Diversity and Inclusion

In the Department of Ophthalmology, we emphasize strategies to promote a united commitment to providing excellent care, the pursuit of knowledge, and dissemination of information to the next generation of clinicians, scientists, and staff. Our ultimate goal is to attract, cultivate, and retain the best and brightest from all walks of life and backgrounds. We believe that the emergence of new ideas from different perspectives catalyzes innovation and success. In support of our mission, we view diversity, defined as encompassing all aspects of human differences, as a fundamental pillar to fostering an inclusive working and learning environment, where all individuals feel respected, are treated fairly, provided work-life balance and an opportunity to excel in their respective fields.

Perspectives on Diversity



InSight into Inclusion

Goldis Malek, PhD

“If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place.” 

- Margaret Mead.

I wonder how many of us are cognizant of “unconscious bias” in our day to day activities? Though I would like to think that I have been aware and concerned with issues surrounding diversity, it was after joining the School of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Council several years ago, that I recognized some of the things many of us do, myself included, without intention or malice, that may have a negative impact on others. I participated in a two day, well organized, orientation led by Howard Ross, one of the nation’s leading diversity consultants, where he provided example after example of the subtle power of this form of second generation discrimination. Any preconceived notion that unconscious bias is simple was rejected during these two days and emphasis was placed on understanding the extent of its prevalence and its consequences. Age bias, race bias, education bias, gender bias, sexual orientation bias, socioeconomic status bias, cultural bias, and the list goes on and on.  At the end of the meeting one fact was clear, the counter to implementation of biases is knowledge and an appreciation for understanding that how we differ will make us stronger both individually and collectively. 

Since then the School of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Council has met monthly brainstorming on means by which to foster and influence an inclusive climate for all members of our faculty, students and staff. This journey requires agents of change at every level and most importantly with in the department. This was the motivation to organizing a Duke Eye Center Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Collectively, we hope to personalize the goals of the committee, specifically, to the needs and concerns of our department.

Change starts with each of us and is only the first step. Knowledge is power and one would like to think that if an individual is ‘consciously’ committed to change, the act of discovering and identifying one’s hidden biases can be the impetus for change. With that in mind, I would also like to encourage anyone interested in an assessment of your ‘unconscious bias’, to take the Implicit Association Test, available online. Also, I would like to invite all members of the department, who are willing, to contribute to this new blog by sharing their personal diversity and inclusion stories. Finally, if you are interested in becoming more involved in issues surrounding diversity and inclusion or have any concerns or questions please contact me, or any of the members of the Council.

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