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Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

(ADEI) Newsletter

Dear Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy,


As leaders of the department’s ADEI efforts, we are delighted to launch our first Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) newsletter. Our goals for this quarterly newsletter are to keep everyone updated on the ADEI work happening in the department and communicate about upcoming initiatives, activities, and events related to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.


The purpose of the ADEI work is to foster an anti-racist culture of inclusion, promote and celebrate diversity across our department, and ensure the department’s research agenda advances health equity. We are grateful to be working with a committed group of faculty and staff who serve on the ADEI committee. Anyone is welcome to join the committee – just send one of the co-chairs an email. We are also eager to hear feedback and suggestions from non-committee members to ensure as many voices as possible help shape our ADEI vision and agenda. We very much look forward to working with you all to create a supportive, inclusive, and healthy work environment.


Tangee Streeter and Laurie Norton (staff co-leads of the ADEI committee) and Harsha Thirumurthy and Christina Roberto (Faculty Co-Vice Chairs for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

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What ADEI work has been happening in the department?

Below we highlight some recent changes we have made.


Updated ADEI section on the department website

The Department website has been updated to include a new statement about our commitment to Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The statement was crafted with input from department leadership, members of the ADEI committee, and feedback from the entire department. 


Revamped process for inviting department seminar speakers

This year’s HP/CHIBE seminar series reflects our revised process for nominating speakers in order to achieve the following goals: 1) at least one-third of our speakers are from underrepresented groups in biomedical sciences; 2) at least one-third of our seminars are related to health equity; and 3) both staff and faculty are invited to nominate speakers to increase inclusion. A similar process has been put in place for the FY22 Penn Bioethics Seminar and the Research Ethics and Policy Series held in Medical Ethics. Results of these efforts will be reported on in our annual report.


ADEI Hiring Manager Training

The Health Policy project managers participated in a hiring managers training led by Dr. Brian Gittens to establish and improve diverse hiring practices, especially with regards to Health Policy research staff. Two important takeaways from that training were to focus on intentionality and expanding the applicant pool.


The PM group and members of the ADEI "People" sub-committee (Lauren Counterman, Kristen Daskilewicz, Erica Dixon, Laurie Norton, Dana Opiela, and Nancy Kennedy-Smith) will draft a formal hiring guide that incorporates ADEI best practices, which will be circulated to the department. For now, we’ll share a few tips here:


1) Hiring committees should discuss and agree upfront which skills and experience are most needed for a particular position to better assess candidates objectively.


2) Hiring committees should actively check/reflect on their own biases in evaluating candidates.


3) The group also received input from DeWayne L Bluford, a Senior Staff Recruiter in PSOM, who encouraged hiring managers to use the Job Elephant service to specifically target and expand where job postings appear.


4) We also learned that Penn HR now automatically lists Penn positions on Inside Higher EdDirectEmployers, and the Diverse Higher Education websites.

What can you do if you have a concern related to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

The Co-Chairs for ADEI (Laurie, Tangee, Christina, and Harsha) are designated safe people in the Department whom you can reach out to individually or collectively if you have a concern related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We do not want you to feel alone if you are experiencing or witnessing upsetting or concerning behaviors. We can serve as allies who will listen, provide support, and help you strategize on how to address your concerns. We can also steer you toward relevant offices in PSOM or the University to receive additional support and guidance and help you engage in formal reporting processes if you choose to do so. These conversations can remain confidential if you wish. The only exceptions to that are if someone shares with us an intention to harm themselves or others or reports a crime such as physical assault, theft, etc. 

Events and Activities

Fall Kick-Off Event

September 29, 3:30 PM (This event will take place virtually)

Meet the ADEI leadership and committee members. Join us for a brief (around 15-minute) overview of the committee and its initiatives. The co-chairs will be available so that members of the department can share feedback.


ADEI Open Forums

Beginning September 17 and occurring every other Friday (12:30-1:30 PM) through December

ADEI leadership will be available in person or via Zoom to meet with members of the department for open conversations and support. See an interesting story in the news or attended a neighborhood event that you want to talk about? Have a suggestion for how our department can better foster inclusion? If you want to chat about anything ADEI-related, come speak with us.


Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 through October 15

National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Johnson and was expanded by President Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law in 1988. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. 


You may have seen in the news that Cuba is currently experiencing intense protests in response to the authoritarian government. Amalia Dache is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Penn and an Afro-Cuban American who has been writing and speaking about the protests and the oppressive conditions under which Cubans live. Check out this Q&A with her to learn more.

SUMR Scholars

The Summer Undergraduates Minority Research Program (SUMR) is a pipeline program aimed at preparing undergraduate students from underrepresented minority groups in exploring the field of health services research. The SUMR program is an initiative by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the Health Care Management Department of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is supported in part by the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy. Learn more about some of the SUMR scholars who worked on projects with our MEHP faculty this summer below.


