Creating Community

Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Medicine

Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity is central to the mission of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in meeting the health needs of the people of Wisconsin and beyond through excellence in education, research, patient care and service.

Our mission is to develop physician leaders who are fundamentally invested in advancing health and health equity by respecting the rights, dignity, and differences of all. We are committed to promoting health equity, teaching cultural competency, celebrating diversity, and fostering an environment of inclusivity within the UW Emergency Medicine Residency and in the Madison community. Through teaching, discovery, and advocacy, we hope to promote equity and access to quality healthcare.

We stand together with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and UW Health prioritizing diversity and inclusion as core values in order to create a community of practice that is reflective of and responsive to the societies we serve.

Our Vision:

The BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine and its residency program are committed to:

  • Supporting a team of providers and staff in the emergency department that reflects the diversity of our community in an effort to decrease healthcare disparities through diverse representation among our care providers.
  • Providing dedicated, culturally sensitive, evidence-based training to develop clinicians who understand the needs of manifold and underrepresented populations.
  • Educating and training ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse clinicians.
  • Studying ethnic and racial disparities in healthcare, societal patterns of health inequity, and social needs contributing to disease, as well as developing solutions to decrease these disparities.
  • Cultivating and maintaining an open, inclusive, and respectful learning and working environment.

Our Strategies:

To achieve this vision, the BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine will:

  • Recruit and support diverse individuals pursuing a career in emergency medicine, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification, or disability.
  • Provide support for new and existing quality improvement projects and research that will advance our diversity mission and alleviate healthcare disparities.
  • Assure success and retention of diverse residents and faculty through education and mentorship with both academic and community support.
People standing in the shape of a W

UW Health and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health are committed to building a culture in which the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded into all of our clinical, teaching, and research activities. We know life in Madison, WI is about more than just work and that opportunities to connect and network are critical. This year we are hosting virtual Diversity Social Hours for our medical student applicants to hear from staff, residents, and faculty of color about life in Madison.

Equity in patient care
Equitable Patient Care

We care for all patients compassionately and without judgment, regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, or any other human factor. We care for populations of various socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities in the Madison area, including African American, Hmong, and Hispanic/Latino. Through our extended Med Flight service area, we also treat a diverse community of patients from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, rural Wisconsin, including Native American, Amish and Mennonite communities.

Strategic Initiatives:


The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the UW Emergency Medicine Residency and the University of Wisconsin BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency medicine are passionately committed to creating a community where all learners, staff and faculty feel valued, included and empowered. While we have recently made great strides toward improving the environment in which we work and learn, we recognize that there is still much work to be done to fully realize our vision. Therefore, we will continually refine these skills until they become our first instincts, even in stressful situations.

Women in Emergency Medicine Interest Group

As women in the field of Emergency Medicine, we face a unique set of challenges. Our aim is to create an informal group that meets on a bimonthly basis to discuss gender bias in emergency medicine, foster gender equity, and develop strategies for both personal and professional success.

Annual Women in Medicine Symposium

UW SMPH successfully held its inaugural Women in Medicine and Science Symposium in November 2019. The program highlighted thought leaders exploring topics in leadership and professional development for women in medicine and science, followed by a networking reception. The Symposium was set in motion and led by the Department of Emergency Medicine's Vice Chair of Education, Dr. Mary Westergaard, who also moderated the one-hour panel discussion with women leaders at SMPH. Department Chair Dr. Azita Hamedani served as a panelist focusing on mentorship and sponsorship in academic medicine.

Our underrepresented residents are encouraged to take part in the Housestaff Emerging Academy of Leaders (HEAL) Program, whose mission is to decrease health care disparities by increasing the number of underrepresented minority physician leaders in academic practice. Residents are partnered with a faculty mentor and participate in a 10-month long program with lectures focusing on leadership and professional development.

Our clinical sites at University Hospitals and Clinics and the American Family Children’s center are recognized as “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality” in the Healthcare Equality Index 2020 report. The annual survey is conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization. The American Family Children’s Hospital has earned top marks for the last five years for its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families, who can face challenges in accessing adequate healthcare.


Voluntary, employee-led Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) foster a diverse and inclusive workplace aligned with the organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. These groups focus on the experiences and perspectives of people of a particular race, ethnic or cultural background, gender, gender identity, religion, age cohort, sexual orientation, history of disabilities, military services, or other affinities.

