Queen’s School of Medicine received a report demanding diversity action in July. It still hasn’t publicly acknowledged it.

Aesculapian Society report details expectations of diversity, equity, and inclusivity  

The authors of the report have met with the Admissions Committee twice since July.

Queen’s Aesculapian Society (AS) submitted a document detailing research, resources and demands to the School of Medicine Admissions Committee on July 1. Since then, the AS has looked to the School to provide public support and acknowledgement of the report. 

The report examined demographic data at medical schools across the country and the lack of data available at Queen's, and then encompassed demands for change in the admissions process to further Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII) efforts and reduce barriers to accessibility. 

The demands are grouped according to different stages of the admission process, with the intention of implementing practices of anti-racism at each step. 

According to Danny Jomaa, former AS president and leading charge of this initiative, the ideal outcome of this report includes tangible, equitable changes made to the admissions process to recruit and retain Black and Indigenous medical students.

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“Institutional racism has put up barriers for Black and Indigenous students at so many points on the path to medical school that it's important to critically assess each one and acknowledge that the current systems are not doing enough,” Jomaa wrote in a statement to The Journal on behalf of the AS executive.

Regarding both short and long-term changes, the AS aims to update the Queen's Medicine website with a commitment to equity in the admissions process and begin collecting demographic information on applicants and matriculants. 

Jomaa said several of these demands require a longer timeline, including the creation of a Black Student Application Program and implementation of anti-oppression and anti-racism training for those involved in the admissions process. 

“We expect these changes, and others, to take longer because time is needed for the appropriate consultation to be done and for equitable practices to be developed,” Jomaa wrote. 

“As these changes are implemented, regardless of their relative scale or the timeframe it takes to implement them, we'll have to consult with the underrepresented communities that these changes are intended for and adapt processes accordingly.” 

Jomaa said the ideal outcome will take months or years to reach, requiring the redefinition of the purpose of admissions and analyzing those who are involved in the enrolment process. 

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According to Jomaa, the AS is currently in the process of striking an advisory group to the Admissions Committee. The group is composed of the contributing students and select members of the medical student society who will provide feedback on matters of EDII and address final accountability demands. 

Jomaa said the Admissions Committee collaborated with advisors from the Faculty of Health Sciences EDI Office to assist with recruitment and mentorship efforts and have been exploring ways to address the additional demands.

Since the initial distribution of the report, the students who authored the document have met with the Admissions Committee twice.

“The report is yet to be publicly acknowledged by the School of Medicine, despite this being an ask of the student authors and wider student body,” Jomaa wrote. 

“We have been informed that there may be an online post shared to acknowledge the report and the work that is underway to address its demands.” 

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