The next generation of physicians, scientists and public health professionals will be called upon to address the health challenges of an increasingly diverse population. At Tufts University School of Medicine, we have been deliberate about pursuing initiatives aimed at creating a diverse learning community that promotes excellence and creates health professionals equipped with skills for the 21st Century.
The scientists, physicians and public health professionals being trained here today will go out into a world where diversity is the norm. Patients, peers and policy makers will expect them to have – in addition to their intelligence and their training – a confidence in working with others who are not like them in some significant way.
Because that is so, diversity is regarded as a cultural value at TUSM. Our community – the students and faculty, the post-docs and the MD’s – is enhanced by that diversity. That is why we believe in the need to create a diverse learning community, one where learning from difference can nurtured among all students, trainees and faculty. Critical to creating such an environment is our ability to attract students from all backgrounds to Tufts.
It is precisely because we want to ensure that we have a diverse applicant pool from which to select our students and, ultimately, our future faculty that we view student development as an integral part of our mission. Our so-called “pipeline” programs aim to inspire young people to consider fields in the biomedical sciences and health professions.
This web-site and its linked pages describe 11 distinct programs that open new pathways, new roads leading to our school. Some have been in place for twenty years or more, paving the way for hundreds of aspiring scientists and physicians to come here. Others are newer programs that point the way to the next destination for our graduates and post-doctoral fellows.
Other programs seek to open doors for younger students – middle school and high school students – and encourage them to take the first steps toward careers in science and health while other programs offer routes back to these careers. Still another program recognizes that high school science teachers are among the most common sources of inspiration and seeks to empower them.
Like so many of the best ideas in academia, these programs were conceived by individual faculty members and staff as their own contributions to diversity at TUSM. In bringing their ideas into being, these individuals all took on added responsibilities and obligations. And they all continue to demonstrate a deep commitment to diversity and the vision of working towards the goal of creating a diverse workforce. Together, they exemplify Tufts’ ideal of active citizenship. It is an honor and a privilege to count them among my colleagues.
Looking forward, my goal is to both support these programs and to build upon the foundation that they have laid to further enrich the diversity of our school and, ultimately, our nation’s workforce.