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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Our patience for this work will need to match our passion and commitment, as it will be impossible to undo hundreds of years of racism quickly, but I firmly believe that together, we effect important change that will have lasting and important impact on each of us and the community we seek to serve.

Tara Davila
Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work

Our commitment to the community

The Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) values every community member and is committed to fostering a more equitable and inclusive culture, conducive to sustaining and attracting diversity in all forms. This commitment is accompanied by education, reflection, and informed action to support an increased understanding of biases and how racism and other exclusionary practices impact the YCSC community.

Intentional action has been underway to transform YCSC policies and practices to ensure that we increase and sustain diverse perspectives in research, clinical practice, and professional training. Such practices allow us to best participate and contribute to a pluralistic society and enhance both the center and the community we serve.

Tara Davila, LCSW became the inaugural YCSC chief diversity officer (CDO) in October 2020 with an enthusiastic vision to foster a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive culture at the center. Davila has spent nearly two decades serving marginalized people through direct clinical practice, supervision, and clinic administration.

Davila works to establish and nurture relationships that are conducive to collaboration and support the center’s development as a more just organization. She actively works to engage and invite all YCSC community members in DEIB efforts, including inviting all to a protected “Friday Focus on DEIB” space for monthly reflection and learning to help combat biases and deepen efforts to create a more inclusive and just community.

Under Davila’s leadership, the YCSC community began engaging in trainings and convenings with skilled and expert facilitators during scheduled, protected times and spaces. This has included consultation in restorative justice practices to promote healing and community building, a workshop on leveraging conflict for constructive change, several racial equity workshops, restorative practices training for leadership, and inclusive searches training for faculty and staff involved in hiring.

A volunteer diversity action group (DAG) was also developed, along with a new search committee process and required implicit bias training for search committee members. The group has made important contributions to the onboarding process at the center, and works closely with the center’s director of communications to increase transparency and ensure that all voices are given opportunities to be represented. They are currently working together to review university policies on inclusive practices to translate them into a process that will be adopted departmentally. The group also helped launch new mentoring efforts at the center.

While the action group has led efforts that impact YCSC faculty, staff, and trainees, they are also dedicated to efforts that will benefit the families served by the center. This includes the development of a curriculum for clinical faculty and fellows to enhance understanding of the impact on structural racism on mental health, as well as to develop skills in delivering culturally responsive care.

Work is also underway to create a health equity plan for YCSC clinical services, embedding the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), as well as collaboration with YCSC research labs to support inclusive and equitable practices in research.

Key accomplishments (2020-2023)

  • Clarified organizational structure for department governance & clinical mission
  • Clarified job responsibilities for those in leadership roles
  • Instituted an ongoing series of leadership workshops and learning groups
  • Introduced concept of service leadership and restorative leadership practices
  • Succeeded in addressing salary inequity for faculty with master’s degrees
  • Launched the Viola W. Bernard Prize in Social innovation in Mental Health Care
  • Engaged consultant to review clinical services around culture/climate, workflow, and the integration of research and practice
  • Developed and piloted Inclusive Hiring Guidelines aligned with Yale School of Medicine (YSM) best practices
  • Adapted YSM Inclusive Searches Training for YCSC department
  • Established a committee focused on developing a consistent approach to onboarding to ensure all new YCSC community members feel welcome and included
  • Developed clinical curriculum, based in cultural humility, that supports the development of treatment approaches tailored to the diverse needs of the community served by the YCSC
  • Participated in a committee developing a tool to expand the Cultural FormulationInterview to include impacts of discrimination
  • Collaborated with OAPD and other department leads focused on expanding mentorship workshops that meet the needs of a diverse community
  • Piloted and established the provision of Continuing Education Credits through the National Association of Social Workers, expanding department-supported training credits for licensure
  • Continued Focus Fridays Discussion series and monthly DEI- focused staff meetings in outpatient clinical services
  • Launched Viola Bernard Social Justice and Health Equity Fellowship
  • Established first annual professional progression celebration to honor the contributions and progression of YCSC faculty and staff
  • Engaged with team to support Dean Latimore’s Latine focus groups at YSM
  • Provided ongoing opportunities for expanded learning across the department

On-going efforts & upcoming goals

  • Continue to follow consultant recommendations around culture/climate, workflow, and the integration of research and practice
  • Build a pipeline for fellows, postdocs, postgrads, and staff to advance
  • Enhance community engagement across missions and continually seek input to inform change
  • Develop cohort of individuals to support and sustain restorative practices to maintain and connected community
  • Enhance collaboration across YCSC missions
  • Re-establish & enhance regular department-wide communication
  • Continue to expand mentorship opportunities
  • Create advisory board of youth and family who have engaged in YCSC clinical and/or research missions for ongoing engagement
  • Develop and pilot annual and semi-annual community climate evaluation