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Fostering Equity and Inclusion in Infectious Diseases at Yale

January 30, 2024
by Chigoziri Konkwo

The Infectious Disease Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism Committee (ID2EA) was formed in March 2020 as a joint effort by faculty from the Yale Section of Infectious Diseases, the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, and faculty in Yale School of Medicine’s Section of the History of Medicine. ID2EA aims to take a multi-pronged approach towards incorporating a focus on equity and antiracism into the education and professional development initiatives within the Department of Internal Medicine’s Section of Infectious Diseases.

The ID2EA team led a recent study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases that evaluated perspectives from infectious diseases faculty regarding the effectiveness of fostering an understanding of how racial and socioeconomic disparities contribute to health disparities. 92% of respondents found the sessions helpful across educational sessions, with 89% stating that they effectively achieved their intended goals.

Yale faculty also contributed to similar efforts implemented by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) to create a framework to incorporate diversity and inclusion tools for programs nationwide. These efforts were highlighted in a recent study published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, describing strategies for promoting equity in recruiting fellows and fostering diversity within the faculty development curriculum. While the IDSA sets standards on the ideal approach for promoting these initiatives, these standards are very similar to what had already been implemented by the ID2EA task force.

“I'm very proud to say we were ahead of the curve. We didn't wait for other university-wide initiatives and committees to happen and leadership to be appointed (although they ultimately were). We just rolled up our sleeves and did the work from the beginning. I'd like to think that we're forging a path and certainly, our experience helps contribute to the IDSA task force. We can help inform what other programs can do,” said Jaimie Meyer, MD, FACP, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases), YSM, and epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, previous co-chair of ID2EA and associate program director of the ID fellowship.

Marwan Azar, MD, FAST, FIDSA, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases) and laboratory medicine, and infectious disease fellowship program director, agrees. “I think there are certainly many things that we can incorporate from the IDSA task force. We can improve on some things, but I think we were very much avant-garde in general and ahead of the curve. It's not a performative or theoretical thing for us. We put our money where our mouth is.”

To learn more, read these studies: Building an Infectious Disease Diversity, Equity, and Antiracism (ID2EA) Curriculum: A Single Center's Experience and Reflections

Inclusion, Diversity, Access, and Equity in Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training: Tools for Program Directors

Luther, V., Barsoumian, A. E., Konold, V. J. L., Vijayan, T., Balba, G. P., Benson, C. A., Blackburn, B. G., Cariello, P. F., Perloff, S., Razonable, R. R., Acharya, K., Azar, M. M., Bhanot, N., Blyth, D. M., Butt, S. L., Casañas, B., Chow, B., Cleveland, K. O., Cutrell, J. B., & Doshi, S. (2023). Inclusion, Diversity, Access, and Equity in Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training: Tools for Program Directors. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 10(6).

Gleeson, S. E., Zapata, H., Bathgate, M. E., Emu, B., Frederick, J., Friedland, G., Golden, M. P., Meyer, J. P., Radin, J., Sideleau, R., Shaw, A., Shenoi, S. V., Trubin, P. A., Virata, M., Barakat, L. A., & Desruisseaux, M. S. (2023). Building an Infectious Disease Diversity, Equity, and Antiracism (ID2EA) Curriculum: A Single Center’s Experience and Reflections. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 77(5).

Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine Section of Infectious Diseases engages in comprehensive and innovative patient care, research, and educational activities for a broad range of infectious diseases. Learn more at Infectious Diseases.

Submitted by Julie Parry on January 29, 2024