A Culture of Inclusion and Care
Everyone is welcome here! Our residency program is committed to building a culture of inclusion and care. This commitment values diversity and strives to be antiracist in all we do. We work to recognize, address, and eradicate all forms of bias, racism, sexism, and ethnic oppression. We believe the care we provide, along with our teaching, service, and scholarship, should constantly challenge oppression. We work to reduce racial injustices within our department, care settings, university, and beyond, and we are united in the pursuit to end racial and ethnic bias and to empower our trainees towards this common goal.
In addition to having the right to feel comfortable bringing your full and authentic self to the program, as a resident you will have the opportunity to participate and benefit from multiple cultural improvement initiatives described below.
Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The dean of the college of medicine established the new office of diversity, equity, and inclusion in November 2020 to pave the way for the many changes and new initiatives needed for the college to become a more active and effective participant in the drive to achieve racial and social justice. Dr. Shirley Delair, chief of pediatric infectious diseases, director of the pediatric residency global health track and associate professor of the department of pediatrics was appointed as the inaugural dean of diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Delair begins her tenure with years of experience in mentoring of pre-health and medical students, residents, and fellows as well as junior faculty and is a graduate of the AAMC Healthcare Executive Diversity and Inclusion Certificate program. She is currently building her office team to devise initiatives that will enhance recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce into an inclusive and supportive academic environment. The goal is to develop a cadre of clinicians, educators and scientists that is reflective of the community, helps address health disparities and improves the lives of our patients.
The department of pediatrics has an antiracism committee open to all faculty, residents, and staff. The committee has nearly 30 department members and is co-chaired by three outstanding faculty: Drs. Helen Grace, Geetanjali Rathore, and Ruben Quiros. Under the direction of the co-chairs, the committee is undertaking a three-fold mission to: (1) develop a statement resolving to function as an antiracist department; (2) develop a strategic plan—beginning with an environmental assessment—to move us forward; and, (3) continue as a standing committee to monitor implementation and ensure accountability.
CHMC Culture and Inclusion Manager
Shavonne Washington-Krauth is the inaugural Culture and Inclusion Manager for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. Ms. Washington-Krauth’s responsibilities include the creation and revision of systems, policies, opportunities, and environments in which everyone can not only work, but thrive at a more equitable rate without feeling excluded or marginalized. She also leads the development and implementation of a culture, diversity, and inclusion strategic framework; initiation and supervision of five employee resource groups, and serves as an advisor or subject matter expert on topics regarding the organization’s culture, diversity, and inclusion efforts.
Some of their current offerings include:
- 5 Employee Resource Groups
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Committee
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee
- Unconscious Bias & Inclusive Leadership training
- Monthly policy review committee including D&I-focused reviews
- Revision of harassment and discrimination policy and process
- Community event sponsorship and participation
UNMC Director of Inclusion
Developed in 2020, the Office of Inclusion is an ambassador for UNMC to provide support for educational and leadership excellence that hopes to create a diverse, unbiased, and empowered workforce to achieve improvements in people’s lives by reducing health inequities. Dr. Sheritta A. Strong, an award-winning distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and an adult psychiatrist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, serves in the role as the Director of Inclusion. She works closely with the Office of Equity and the newly formed Office of Student Life Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity to ensure that our campus is a welcoming and safe environment for everyone. We are pleased that there are diversity and inclusion committees and groups forming across campus to continue the conversations about social determinants of health and how racism shows up in our work. Dr. Strong supports G.R.A.D.S. (all-inclusive group), I.A.M.H.O.M.E (an inclusive group more gear toward faculty and staff), the LGBTQ+ Employee Alliance, MNSA (Minority Nursing Student Association), W.E.S.T.R.I.V.E. (women’s group), LMSA (Latino Medical Student Association), and White Coats 4 Black Lives. Dr. Strong often says, “We are better together,” and will continue to invite anyone on campus to be a part of the solution as opposed to part of the problem.
Residents of our program have the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of investigators and receive research support through the Child Health Research Institute (CHRI). CHRI aims to fund and support research that advances knowledge about childhood health and diseases, which includes a focus on health equity and the social determinants of health. With funding from CDC, HRSA, and the Kellogg Foundation, our health equity research is collaborative and community centered. For residents, this area of research emphasis provides you with an opportunity to get involved, conducting research with our investigators and leveraging their networks and research expertise to establish your own equity-focused research agenda.
Employee Resource Groups
UNMC offers faculty, residents, and staff a variety of employee resource groups designed to grow your network, enhance your connection and support, and give you a voice. Some examples include:
- I-AM-HOME supports the recruitment and retention of underrepresented health care professionals throughout Omaha by working to promote greater diversity and inclusion across health professions.
- LGBTQ+ Employee Alliance organizes social networking and educational events as well as supporting advocacy and activism efforts in the community.
- The Women's Mentoring Program empowers and inspires women professionals to achieve their career and personal goals by providing educational offerings, networking opportunities, and facilitating mentoring relationships.
Department of Pediatrics Vice Chair for Culture
Chad Abresch, PhD serves as Vice Chair of Culture for the Department of Pediatrics. In this role, Dr. Abresch serves as a resource to all members and groups within the department, helping to ensure a culture of inclusion and care. He strives to be a catalytic leader for the department’s vision to be truly inclusive and antiracist. Dr. Abresch also serves as Principal Investigator and Executive Director of CityMatCH (described below), a key equity and racial justice resource within the department and CHRI.
CityMatCH is a national organization operating out of CHRI and UNMC’s Department of Pediatrics. CityMatCH serves 170+ urban communities across the country striving to advance health equity for women, children, and families. The organization has been a leading voice for health justice for the past 30 years. Residents have the opportunity to interact with CityMatCH, and its national network, through an elective rotation and through ongoing research and service projects.