Hawgood, Leadership Team Outline Diversity Vision for UCSF

Members of the leadership team answer questions from the audience during the eighth annual Chancellor's Forum on Diversity and Inclusion, held at Cole Hall on April 7.  Photo by Elisabeth Fall

A crowd of almost 250 people gathered at Cole Hall on April 7 to listen to UC San Francisco Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, outline his vision for a more inclusive campus environment. And Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD, vice chancellor of diversity and outreach, spoke about specific measures put in place by the University to help accomplish that goal at the eighth annual Chancellor’s Forum on Diversity and Inclusion.

“We are proud that we’ve made – and continue to make – our unified goal of having a diverse inclusive campus a priority at UCSF,” Hawgood said. “Indeed, diversity and inclusion are essential to our success.”

Hawgood acknowledged the need to strengthen diversity efforts, citing UCSF’s middle-of-the-road performance in the most recent climate survey.

“This is not an accustomed or comfortable place for UCSF or for me,” he said. “We recognize there is much work to be done to become a truly inclusive community.”

Close to 250 members of the UCSF community gathered at Cole Hall to listen to leadership outline its goals for diversity and inclusion. Photo by Elisabeth Fall

Student leaders of the #whitecoats4blacklives movement were acknowledged by Vice Chancellor Renee Navarro and the audience. Photo by Elisabeth Fall

Hawgood pointed out modern day reminders of why diversity needs to be an important priority: the conflict in the Middle East stemming from religious and political intolerance, police shootings of unarmed black men in various U.S. cities that led to the Black Lives Matter movement, and the recent bigotry in Indiana aimed at the LGBT community.

Navarro, in her presentation, spoke about how a supposed “pipeline” for talent to grow and advance at UCSF actually resembles a funnel, where the percentage of underrepresented minorities, in particular, gets smaller as they try to progress from students (19.5 percent) to postdocs (10.1 percent) to faculty (six percent). She also mentioned the funnel effect applies to staff as well, saying UCSF has a need for intentional, explicit staff development and sponsorship.

“We have an opportunity to sustain the early gains in diversity – by focusing on creating a true pipeline to the faculty and leadership positions,” Navarro said. “We must fix the leaks.”

She also took time to acknowledge the student organizers of the #whitecoats4blacklives movement by having them stand up during the forum. Their efforts led to a national conversation on raising awareness about health care disparities among people of color.

Unlike previous years, the majority of the time was devoted to directly addressing inquiries from the audience.

After Navarro’s presentation, she and Hawgood were joined on stage by School of Dentistry Dean John Featherstone, PhD; interim School of Medicine Dean Bruce Wintroub, MD; School of Nursing Dean David Vlahov, RN, PhD; School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD; Graduate Division Dean Elizabeth Watkins, PhD; and Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources David Odato for the questions and answers portion of the forum.

The deans were recognized for increasing the percentage of underrepresented minority students and initiating diversity programs within each school or division.

Questions raised by audience members include wanting specifics about funding to attract and keep more underrepresented minority students, and details about contract disputes with custodial staff. A second year physical therapy student asked about opportunities to get more involved in diversity initiatives within her program, and a medical student pointed out that South Asians – in particular those of Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese and Hmong ancestry – typically get lumped in with the rest of the Asian continent when their experiences and challenges can be quite different from those of people of East Asian ancestry.

In a moment of candor, Guglielmo said he was “uncomfortable with the progress we’ve made and uncomfortable with the diversity of my colleagues on this panel,” which consisted of mostly white heterosexual men. His response prompted attendees at Cole Hall to cheer.

Hawgood reminded the audience that fostering an inclusive environment must be the responsibility of everyone.

“Diversity and inclusion is a leadership responsibility to be sure, and you are right to hold my team and me accountable,” he said. “But no part of our community escapes responsibility for doing their part.”

For more internal-facing stories from the UCSF community, please visit Pulse of UCSF.

School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, shares a moment with Winifred Kwofie, associate director of engineering services, at the reception following the panel discussion. Photo by Elisabeth Fall