Racism is a public health crisis. As health care professionals, we strive to do our part in understanding the issue and mitigating any contribution to this injustice. Washington University School of Medicine is committed to advancing the health of our communities, providing the best clinical care, conducting innovative research, and educating the leaders of tomorrow through a culture that supports diversity, inclusion, critical thinking, and creativity.

The Department of Anesthesiology is motivated to fully participate in these efforts by offering professional development opportunities that focus on 1) raising awareness and understanding of the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion and 2) developing and sharing strategies and educational methods to enhance inclusivity in our organizational culture.

To achieve this goal, we have partnered with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to provide a comprehensive professional-development curriculum tailored to each member within the School of Medicine. The curriculum is called Understanding Systemic Racism (USR) and is available for all members of the WashU community, from medical trainees to staff members, researchers, and clinical teams. It is an expected competency for all members.

The first series of curriculum content is Diversity Modules 1-4 which include awareness, understanding, commitment, and action. The curriculum will be led by team members from the ODEI consisting of psycho-educational presentations and interactive and experiential exercises. This series of four one-hour training sessions introduces participants to the fundamentals of diversity education.

For questions/concerns about Diversity Modules or the upcoming USR curriculum, email Enyo Ablordeppey.


Is this training mandatory?

While diversity and inclusion education are expected competencies for all employees, attendance is not mandatory. As a department, we value these competencies and therefore are providing the space and coordinating the programs for our members. Given the scheduling challenges that we all endure, the same programs are offered at other times by the ODEI and the Department of Medicine (DOM). You can learn more about each module and view upcoming sessions on the ODEI and DOM website.

What are these Diversity Modules about?

The Diversity Modules 1-4 are as follows: 1.0 – Awareness, 2.0 – Understanding, 3.0 – Commitment, and 4.0 – Action. Each session is designed to provide a greater understanding of:

  • What diversity means and how to define it
  • What aspects of diversity affect us (i.e., biases and prejudices)
  • How biases and prejudices manifest in our day-to-day thoughts and actions
  • How to recognize and mitigate biases and prejudices when we do encounter them

If I can’t make the sessions for the Diversity Modules, what should I do?

We are partnering with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) to provide this important professional competency for our members. The ODEI also has sessions open to all WUSM members on their website. In addition, we are partnering with Department of Medicine (DOM) for additional opportunities to complete the module training. Sign up soon as sessions tend to fill up quickly!

ODEI: https://diversity.med.wustl.edu/events/calendar/

DOM: https://internalmedicinediversity.wustl.edu/training/

I did these modules already. Do I have to do them again?

The modules were offered back in 2014-2018 and some may have already completed the first two modules. However, there are new updates within the entire curriculum that are helpful to translate our commitment to DEI with tangible, actionable items, specifically within the Department of Anesthesiology. Attending these updated, refresher courses are strongly encouraged.

I tried to sign up for a session and it gave me an error message

It’s likely that course is full—try another date. Alternatively, sometimes there are technological issues beyond our control. Try again at another time and be sure to notify us about the issue. We will do our best to resolve your issue.

What’s the USR?

During the April 2021 meeting, the Executive Faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine approved an Anti-Racism statement and a school-wide Understanding Systemic Racism (USR) curriculum. The school-wide USR curriculum is based on the anti-racism professional development program developed by ODEI for the medical school Gateway Curriculum Build Team and Coaches. This curriculum is open to all members of the Washington University community, from medical trainees to staff members, researchers, and clinical teams. The Department of Anesthesiology plans to fully embrace this curriculum by providing our members with access to these highly valuable professional development competencies.

The USR curriculum has 5 different tracks (Managerial/Leadership, Clinical Faculty & Staff, Trainee, Research/Basic Sciences, and Non-Clinical Staff) tailored to your role within the department. The Diversity Modules are a prerequisite to the USR curriculum to ensure maximal engagement and opportunity to build a sustainable, inclusive, and welcoming culture.

What kind of credit do I receive?

The Diversity Modules and the Understanding Systemic Racism curriculum are professional development competencies to benefit every member of the Washington University community. Within the Department of Anesthesiology, it will be important to individually track your participation in this training. We have applied for continuing educational credit for those who participate in the training. We will send email updates on how to claim this credit.

Do I need to attend the diversity modules in order?

No, you can attend the diversity modules in any order that aligns with your calendar. While developed intentionally in sequence to maximize knowledge progress, we understand the importance of competing demands. You are welcome to complete the four modules in the order most compatible with your schedule. 

Upcoming Events

This series of four one-hour training sessions introduces participants to the fundamentals of diversity education. Employees are expected to complete all four sessions by their fourth year of employment. A small introduction activity is provided during New Employee Orientation. Employees are welcome to attend open sessions offered monthly. In addition, departments, programs and other business units may request group training.