The power of music was again demonstrated last month in an NPR story about the 1967 song “Get Together” by Chester Powers (I know – I’m dating myself). If you didn’t happen to hear it, I encourage you to have a listen. “Love is but a song to sing…Fear’s the way we die.”
The need to come together and “love one another right now” is extremely acute. Christchurch, New Zealand; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Poway, California – the locations of the three most recent hateful, violent, and fatal attacks to befall the global community. On March 29, Chancellor Sam Hawgood posted a message to the UCSF community upholding the rights of individuals to worship as they choose and without fear.
In this month’s Expresso, I highlight three things that all reflect on how we can do more “getting together” at UCSF: an inspiring effort to improve the status of women across our campus and health system, a groundbreaking initiative to increase Latinx participation in the health care professions, and a vital resolve to combat bullying when it occurs, as it does, even at UCSF.
I urge you to make a conscious effort towards ensuring that all the people around you have the opportunity to do their best work with dignity and respect.
This month’s topics:
- Every Day Is Women’s Day: Celebrating, inspiring, and empowering women at UCSF
- The Latinx Center of Excellence: Combatting health disparities
- Taking a Stand: Anti-bullying and abusive conduct policy
Do you have a song or playlist that you turn to in times of turmoil? Or is there something here at UCSF that you want to hear about? Please drop me a line at [email protected].
Every Day Is Women’s Day: Celebrating, inspiring, and empowering women at UCSF
In March, the world marked International Women’s Day, and the UCSF Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) in partnership with UCSF Health seized the occasion to bring women – and those of us who support women – together by hosting the inaugural International Women’s Day at UCSF. Our event was a big hit, and its impact continues to resonate throughout the UCSF community.
The global event adopted a theme of #BalanceforBetter, reflecting the need to build a gender-balanced world; however, the women planning the UCSF program of events found their own theme – “Celebrate, Inspire, and Empower” – that motivated over 1,200 participants across multiple venues throughout the day.
Nerissa Ko, who co-chairs the CSW with Larisa Kure, spearheaded the event with critical help and leadership from many others, including a funding grant from the Campus Life Service (CLS) Great People, Great Place initiative. In the past, the CSW has looked at many serious issues including the hiring and promotion of women, equal pay for equal work, and sexual harassment and sexual violence. Yet with many people still not aware of its work, the committee saw the event as a way to raise awareness, deepen partnerships, and create community across our complex and ever-expanding campus. “It was an outstanding day,” says Larisa, “It really speaks to the collaborative spirit here at UCSF.”
The day showcased women leaders on campus. Panels addressed the most recent (March – April 2017) faculty climate survey and marshalled ideas on how to improve the climate for women. A photographer was hired to take professional head shots (this was a huge hit!). Keynote speaker Katherine Stueland, chief commercial officer of Invitae, a San Francisco genetic testing company, delivered inspiring stories that resonated with audience members, including sharing that she has experienced imposter syndrome. Larisa explains, “That’s when you’re in a situation and think, ‘I don’t belong here. I’m not smart enough or good enough. I don’t have the experience. I don’t have the skill.’ That really hits women, especially if you’re the only woman in the room. You have to make sure that, even if you’re not seeing any one like you, you believe in yourself and your skill set. You’re in that room for a reason.”
Sheila Antrum, one of the UCSF Health organizers, has worked her way up from staff nurse to her position today as senior vice president and chief operating officer of UCSF Health. “Many female voices often don’t get heard,” she says. “What is very powerful is for individuals to engage with women at all levels in the organization, especially those who are peers throughout the UCSF community. Peers are powerful and supportive influences who help translate our needs into positive action.”
Kim Murphy, director of events for UCSF Health and one of the driving forces behind the day’s success, is sure that the event will take place annually. Kim says, “How could we not do it as an annual event? And we want to do more. We need to leverage this momentum to ensure continual activity and engagement of the UCSF community on an ongoing basis.”
