Commitment to Diversity

Committed to a diverse, inclusive community.

The medical field is in critical need of diverse people, ideas and skill sets if we are to address the health disparities within the WWAMI region and beyond. The University of Washington 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 from a variety of backgrounds and with diverse identities to enrich classroom discussions, foster creative thinking, and contribute to preparing our graduates to serve the health needs of all communities in our region. All applicants are evaluated considering our mission, and we encourage students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine to apply.

Our intention is to create a community that encourages participation and connection and values each individual's unique contributions 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.

Read our policy for promoting a diverse, equitable and inclusive school of medicine.

Committed to a collaborative learning culture.

Both the UW School of Medicine and the UW as an institution are committed to fostering a collaborative, diverse learning community. To this end, 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 the UW School of Medicine, and CEO 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 inequities and social determinants of health, and, most of all, enables marginalized groups to thrive at the institution. Current programs within this initiative include:

Important academic objectives are furthered by classes made up of students with talents and skills derived from varying backgrounds, including but not limited to:

  • Racial or ethnic communities underrepresented in medicine
  • The LGBTQ community, which is underrepresented in medicine
  • Those persevering against economic disadvantage, or personal or social hardships
  • Students who have lived in a foreign country and/or have spoken a language other than English at home
  • Those with certain career goals (with particular attention paid to the applicant's commitment to public service), employment history and educational background (including graduate study)
  • Students with evidence of and potential for leadership (demonstrated by extracurricular activities, broad interests and life experiences)
  • School, civic or community service achievements
  • Special talents (Ex: performance artist)
  • Geographic diversity
  • Students with unique life experience

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:

  • Center for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (CEDI): Advancing Excellence through Diversity
  • Brotherhood Initiative: UW undergraduate pilot program intended to boost enrollment, retention and graduation rates for male students of color
  • Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA): Medical school student group devoted to Latino students and serving the WWAMI Latino population
  • 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

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.

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 UWSOM. 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 UWSOM.
  • A series of roundtable discussions including representatives from the Seattle African American community, faculty, and residents, and upper-level administrative officials from both the UWSOM 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.

Center for Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (CEDI)

The Center for Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion has a mission to build individual and institutional capacity to achieve excellence, foster innovation, and further health equity in our state and region. This will be done by advancing diversity and inclusiveness throughout the UWSOM’s teaching, patient care and research programs. CEDI’s programs and collaborations are aligned to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the UWSOM. Opportunities through CEDI include summer programs, student groups, financial resources, study tips and strategies for success, and resources for curriculum, cultural proficiency, professional development and faculty development.

Pre-medical programs