Increasing Diversity — Semester Review
December 21, 2018
Hey everyone! As we’re getting ready to go on break, I’ve had some time to reflect on this past semester, and look at everything we’ve managed to accomplish in our short time as Student Ambassadors. Increasing diversity within our program and the field of occupational therapy is a goal that took priority for Serena (another wonderful Student Ambassador) and myself. USC prides itself on being one of the most diverse occupational therapy programs. However there is still a lack of minority representation, particularly a lack of Hispanic and African American students. The same can be said of our profession as a whole, therefore we established some goals related to increasing diversity within the division, and we couldn’t wait to get started!
When you have a team and program that is equally as passionate about your goals as you are, it’s hard not to over-achieve. We dove right into recruiting and presenting at different clubs and universities in the area, and we were excited to reap the rewards of our hard work. We had lots of ideas, and we thought that improved minority representation would come quickly. Studies have shown that patients have better health outcomes when they work with clinicians that have a similar cultural background, and working in Los Angeles we will encounter patients from different minority backgrounds.Therefore, this goal is of particular importance to us because of the makeup of our patient population, and the cultural discrepancy between the clinicians that serve them.
As the semester went on, we realized that our goals were a bit lofty for a position we’d be in for less than a year, as it can take a long time to establish a single long-term relationship. We focused on reaching out to as many programs and clubs as we could, in an attempt to have the most impact possible. However, our progress was not as rapid as we would have liked, so we’ve begun to reconfigure our goals to be more achievable in the amount of time that we have left in this position. Our supervisor has been instrumental in helping us view where we’ve fallen short of our expectations as something to learn from, and as an opportunity for growth. Most importantly, we have not lost our excitement and passion surrounding increasing diversity!
Being able to tackle diversity as one of my goals is only possible because of the support that I have from my team and the Chan division. It’s been incredible to work alongside faculty and staff within the program that also value this goal as much as I do. If you ever have any questions regarding diversity within our program or within our profession, feel free to reach out! And as always, fight on!