Indiana University School of Medicine has selected a leader for a new role that oversees the school’s efforts on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.
Dr. Chemen Neal will serve as an executive associate dean and chief diversity officer.
She said she looks forward to the opportunity but acknowledged there will be challenges.
“We have nine campuses. And so, aligning all the existing efforts that we have, and kind of getting everyone on the same page, I think is going to be the most challenging part of this position,” Neal said.
The IU School of Medicine has been working to accelerate its DEIJ initiatives. Since 2020 it’s expanded on its core values and articulated the school’s goal to be an anti-racist, equitable, welcoming and inclusive organization.
Neal said it’s critical to have a clear directive to improve health care outcomes for those in marginalized communities.
“I think for a medical institution, it is easy for us to say and for us to get behind diversity efforts, because we know from evidence that communities that are marginalized in that includes, you know, our urban communities, or rural communities do better when they have people who take care of them with a similar lived experience. And so we need providers, we need to diversify our school, we need to help people take care of all of their patients, regardless of where they're from, to improve the outcome of their care, “ Neal said.
Neal joined the faculty at IU School of Medicine in 2011, and currently serves as an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, as well as assistant dean for student success and advocacy.
During her time at IU School of Medicine, she has served as chair and co-chair of the school’s Diversity Council since 2015, and previously served as Director of Holistic Student Success and Advocacy, as well as the Director of Wellness for the Department of OB-GYN.
She will officially begin in her new role on Feb. 1.