Skip to Main Content

Focusing on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging: 2020-2023 & Beyond

January 16, 2024

In the three years since Tara Davila, LCSW stepped into the new role of chief diversity officer (CDO) for the Yale Child Study Center (YCSC), a great deal has been accomplished across the department and through Davila’s stewardship. Now in a dual role of vice chair for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the center, which serves as the Department of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, Davila works closely with members of a volunteer diversity action group (DAG) to help carry on much of the important work related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) that has been underway at the YCSC these last few years.

"Collaboration is a hallmark of our department and our DEIB efforts been the work of many within the Center, which is integral to making our community more inclusive, equitable, and diverse,” Davila commented.

Among the department’s collaborative DEIB-related accomplishments over the last year, a new set of inclusive hiring guidelines aligned with best practices set out by the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) was developed and piloted, and will soon be available on the center’s website. Relatedly, Davila led an inclusive searches training for the department, adapted from one offered by YSM.

In early 2023, a new departmental committee was convened by Vice Chair of Clinical Operations Erin Warnick, PhD, bringing together community members who have a role in onboarding new hires and trainees. The focus of this group was to develop a consistent approach to onboarding at the YCSC to help ensure that all new community members feel welcome and included through the implementation of consistent onboarding practices.

As a result of this committee work, new onboarding checklists were developed and are currently being piloted by the YCSC clinical practice. New resources were also added to the center’s intranet, shared by the department’s director of communications with new hires each month along with an invitation to be introduced to the community via a monthly announcement.

Additional accomplishments across the department include:

  • Continued development of a cultural humility centered clinical curriculum that supports treatment approaches tailored to the diverse needs of the community served by the clinical practice
  • Collaboration with Yale’s Office of Academic and Professional Development (OAPD) and other department leads focused on expanding mentorship workshops that meet the needs of a diverse community
  • Provision of Continuing Education Credits through the National Association of Social Workers, expanding department-supported training credits for licensure of master’s prepared faculty, staff, and trainees
  • Continuation of a “Focus Friday” Discussion series and monthly DEI-focused staff meetings in outpatient clinical services led by Davila
  • The launch of a new Viola Bernard Social Justice and Health Equity Fellowship
  • An inaugural annual professional progression celebration to honor the contributions and progression of YCSC faculty and staff

Several efforts will be on-going in the new year and into the future, along with goals to build an advancement pipeline for fellows, postdocs, postgrads, and staff; develop a cohort of individuals to support and sustain restorative practices to maintain a connected community; re-establish and enhance regular department-wide communication focused on DEIB, continued expansion of mentorship opportunities; the creation of an advisory board of youth and family who have engaged in YCSC clinical and/or research missions for ongoing engagement; and the development of an annual and semi-annual community climate evaluation.

Reflecting on Davila’s stewardship in her role as vice chair of DEIB and the department’s work in these areas at an opening talk in January, YCSC Chair Linda Mayes, MD said, “Climate and culture are vital; culture is the values that we hold; climate is what we do to reflect those values. Our DEIB work is devoted to that agenda, to create and to inculcate a culture of respect and inclusion which over time creates climate change. We're sticking to the course.”

Submitted by Crista Marchesseault on January 16, 2024