DEI charge

Message from Dean Wael Sakr, M.D. to the WSU School of Medicine community

As we all know, diversity, equity and inclusion are essential features of Wayne State University’s strategic plan, “Our Moment in Time,” as well as our strategic plan for the School of Medicine. Moreover, as an institution, we are deeply committed to health equity. Despite our efforts, there remains significant progress to make toward our shared goals in increasing diverse student enrollment, supporting success for students from underrepresented groups and successfully hiring diverse faculty (in some cases, outcomes appear to have worsened), and it is vital to see progress across all areas of the School of Medicine during the current academic year. This is top priority for all of us, and I have no doubt we will join together, both within the School of Medicine and with others across the university, to achieve the following:

  1. Collect and aggregate historical statistics on diversity in the School of Medicine over the last seven years. These should include the following:
    1. Numbers and percentages of students who identify as Black/African American students in the Medical School class, along with success rates.
    2. Numbers and percentages of Black/African American students who came through the Post-Baccalaureate Program, Wayne MedDirect and the general admissions pools.
    3. Numbers and percentages of Black/African American residents trained by Wayne State.
    4. Numbers and percentages of Black/African American tenure-track and tenured faculty.
    5. Numbers and percentages of Black/African American clinical faculty members. 
    6. Numbers and percentages of Black/African American faculty who have applied for promotion and/or tenure and percentages of those who have been successful. These data should also be aggregated by gender.
  2. Develop and implement a plan to support the success of graduates of the Post-Baccalaureate Program, including examination of national best practices. This includes the following:
    1. A thorough examination of the experience of Post-Baccalaureate graduates currently in the School of Medicine, with an eye toward facilitating greater success for these students.
    2. A concrete plan to support the graduates of the 2023 Post-Baccalaureate Program who will be applying to the School of Medicine in 2024.
    3. An immediate and proactive engagement with the students in the current Post-Baccalaureate Program to maximize their chances of admission success in the coming year.
    4. A collaborative revamping of the program for the future. This restructuring should be based in strategies utilized as best practices in other successful programs in the nation and should be designed to shift the program to a for-credit program in which students earn either a certificate or a master’s for successful completion. The restructuring should be guided by the goal of maximizing the likelihood of success in medical school for the graduates of the program.
  3. Re-examine all aspects of our admissions process and implement a tactical action plan to recruit a medical school class that better reflects our city. This includes:
    1. Review of our holistic admissions process in order to align it with nationally-accepted best practices in holistic review.
    2. A thorough analysis of how we distribute financial aid and how much aid we offer. The university will contract a national consultant to support this effort.
    3. Developing and implementing a recruitment and yielding strategy that produces a class that better reflects the needs of the City of Detroit and incorporates national best practices.
  4. Develop and implement a hiring tactical action plan for tenure-track and tenured faculty that prioritizes hiring faculty members whose research, teaching, community engagement and student support efforts focus on the Black community, which aligns with the university’s cluster hire in Black Studies and incorporates best practices that have been demonstrated nationally to improve outcomes. The plan should prioritize investment of School of Medicine resources to complement those being invested centrally and should look to impact both basic science and clinical departments across the School of Medicine.
  5. As a national leader in health equity research, we know that patient outcomes improve when they are treated by doctors who are similar to them. Because School of Medicine clinical faculty practice primarily in the metropolitan Detroit area, it is essential that we redouble our efforts to hire clinical faculty members who better reflect the city. I will work with the chairs from each clinical department to develop and implement a tactical action plan to ensure that this is prioritized across all of our clinical departments, again guided by evidence-based practices that yield success. A key feature of this plan should focus on recruiting residents who reflect the city’s population, supporting their success through residency, and facilitating hires by Wayne Health and other clinical practice groups in the Detroit area after they complete their training. 
  6. Develop and implement a plan across the School of Medicine that promotes the hiring of a diverse workforce at all levels. At the heart of these efforts should be a commitment to the search process, with diverse search committees, and proactive efforts in active outreach and applicant pool development.
  7. Develop and implement proactive strategies to support faculty development, and support both retention and promotion of diverse faculty (including diversity of race, gender and ethnicity).

To support our planning and leverage the university-wide efforts that have occurred to date, I have asked university leadership in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Dr. Donyale Padgett) and Faculty Affairs (Dr. Boris Baltes) for support in developing our tactical action plans. 

We will of course consult as needed with the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Equal Opportunity to ensure that our plans and their implementation comply with applicable federal and state laws.

DEI Committee Roster

Committee Member Title
Wael Sakr, M.D. Dean, School of Medicine
Donyale Padgett, Ph.D. Interim Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer
Joseph Dunbar, Ph.D. Interim Vice Dean, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Chair of Physiology
Ahmed Ibrahim, Ph.D. Faculty-Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences
Aisha Langford, M.P.H., M.D. Faculty-Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences
Alexander Buendia Student
Alfred Baylor, M.D. Faculty-Surgery
Ali Ranjbaran Student
Anju Goyal, M.D. Faculty-Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences
Anna Kang Student
Anne Messman M.D. Faculty-Emergency Medicine and Associate Dean, GME
Ashley Kramer Student
Carmen McIntyre Leon, M.D. Interim Chair-Neurosurgery
Curtis Mack Student
Eric Ayers. M.D. Faculty-Internal Medicine Pediatrics
Georgia Michalopoulou, Ph.D. Faculty-Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences
Grace Connolly Faculty-Internal Medicine
Holly Gilmer, M.D. Pediatric Neurosurgery Chair, Michigan Board of Medicine
Ijeoma Opara, M.D. Faculty-Internal Medicine
Jamie Krueger Assistant Dean, Enrollment Management
Jarrett Weinberger, M.D. Faculty-Internal Medicine, Designated Intuitional Officer DMC Training Programs
Jennell White, Ph.D. Faculty-Pharmacology
Karin List, Ph.D. Faculty-Pharmacology
Keisha Blevins, J.D. Dean’s Chief of Staff
Kevin Sprague, M.D. Faculty-Associate Dean, Admissions
Ladislau Kovari, Ph.D. Faculty-Biochemistry Microbiology and Immunology
Latonya Riddle-Jones, M.D., M.P.H. Faculty-Internal Medicine
Lynn Smitherman, M.D. Faculty-Pediatrics, Program Director
Margit Chadwell, M.D. Faculty-Senior Associate Dean, Students Affairs
Morhaf Al Achkar, M.D., Ph.D. Faculty-Oncology
Patrice Harold, M.D.  Alumnus, Community
Rodrigo Andrade, Ph.D. Faculty-Pharmacology
Rodrigo Fernandez-Valdivia, Ph.D. Faculty-Pathology
Siddhesh Aras, M.B.B.S., Ph.D. Faculty-Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences
Wanda Whitten-Shurney, M.D. Alumnus, Community