Harvard Medical School as a Destination for Diverse Individuals

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As the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion (TFDI) and its subcommittees deliberated, the need emerged for a long-term, ambitious plan to establish HMS as a destination for diverse individuals. Based on community stakeholder feedback, the TFDI envisioned a Better Together plan that articulates HMS’s “Big Bang Goal” to be the institution of preference for diverse candidates.

The plan’s overall vision for success includes across-the-board increased representation of underrepresented, historically marginalized individuals such as URM, women, those who identify as LGBTQ, and individuals with disabilities — at all levels, particularly senior faculty and department administrators and leaders. The HMS ecosystem should be one that attracts and retains top talent, not only because of its reputation for excellence in medicine, but for its environment valuing, developing and advancing diversity. Better Together also acknowledges a shared responsibility and potential to address issues of health disparities, equity and social justice. There should be distinct “Better Together” branding and a unified front among leadership to connect these efforts across HMS and its affiliates. The plan is based on the same four themes driving the short-term recommendations outlined earlier in this report.

  • Theme 1: Develop People and Infrastructure
    • Better Together Goal: Become a leader in diversity and inclusion, particularly at levels of leadership, both nationally and among Harvard faculties.
    • Vision: Harvard Medical School aims to develop and advance individuals within its community, paying special attention to ensuring development of and access to resources that will empower individuals to succeed. Developing HMS infrastructure includes crafting and regularly reviewing policies to advance diversity, reinforce institutional vision, and enable further progress toward diversity, inclusion and belonging as a collective HMS community. Resources should be developed that support individuals and families and allow them to thrive as members of the HMS and Boston community. Infrastructure should also be developed that readily enables cross-institutional collaboration and communication. Special focus should be placed on faculty and leadership.
  • Theme 2: Build Community and Belonging
    • Better Together Goal: Create inclusive community via physical environment (accessibility and images) and programming; engage the Boston community to improve climate/reputation.
    • Vision: The HMS community should be one with shared vision and goals for creating an inclusive HMS system, a thriving Boston community, and an innovative, collaborative, inclusive national landscape in medicine and biomedical sciences. By operating within this shared vision, HMS will continuously pursue efforts to create time, space and organization for building community, and to ensure diversity representation in leadership and programming. The physical environment of HMS will be reflective and inclusive of the diversity located within its community. HMS and its affiliates will collaborate to address health disparities and related biases across Boston, while engaging with the Boston community to improve reputation and overall climate.
  • Theme 3: Address Culture and Communication
    • Better Together Goal: Establish HMS as a hub for diversity.
    • Vision: The vision for addressing culture and communication on a large-scale level includes goals to transform Harvard Medical School’s reputation into one of inclusion, innovation and community. HMS aspires to foster an inclusive culture through programming that recognizes its community’s intersecting identities, through continuously re-engaging with and addressing biases, and through effectively communicating and ensuring access to HMS-wide resources, events and information for the entire HMS ecosystem.
  • Theme 4: Hold Accountable and Generate Knowledge
    • Better Together Goal: Consistent HMS-wide collection, tracking and availability of disaggregated data that is utilized for continuous quality improvement and establishes a culture of transparency and evidence-based decision making.
    • Vision: HMS will consistently track, monitor and publish on outcomes for its diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts. This will both promote a culture of transparency and hold HMS accountable to its goals for improving representation and climate. HMS will identify minimal expectations and best practices across its system at varying levels including institutional, department and program. HMS will establish a culture of continuous improvement and data-driven decision making.