Commitment to Diversity

The UW School of Medicine serves a culturally, racially, and socio- economically diverse WWAMI region.

We consider diversity of students, staff and faculty to be a fundamental element of our success, and we promote diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our mission and practice. In Admissions, our goal is to select a regionally representative inclusive student body composed of students with various backgrounds and identities to enrich classroom discussions, unleash creativity, and contribute to preparing our graduates to serve the health needs of all communities in our region and care for an increasingly diverse society. All applicants are evaluated in light of this mission and we encourage students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine to apply to the UWSOM.

The medical field is in acute need of diverse people, ideas, and skill sets if we are to address the health disparities within the WWAMI region and beyond.

Our objective is to create a community that encourages participation and connection, and that values each individual's unique contribution, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, culture, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, spiritual practice, geography, mental and physical status or age.

"Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need for one another."
-Desmond Tutu

Message from the UWSOM Academic Affairs Deans

The University of Washington School of Medicine is committed to providing support to all students, especially to those from marginalized groups, and to maintaining privacy of student records including immigration status. Furthermore, the school continues to be committed to accepting DACA students and supporting them once they matriculate.

We also affirm UW President Ana Mari Cauce’s statement that we are “…proud to be the home to students, staff and scholars from around the world. We stand with them and will provide them with support as needed. We are fully committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of all members of our community including those covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The UWPD does not and will not detain, question or arrest individuals solely because they lack documentation. Nor do they or will they inquire about immigration status when they detain, question or otherwise interact with people.”

Please contact any one of us if you would like to discuss this or other related issues further.

Suzanne Allen, Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs; Anne Eacker, Associate Dean for Student Affairs; Erika Goldstein, Associate Dean for the Colleges; Sara Kim, Associate Dean for Educational Quality Improvement; Michael Ryan, Associate Dean for Curriculum; Carol Teitz, Associate Dean for Admissions; Marj Wenrich, Associate Dean for Education Strategies.

Important academic objectives are furthered by classes composed of students having talents and skills derived from varying backgrounds. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Being from a racial or ethnic community that is underrepresented in medicine
  • Being a member of the LGBTQ community, which is underrepresented in medicine
  • Persevering against economic disadvantage, personal or social hardships
  • Having lived in a foreign country or spoken a language other than English at home
  • Career goals (with particular attention paid to the applicant's commitment to public service)
  • Employment history
  • Educational background (including graduate study)
  • Evidence of and potential for leadership (demonstrated by extracurricular, broad interests and life experiences)
  • School, civic, or community service achievement
  • Special talents (such as a career as a performance artist)
  • Geographic diversity
  • Unique life experience
Medical Student Andrew Benefield

Faces of UW School of Medicine: A video produced by medical students that showcases the diversity of our medical students, faculty and alumni.

A diverse group of students wearing white medical coats

Curriculum, Service Learning, and Minority Student Support

As part of the medical student curriculum, there are optional educational pathways concerned with underserved communities, including Hispanic, Indian, Global, and LGBTQ health. Our medical students also engage in numerous service learning opportunities and student-run clinics as well as working with many of the undergraduate diversity programs on the UW campus. Additional student support groups include:

  • Medicine Wheel Society (MWS): Social network and support group for American Indian/Alaska Native medical students, faculty and friends
  • Queer medical Student Association (QMed): Medical school student group dedicated to providing education and information to all who are interested in healthcare issues for the queer population
  • Students for an Anti-Racist UW School of Medicine (SARU): Medical school student group dedicated to supporting students of color and fighting to make UWSOM an anti-racist institution
  • Student National Medical Association (SNMA): National medical student group committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students
A diverse group of medical students 

Both the UW School of Medicine and the UW as an institution are committed to fostering a collaborative, diverse learning community. To this end, the new UW President Ana Marie Cauce launched The Race and Equity Initiative in 2015 to challenge the UW administration and student body to take personal responsibility for individual bias and institutional racism present with the university. In May 2016, the Dean of UW Medicine, Paul Ramsey, agreed to launch a concurrent Race, Equity, and Justice Initiative specific to the school of medicine: a movement framed in the historical injustices committed against marginalized peoples and grounded in accountability moving forward. The goal of the initiative is to create a culture at UWSOM that acknowledges the histories and experiences of people of color, teaches about health inequalities and social determinants of health, and most of all enables marginalized groups to thrive at the institution.

A diverse group of students wearing white medical coats

Current programs include

  • The Center for Health Equity Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI) whose focus includes faculty, fellows, and residents in addition to students is led by Dr. Leo Morales, Chief Diversity Officer for the School of Medicine. CEDI has created new faculty communities through the Committee on Minority Faculty Affairs as well as a network of underrepresented residents and fellows.CEDI also sponsors and facilitates a number of programs for pre-health students as well as medical students. A new program is the UW Health Professions Academy, an undergraduate pipeline program specifically designed to increase the pool from which we can draw talented, prepared, disadvantaged URM applicants.
  • Mandatory Anti-Racism training for all faculty and staff at UW School of Medicine.
  • A series of roundtable discussions including representatives from the Seattle African American community, faculty, and residents, and upper-level administrative officials from both the School of Medicine and the University to strategize how best to increase recruitment of African American students.
  • Continuing work to garner additional funds to enhance the amount of financial aid available for disadvantaged and under-represented-minority students.
  • All Admissions Committee members receive mandatory orientation training on recognizing unconscious bias.

Scholarships

The WAFP Minority Diverse Constituencies Scholarships: http://wafp.net/wafp-foundation/stud-res-support

The AMA Minority Scholar Scholarship: https://www.ama-assn.org/content/apply-medical-school-scholarships

AAMC Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarships: https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/awards/nickens-student