At the University of Colorado Internal Medicine Residency Program, we believe that a commitment to diversity will enable us to achieve the highest standards of excellence in all domains.
Diversity within our residency program not only enriches our resident physicians’ experiences, it improves the quality of patient care. We strive to strengthen our program by recognizing that differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and spiritual practice are crucial to developing competent physician leaders who will deliver quality patient care with lasting impact on individuals and communities.
Within the Internal Medical Residency Program, we are continually striving to improve our inclusiveness through our recruitment practices, programs, committees, education, and training.
Our commitment to diversity extends beyond the Internal Medicine Residency Program to the Department of Medicine, the School of Medicine, the campus, and the community.
In the Department of Medicine, Sonia Flores, PhD was appointed Vice Chair for Diversity and Justice in 2016. Dr. Flores is a professor in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, and was the program director of an NIGMS-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity; she has been the Program Director of the NHLBI-funded GEMS (Graduate Experiences for Multicultural Students) program for the past 16 years.
Dr. Flores is committed to increasing diversity among housestaff, fellows and faculty by incorporating social science theories and focusing on cultural competence. The Department of Medicine also sponsors the DREAM Program, which brings medical students from underrepresented groups into CU's research labs.
At the campus level, Regina Richards, PhD, MSW serves as the Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement; Shanta Zimmer, MD serves as the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. Together, they lead the way in developing a faculty, housestaff, and student body that best reflects the patients for whom we care.
The University of Colorado Organization for Racial and Ethnic Support (UCOLORES), founded in 2010, provides support and community for faculty, residents, staff, and students of color through monthly meetings. This group helps build bridges and develop relationships by creating mentoring partnerships, providing support for faculty development and promotion, and encouraging connections for research collaborations. The group also hosts community engagement activities throughout the year (book club, social events) and an annual Toast to Diversity event, which celebrates our campus and serves as a "call to action" to create community and improve our diversity efforts.
As of October 2021, the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus are jointly recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. We are the first research university in the state of Colorado to attain this status. You can learn more about this distinction and what this means for education and patient care HERE.
The Graduate Medical Education (GME) office also has a strong commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. They frequently partner with the School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion and DEI task force to provide events and educational opportunities during the recruitment season and throughout a trainees residency experience. Our GME office has closely reviewed how we as a university are doing in recruiting trainees who identify as under-represented in medicine (URiM). Since 2017-18, the GME office has identified an upward trajectory in our overall URiM enrollment, which we are determined and committed to continually increasing this number as we move forward.
CU internal medicine residents do rotations at several affiliates serving highly diverse populations, including Denver Health and the VA Medical Center. After the 2010 census data was released, Aurora was identified as the most diverse community in the Denver metro area with the majority of Aurora’s 350,000 residents belonging to a minority population and over 100 languages spoken in Aurora Public Schools. Now, according to the 2020 census, Aurora's size and diversity continue to grow. 61% of Aurora's 389,347 residents belong to minority populations and more than 160 languages are spoken in Aurora Public Schools.
Aurora is recognized as a refugee resettlement area, amongst others identified around the country. Since receiving this designation, the city has developed an immigration center and an educational and outreach program for Aurora’s new diverse populations. This provides our residents with many unique opportunities to learn from and provide high-quality care to underserved populations.
As we look forward, both Aurora and Denver continually strive to celebrate the growing array of diversity they encompass. Our residents are fortunate to form working relationships within the diverse communities they call home. To give you a better sense of the population demographics within Aurora and Denver, data from the 2020 census is included below.
"Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance."
- Verna Myers