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Center for Diversity Affairs (CDA)

The Center for Diversity Affairs (CDA) originated in 1976 under the auspices of the College of Medicine as the Office of Minority Affairs, which was later re-named the Center for Diversity Affairs. Its purpose was to increase the number of medical graduates from traditionally underrepresented groups (African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders) and to support students from these groups during their medical training.

In 2010, the CDA’s mission at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) was broadened when Chancellor Dan Rahn established it as the campus’s “center of gravity” for diversity and inclusion at UAMS. This was done in recognition of diversity as an institutional core value, critical to the fulfillment of the mission of UAMS, as stated in the 2020 Strategic Plan:

We are committed to the importance of the diversity of UAMS leadership, faculty, staff and students in order to enhance the education of our students, reduce racial and ethnic health disparities in our state, and provide an environment in which all employees and views are welcomed.

The CDA operates to serve all components of the entire UAMS institution, including the six academic units, seven institutes, and University Hospital, in its efforts to become a more diverse, inclusive, and culturally competent academic health center, through the provision of leadership, programs, and resources, as well as collaboration and partnerships.

  • Diversity: Individual differences (e.g., personality, abilities, and life experiences) and group differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, age, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, language, and country of origin as well as political, religious, or other affiliation).
  • Inclusion: A sense of belonging: feeling respected, valued for who you are; feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so than you can do your best work. (Miller and Katz, 2002)
  • Equity: Equality, impartiality, justice, and fairness as it applies to opportunity, access, resources or quality of health care.
  • Cultural Competency: A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enables them to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.  (National Center for Cultural Competence definition for cultural competency in the health professions, 1989)

 

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