Family and Community Medicine Diversity Statement

The Family and Community Medicine (FCM) Department strives to be an anti-racist department that is just and unbiased.

Defining antiracism as:

The active process of identifying and eliminating all forms of oppression by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, attitudes, behaviors and speech so that power and authority are redistributed and shared equitably.

We are cognizant of the multiplicity of the ways in which being race conscious and race aware allows us to pay attention to the race-based medicine that has been practiced for far too long.

We take note of how systemic racism and other biases are embedded in our systems through long held cultural practices and policies.

We believe that to best realize our mission of enhancing healthcare for people of central and southern Illinois, an environment that allows collaboration among diverse individuals with varying expertise is essential. In order to do this:
  • Our practices and policies are examined to identify and remove those that have historical roots in systemic racism.
  • We seek to recruit and retain excellent culturally responsive faculty from various backgrounds with a diverse set of clinical and scholarly expertise.
  • We also seek to recruit and train a diverse group of learners (medical students, advanced practice provider students, and resident physicians)  to be innovative and excellent providers who are able to provide care that works towards addressing healthcare inequities.

Our clinical care is provided through our Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) which allows us to provide access and care for individuals from underserved communities.
  • Antiracism grounds itself in accountability to marginalized communities.
  • Over half of the board of directors for our FQHC consists of members from the community.
  • Our CEO and COO are both women.
  • Beyond traditional primary care, we also have a series of various specialty clinics , such as, our gender equity clinic which allows us to offer gender affirming care to our patients.

Our department has many faculty actively engaging in the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
  • The former chair of the department, now Dean, Dr. Jerry Kruse in 2019 declared that Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIUSOM) will become an antiracist institution.
  • The Associate Dean for the Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Wendi El-Amin leads the SIUSOM antiracism taskforce and is a family physician.
  • The taskforce has 4 subcommittees. Dr. Christopher Smyre (family physician) is co-chairing the metrics subcommittee, and Dr. Janet Albers (family physician) is a member of the organizational analysis subcommittee.                                               
Dr. Albers’ commitment to cultivating and building the FCM department into an antiracist department is seen in her willingness to engage with individuals to analyze power.
  • Our department focuses on how systemic racism impacts people of color as well as white people in unique ways in clinical and non-clinical settings.
  • Dr. Albers created a director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion role to help facilitate the department’s participation in SIUSOM EDI initiatives.
  • This role also pilots innovative interventions to promote equity and the psychological safety needed to advance this critical work.

The Department of Family and Community Medicine pursues ongoing engagement in trauma responsive ways to enhance and improve the experiences of all the members in the department.
  • We are committed to diversity in all elements of our workforce, and to an environment of inclusion for all.
  • We will continuously evaluate our policies, procedures and practices to minimize all forms of overt, implicit and historically propagated systemic bias.
  • We strive for equity in our relationships, hiring practices, teaching, research, access to care, delivery of care and partnerships.