Introducing Dominic Francese, MPH, of the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine.
What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you personally?
DEI means seeking out and considering different ideas, voices, and perspectives. I think that the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on institutions and venues that allowed people of different backgrounds to come together and learn from one another. Returning to “normal” is not good enough. As we continue to recover as a society, it’s important to prioritize DEI in how we rebuild our institutions so that we can emerge stronger than before.
Why do you value diversity?
I think there is a lot to be learned from people who do not think the same as you do or have the same life experiences. I recently participated in a forum about potential policy changes in my town’s school system. I brought my own concerns, but was surprised by the concerns of other parents, students, and teachers that I had not even considered. By participating in a forum that openly invited comments from all, everyone left knowing a bit more about their neighbors. In these sorts of situations, I think we break down the notion of “otherness” and realize that most of us have similar goals and deal with similar but unique issues.
Why should an academic setting be equal and inclusive?
If an academic institution is truly searching for the truth, then it should seek out, invite, and consider all ideas, without preconceived bias. This also applies to the people within that institution. Having a diversity of ideas can only enrich our understanding of the questions we’re asking and the problems we’re trying to solve.
What do you look forward to most?
I think the success of DEI efforts at Yale and beyond are far from a given, but I think there is reason to be optimistic. My young children are very attuned to what is going on in current events, and I notice that the way they discuss issues and ask questions reflect a greater understanding than I did at their age of the more diverse and complex society in which they are growing up. I look forward to the country and the world that they shape.
What have you noticed in the department?
I started at Yale in June 2021, so I began before many offices re-opened, and I still work a hybrid schedule. I cannot say I have seen many changes, however, I have been impressed by the continued focus on DEI from Yale. I know in the US, many DEI initiatives started in 2020, but I’ve noticed that many have sputtered out over time. It’s refreshing to see Yale’s continued efforts to pursue these initiatives and make DEI a part of the culture of the institution.
The Department of Internal Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Internal Medicine knows that diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to our mission; aims to provide a safe, welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds results in beneficial diversity of thought; and believes that having a diverse team enhances our ability to provide excellent clinical care, research, and medical education.