Q&A with the GME Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

Co-president Bianca Williams, MD, MBA talks about creating and maintaining a more diverse, equitable and inclusive healing and working environment at Rush

February 20, 2021
Four people tabling at an event with Rush banners and materials

This week, Rush University is proud to host its first ever House Staff Appreciation Week. To celebrate our house staff, we’re highlighting the work of each Graduate Medical Education committee. Here’s everything you need to know about the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DEI) committee featuring a Q&A with co-president Bianca Williams, MD, MBA (PGY-3, Pediatrics).

What is the mission of the DEI committee?

Bianca Williams: Our mission is to create a more prosperous healing and working environment through the championing of the diverse communities we serve and hope to reflect. Our goal is to facilitate the purposeful creation and maintenance of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Rush University Medical Center.

What encouraged you to get involved in the DEI committee?

BW: There is an apparent lack of female physicians and physicians of color within our nation. This is mainly due to the fact that many groups were "unauthorized" to achieve medical training in decades past. Now that no one should be discriminated against based on their innate being, it is our job to recruit and retain diverse staff as to not backtrack efforts to create more diverse workspaces, but to move forward.

How many members does the DEI committee have?

BW: Our members range in level of training from medical students to attending faculty. We are aided by administrators from many different offices across Rush. Active membership has been between 50-70 members over my tenure.

What initiatives are you working on now? Are there any that have been particularly successful?

BW: We are most proud of the house staff recruiting effort our team executed during the last two seasons. We were able to recruit not only in Chicago, but also at other major city conferences before the pandemic hit. I believe Rush University will see the effects of our work for many years to come.

We have also been working closely with the Graduate Medical Education office to fine-tune and build on our efforts. Other initiatives include multicultural programming and pursuit of research funding to specifically address how our patients and physicians are affected by health care inequities and socioeconomic struggles.

What is your vision for the DEI committee going forward?

BW: We are in the "paying it forward" stage. We hope excited medical students, resident house staff and attendings will join our cause and bring their ideas to the table.