By: Dr. Kathleen Wong Lau and Dr. Michelle DeCoux Hampton
San José State University hosted the “Antiracism Reprogramming in Health Professions Education” workshop on April 7, 2021. The workshop featured CSU East Bay scholars, Dr. Alicia Swartz and Dr. Claire Valderama-Wallace, who laid the foundation for antiracism praxis in the context of Critical Race Theory and Emancipatory Practice frameworks within health and healthcare education. Among the nearly 60 attendees were faculty from nine institutions: six California State University campuses, one private university, and two out of state public universities.
SJSU’s greater Antiracism Reprogramming Initiative is the culmination of work to address several challenges facing higher ed institutions within health and human sciences education: the historical moment of widespread recognition of racial inequities and their devastating impact on life outcomes (including COVID-19); heightened expectations from black, indigenous, and the people of color (BIPOC) students and communities for a faster rate of change on racial systemic equity in curriculum, research, scholarship, and internship placements; the mismatch of the racial/ethnic demographics of faculty to the students they teach, and even more so to the students outside of the academic pipeline; the demands from professional students that faculty prepare them to address and respond to systemic racism in health outcomes; and, younger generational expectations from professional and graduate students that faculty understand intersectionality and the specificity of intersectional systemic inequities pulled through into their educational experiences.
Following the April 7th workshop, opportunities for deeper engagement for health and human sciences faculty will be offered in summer 2021. The summer institute empowers and equips faculty intellectually to integrate systemic racial equity into their everyday work of teaching, research, scholarship, and service. Just as importantly it creates thought partners with other faculty within and across disciplines and institutions as they encounter necessary analysis, strategies, and feedback to transform their work with a systemic racial equity lens. The summer institute will pair synchronous sessions to provide an overview and conclusion of learning activities with asynchronous, online activities in our learning management system, Canvas. Faculty will engage in a series of modules that provide exposure and access to a compendium of resources, slides, exemplars, videos, and articles to support their work in key areas. They will also be guided in reflection and engagement regarding issues of race, racism, and antiracism in their personal and professional lives.
The Antiracism Reprogramming Initiative was made possible by Dr. Kathleen Wong Lau’s appointment of Dr. Michelle Hampton as a Spring 2021 Faculty Fellow for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Dr. Hampton coordinated the April 7th conference and is leading the effort to develop the summer institute with SJSU Faculty Champions: Dr. Monica Allen (Public Health and Recreation), Dr. Denise Dawkins (Nursing), Dr. Nicole Dubus (Social Work), Ms. Rochelle McLaughlin (Occupational Therapy), Dr. Pamela Richardson (Occupational Therapy), Dr. Tamar Semerjian (Kinesiology), and Dr. Sheri Rickman Patrick (Nursing). Beyond developing content for the summer institute, Faculty Champions will work to promote antiracism awareness and intradepartmental accountability after its conclusion. It is hoped that this transformative work will not only help retain historically underrepresented BIPOC students, but also retain historically underrepresented BIPOC faculty and researchers. All of this will shape a community of healthcare professionals and researchers that is more representative, and thus able to close equity gaps beyond a “lift all boats” approach (where disparities and gaps still remain). This approach also goes way beyond merely addressing climate issues surgically through microaggression training, anti-bias training, etc. We believe that our approach anchors and makes these types of training more relevant and more likely to be understood within a systemic equity framework.