SUNY forms task force to address racial disparities, inequality in optometry
The State University of New York announced the creation of a presidential task force to address social and racial disparities in the field of optometry and on its campus.
The Task Force on Race and Equality, comprising faculty, staff members and students, “is charged with evaluating current efforts to advance diversity and inclusion and identifying areas for improvement while opening up the conversation about race, ethnicity and bias throughout the college community,” according to a SUNY press release.
“We need to ensure a diverse and dynamic community that is safe, honest and open, and which celebrates the differences of its members,” David A. Heath, OD, EdM, SUNY College of Optometry president, said in the release. “As an advisory body, the task force will engage broadly with all members of the college to confront biases and commit to ongoing education and steady progress to bring about lasting change.”
The objectives of the task force include increasing racial representation among faculty, residents, students and college administration; an emphasis on cultural competence in patient care through the evolution of knowledge, attitudes and skills in support of care across different cultures and world views; and an expansion of academic and co-curricular programs covering issues of race, health care disparities and communication.
The task force is scheduled to release its first status report to Heath on Sept. 1, with a final report due Nov. 1. Noted achievements, areas of improvement and action will be used as the basis of its next diversity and inclusion plan, the college stated in the release.