Many of the sessions were live-streamed to various UCSF locations, and links to several of the videos are posted online. You can also find great resources on the Committee on the Status of Women webpage, such as excellent one-page tip sheets on how to ensure that UCSF is inclusive for women, assist people who have suffered from sexual harassment and sexual violence, and recognize outstanding women at UCSF.
This is not purely a women’s issue. I was honored to be asked to participate and give remarks, and I learned a lot.
Subsequent to this milestone celebration, three significant things happened. The first: School of Dentistry Dean Michael Reddy dedicated his April Dean’s Column, “#MeToo Means We, Too, Have Work to Do,” toward advancing equity and eliminating sexual harassment through mentoring and allyship. The second: portraits of two former UCSF chancellors were installed at Parnassus in the Medical Sciences Building lobby. One is of Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who brought a new era to our university. Her photograph serves as a significant welcome to women as they travel through this major thoroughfare. Read more about the installation online. Finally, the article “UCSF Women Reflect on Gender, Work and Science” was published on ucsf.edu. Highlighting UCSF women – scientists, clinicians, students, staff, and alums – and their experiences with gender, science, and success, it is an inspiring read.
The Latinx Center of Excellence: Combatting health disparities
The good news is that the number of Latinx enrollees in medical school is going up in absolute terms. But the bad news is that we’re falling further behind in meeting the general goal of having a physician workforce that is representative of the population of the state, particularly regarding the Latinx population. Alicia Fernández, director of UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations’ Program in Latinx and Immigrant Health tells me, “A recent study concluded that at the current pace, it would take 500 years for the number of Latino physicians to match the Latino population because the Latino population in California is growing so rapidly.”
Patients and their families appreciate a diverse group of clinicians. Research generated at UCSF and elsewhere has found that having a Spanish-speaking physician is associated with better clinical outcomes in some diseases, such as diabetes. And all patients appreciate clinicians who understand their circumstances and beliefs. That’s why it’s great news that, thanks to a federal grant we received last year, UCSF is now home to one of twelve Latinx Centers of Excellence (LCOE) around the country. We’ve started a host of exciting new programs through the center that are designed to increase Latinx representation in the health professions. Alicia is the principal investigator and seven other UCSF faculty are part of the core team.
The grant, from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), combined with funds from the School of Medicine, brings nearly $3 million over four years to support this ambitious initiative. This funding enables the LCOE to:
- Work with undergraduates at California State University Fresno and San Francisco State University to draw young Latinx students into research (at Fresno) and policy (SF State).
- Supplement the medical curriculum through the PROF-PATH program, which provides help to students from underrepresented in medicine backgrounds to make the most of the rich research and academic career development opportunities available at UCSF, and the ALAS program (Spanish for “wings”), which enhances leadership and clinical skills for rising Latinx and underrepresented second-year medical students before they go to the wards.
- Encourage residents to consider academic careers (because we need people to train the next generation of Latinx health professionals) through presentations on mentorship, academic publishing, and applications to fellowships.
- Mentor junior faculty, along with the Watson Scholars, who are faculty that share the University’s commitment to diversity and service to underserved or vulnerable populations through our educational and scholarly missions.
- Collaborate with community partners to make UCSF research more accessible and relevant to them.
All of the programs are up and running thanks to the efforts of a group of diverse and committed leaders such as Alejandra Rincón, assistant vice chancellor and chief of staff in the Office of Diversity and Outreach, who notes that they are open to students from all the schools. She is studying the current curriculum, reviewing the literature, and looking for best practices to improve the care of Latinx and underrepresented patients.
In Fresno, where UCSF has had a program since 1975, we’re trying to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds – who already know about health disparities because they live with them every day – to aspire to careers in the health professions. “It’s all about the mentorship,” says Katherine Flores, director of the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research. “Having UCSF mentors lets them see what they need to do to get where they want to go.” In the years ahead, I look forward to a greater presence of our colleagues from Fresno at our San Francisco campuses.
One UCSF Fresno program, the Doctors Academy, focuses on middle and high school students, introducing them to all the health sciences in order to see the breadth of opportunities and be exposed and encouraged to what touches their passion. It also works to maintain their connection to their culture, which sometimes gets lost as a student progresses through the educational system, as well as to promote optimal study skills.