In collaboration with the UW Health Chief Diversity Officer, faculty, staff, residents, and fellows are invited to participate in the Employee Resource Groups.

ERGs provide opportunities for employees to network, pursue professional and personal development, improve cultural understanding among employees, improve recruiting efforts, promote education related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, align with UW Health social responsibility initiatives, and support our work to advance cultural competency.

The first five ERG pilots are:

  • African American/Black
  • LGBTQ+
  • Women’s Leadership Group
  • Military Service Membership
  • Latinx

In 2017, the UW Health GME programs formed a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. This group collected baseline data and looked at how UW Health performs in the areas of early outreach, inclusive environment and recruitment and selection.

Department of Emergency Medicine representatives serve on this school-wide task force, and previous projects have included the preparation and presentation of a robust summary report identifying diversity & inclusion “best practice” recommendations for GME programs at UW Health.

Building Community is at the heart of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s vision of modeling its core values as we train the next generation of health care professionals and researchers.

The goal of this initiative is to improve the learning and working environment at the School of Medicine and Public Health, one in which diversity and inclusion is valued in all aspects of our work. By innovating new solutions and enhancing our investment in current successes, we are creating a culture that rewards skillful behavior that exemplifies professionalism, respect, altruism and empathy as we work and learn together. We also are refining and clarifying expectations about accountability for inappropriate behavior.

The BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine seeks to provide support and mentorship to medical students from underrepresented groups who plan to pursue a career in emergency medicine. We encourage underrepresented medical students (URM) seeking external emergency medicine rotations to apply for our Diversity Scholarship for Visiting Students. Our goals are to augment program awareness, increase program diversity, and provide support and mentorship for visiting medical students.

Community Outreach:

We strongly believe in the significance of servant leadership. Our providers and staff understand the importance of community health and seek to improve the lives of the citizens of Madison and beyond by engaging directly with the community, particularly our underserved populations.

>> Community Health and Advocacy

White Coats 4 Black Lives Rally
  • Community Paramedicine: Our aging research group leads ongoing efforts to support paramedics in delivering health care services in an in-home setting, with a goal of improving health outcomes following ED visits in aging patients and those with impediments to access primary care services.
  • MEDiC Clinics: EM faculty and residents volunteer four times each year at free health clinics in the Madison area serving vulnerable populations.
  • Stop the Bleed: EM physicians are active in training individuals in the community on how to prepare and help in a bleeding emergency.
  • VotER: Our emergency departments offer patients, visitors, and staff the opportunity to register to vote on-site in our ED waiting rooms through a nonpartisan, non-interruptive voter registration system.
  • White Coats for Black Lives: We support this national movement that aims to eliminate racial bias in the practice of medicine with the recognition that racism is a threat to the health and well-being of people of color. The UW SMPH chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) has created a local White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL) Chapter housed under the umbrella of SNMA.

>> Global Education and Service

Recognizing that we live in a global community, we seek to provide our residents with a deeper understanding of culture, language, society, and health in diverse communities. We believe that global health experiences and education are an ideal way to increase this awareness.

The Department of Emergency Medicine works with several partners around the globe to educate, build capacity, and provide clinical care. Over the past decade, our faculty and residents have been involved in several projects including:

  • Investigating pediatric triage in Uganda
  • Working to provide sustainable healthcare in rural Guatemala
  • Teaching clinical ultrasound to healthcare providers in low-resource settings, including in Peru and Rwanda
  • Providing clinical care and developing an Emergency Medicine Guidance mobile app in South Africa
  • Partnering with Addis Ababa School of Medicine in Ethiopia to develop Emergency and Prehospital care systems
  • Providing clinical care to Indigenous peoples through New Mexico's Indian Health Service

>> Clinical Education and Professional Leadership

Our faculty provide outreach education on the latest trends in research and clinical practice for physicians, advanced practice providers and emergency medical services staff throughout the region. At the national level, they present at continuing medical education programs and help organize professional education conferences.

They also advance the discipline of emergency medicine through leadership roles at the American College of Emergency Physicians Wisconsin and its Wisconsin chapter, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and numerous subspecialty organizations.

Additional Resources: