate.


13.) Identify sustained funding, time and staff for the development and implementation of student-centered programs and initiatives across the preclinical and clinical years.


Respectfully submitted, March 5, 2018

M. Natalie Achong, MD, MHL
John P. Sanchez, MD, MPH
Carol Storey-Johnson, MD