Devin Brown (MEHP Mentor: Kevin Volpp)

Project: ASCVD Initiative: Gamification and social incentives to augment medication adherence

"With the SUMR program’s ability to foster my newfound passion and interest for research, I now know that health services research must be a component of my future career as a public health professional."

Aditi Doiphode (MEHP Mentor: Harald Schmidt)

Project: CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index: analysis of uses and implementation

"SUMR has been a great way to meet other peers who are also interested in health equity and to immerse myself in this relevant and interesting research project."

Karim Farhat (MEHP Mentors: Atheendar Venkataramani and Matthew McCoy)

Projects: 1) Economic opportunity zones and the effect they have had on health outcomes in rural counties suffering most from the opioid crisis. 2) Digital health privacy and how hospital websites collect individuals' data and sell it to third-party advertisers

"My key takeaway from this great experience is that the most accomplished academics are those that accommodate their colleagues at every turn. The ability to not only research but also lead others in research is unique, and I believe it can amplify those around you to new heights."

Mamaswatsi Kopeka (MEHP Mentor: Harsha Thirumurthy)

Project: Association of time and risk preferences with health behaviors in Sub-Saharan Africa

"Working with Lizzie Bair and Professor Thirumurthy has been the most exhilarating learning experience; they believed in me from day one and were always available to answer any questions and offered extra-extra support – it has been incredible!"

Karishma Lachhwani (MEHP Mentor: Christina Roberto)

Project: Communicating the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages: a randomized-controlled experiment of different nutrition labels on purchases and consumption

"Dr. Roberto is an amazing mentor. She does a wonderful job checking in, bringing the lab together, and giving us a bigger picture understanding of how our projects and day-to-day tasks relate to current food policy measures."

Elizabeth Madamidola (MEHP Mentor: Joanna Hart)

Project: Youth caregivers project

"I would say that I learned how patient you have to be with research but also how powerful quantitative research methods can be. Research projects are truly a team effort, and I learned how the impacts of research can be truly applied and used to change the health systems, instead of just being theoretical like I previously thought."

Amey Maley (MEHP Mentors: Ari Friedman and Matthew McCoy)

Project: An analysis of 3rd party tracking on hospital homepages

“This project brought to light the dynamic nature of our digital health footprints and how vulnerable it is to seemingly innocuous activities such as web browsing.”

Miles Meline (MEHP Mentor: Holly Fernandez Lynch)

Project: Clinical trial capacity at sites participating in the COVID-19 convalescent plasma expanded access program

"As someone who is extremely interested in the broad, interdisciplinary scope of bioethics research, a key takeaway for me would probably be that I gained direct health services research experience from a data-based perspective with exceptional mentorship and guidance from Holly (and from our other project mentor Sage Gustafson [NYU])."

Daniella Pena (MEHP Mentor: Holly Fernandez Lynch)

Project: Clinical trial capacity at sites participating in the COVID-19 convalescent plasma expanded access program

"I've had a great time as a SUMR scholar. It's been a very enriching experience intellectually, and it has provided a lot of opportunities to learn both through practice from our own research projects, as well as hearing other people's career paths and applying these lessons to our own planned career trajectory."

Miguel Sanchez-Iriqui (MEHP Mentor: Norma B. Coe)

Project: Effects of informal versus formal care in Alzheimer's and Related Dementia patients

"The SUMR program solidified my interest in health care economics, with an emphasis on health care financing."

Noelle “Kristen” Smith (MEHP Mentors: Ari Friedman and Matthew McCoy)

Project: Digital privacy across hospital websites

"I think this project is especially interesting because digital privacy in this day and age truly impacts everyone. Researching this topic so far has both made me incredibly aware of the prevalence of poor privacy measures as they relate to one's health information generated through website use as well as encouraged me to consider solutions that get to the root of the problem."

Jasmine Warren (MEHP Mentors: Kevin Volpp and Rinad Beidas)

Projects: Bold Solutions Regional Health Equity Initiative and IMPaCT and CFAR

"This [regional health equity initiative] project taught me that health disparities are abundant in so many different ways. As a result, I can't fix all of them. However, there are so many ways to make an impact, which is the most important thing. My experience with the ARCH Lab taught me that research can be conducted in so many different ways, which facilitates both curiosity and creativity in academia."

Whom to Contact with Concerns

As we continue this work toward advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within the department, we would love to hear from you. Please submit your ideas, suggestions, and feedback to Tangee Streeter via

Medical Ethics & Health Policy Website | ADEI Page