I’m excited to follow the impact these programs will have on our learners, educators, and external communities – progress that will bring us closer to our goal of achieving health equity for all.
Taking a Stand: Anti-bullying and abusive conduct policy
When you think about bullying, what comes to mind? Is it the classic schoolyard kerfuffle playing kickball – or is it something that happened in a recent department meeting?
While UCSF strives to attract the best and the brightest – and we certainly do – our community is not immune to the challenges that all large organizations experience. The multifaceted nature of the human dynamic and interactions among tens of thousands of people is bound to result in negative behaviors and experiences, some of which unfortunately fall into the category of bullying. Like many other organizations, we have policies that provide structure for how we behave at work. Every year, Human Resources sends a UCSF-wide message about specific Campus Administrative Policies (CAP) that require an annual notification. One of them is CAP 150-27, Violence in the Work Place, which is undergoing in-depth review and modification to address bullying.
In 2016, UC President Janet Napolitano issued a letter to all chancellors that included “Guidance from the President Regarding Staff Abusive Conduct and Bullying.” The guidance affirms, “All faculty and staff members are expected to behave in ways that support UC’s Principles of Community and Regents Policy 1111 (Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct), which state that UC is committed to treating each member of the University community with respect and dignity. Abusive conduct and bullying behaviors are inconsistent with the values of the University and should be addressed directly and comprehensively.”
In response to unresolved complaints of bullying experienced by members of the UCSF community, including faculty, staff, students, and trainees, I appointed an Anti-Bullying and Complaint Adjudication work group last March to examine the institution’s response and to make recommendations to effectively resolve these complaints. The initial work group was expanded to include key stakeholders involved with responding to and investigating complaints and potentially developing and implementing responsive policies, procedures, or practices. Members represented Diversity and Outreach, HR (including the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program – FSAP – and Labor and Employee Relations), CECO Investigations Unit, Office of Legal Affairs, Office of the Ombuds, Risk Management, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
As a first step, the work group has recommended that UCSF revise and expand the UCSF Violence in the Work Place policy to explicitly prohibit abusive conduct and bullying behavior. While this is the initial approach, the important point is that UCSF intends to implement policy (whether a revised violence policy or a completely new one) to make clear that it applies to and protects all members of the UCSF community. Remaining work includes a comment and notice period, establishing the processes for reporting and adjudicating complaints, and conducting outreach to inform and educate the community.
Now, here’s my ask…. The call-for-comment period begins today and continues through May 31. I urge you to invest the time to read the draft and contribute your feedback.
I look forward to the formal launch of the updated policy and the resources and outreach that will support our community. Should you face bullying, remember to document your experiences – and tell someone. Contact your manager, division/department chair or Labor and Employee Relations. Students should contact their faculty advisor, program director, or Student Life. Anyone can submit a confidential report through the UC Whistleblower Hotline. You may also find confidential support through FSAP, Student Health and Counseling Services, the Office of the Ombuds, and Spiritual Care Services.
As we all know, we carry the stresses of our work lives home, and it can have a very real impact on our health and relationships. I cannot emphasize enough the value of practicing self-care in addition to seeking help.
Edmund Burke, member of British parliament in the 1700s, is quoted as saying, “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” In the twenty-first century, his words continue to resonate loud and clear, and by no means should abusive conduct and bullying be dismissed at any level.
Dan’s Tip of the Month
I do a fair amount of international travel and have tried a variety of products to deal with the different electric outlets around the world. I don’t know about you, but I frequently lose one of the parts or the thing seems to fry itself. I needed to buy a new device (guess why) before a trip to Europe last month, and I think I finally struck gold: the SAUNORCH Universal International Travel Power Adapter. It’s self-contained (so no parts to lose – other than the provided spare fuse), has adapters for everywhere as well as four USB ports, comes in bright colors to help make sure you don’t leave it behind, and seems well worth the $20 investment. Check it out – it’s electrifying!