In an effort to further the ideas of diversity and inclusion within the curriculum, National University has organized a Diversity Task Force consisting of clinicians, staff, administration, and faculty from both the Illinois campus and Florida site.
“Faculty and Administration began talking about diversity and found that, although we had made great strides in the university when compared to decades ago, we wished to be more proactive in creating a learning, clinic, and working environment where everyone could belong,” said Kristine Aikenhead, DC, Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences, who is one of nine members of the Diversity Task Force.
The mission of the task force is to ensure students are better equipped to serve a patient base of diverse age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, identity, ideology and national origin. Additionally, the task force will help ensure NUHS employees gain further understanding of these topics in order to provide and support student learning. The Diversity Task Force currently meets once per month.
“We are creating standards and making recommendations so the curriculum is more inclusive and provides students with a better understanding of different communities,” said Nakiesha Pearson, ND, DC, MSACP, Chair of the Clinical Sciences Department for the College of Professional Studies, who serves as Chair of the Diversity Task Force.
Since forming in July 2020, the task force has already made changes to the curriculum. For example, in a dermatology course, skin images taught to students were widely expanded. Currently, every topic discussed includes a range of skin tones, so that students can learn the way conditions appear in patients of color.
“Overall, we at NUHS agree that passivity is not part of our culture,” Dr. Aikenhead said. “We desire to continue to grow and change in a way that furthers our ability to bring healing to our patients and contacts, and we must continually improve in the area of diversity and inclusion.”