Policy for an Equity, Diversity and Gender Issues Committee (EDG) in each Department and Research Institute in the Faculty of Medicine
Submitted by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Gender issues
Approved by Senate, University of Ottawa, Spring 1998
To establish an Equity, Diversity and Gender issues Committee (EDG) in each clinical and basic science department and research institute in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa.
This policy is in response to the need to facilitate the delivery of the mandate of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Gender issues and its Advisory Committee to the entire Medical School community. Experience at this and other medical schools has shown that such committees can impact favorably on the academic environment for women trainees and faculty. As well, important policies can result from involvement of an EDG issues Committee at the local and departmental level. Examples include the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where the chair appointed a Task Force on Women's Academic Careers in Medicine and hired a faculty development specialist. This initiative resulted in measurable improvement in promotion and retention of women within this Department over a 5 year period. At the University of Ottawa, the Department of Family Medicine established a EDG issues Committee in 1994. This committee has taken an active, positive role in that Department, and among other accomplishments, has sponsored a mentoring program for the Department's postgraduate trainees, organized faculty development sessions, and has drafted a resident maternity/paternity leave policy.
Proposed Role and Framework for Terms of Reference of the EDG issues Committee and Chair:
The EDG issues Committees' goal is to meet the needs of women in the Faculty, continuously. The chairs of these committees will be full members of the respective departmental or institute executive, and will advise the departmental chairs and institute directors. The chairs of the EDG issues Committee will also be members of the Faculty of Medicine Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Gender issues. The following principles might be included in the terms of reference of the EDG issues Committee and its chair, recognizing that additional, department or institute specific issues may also need to be included in any particular EDG issues terms of reference.
The EDG issues Committee will act as an advisory committee to the Department or Institute and their chair or director on gender issues by:
monitoring the policies and practices of the department or institute regarding gender issues;
bringing to the Chair or Director's attention any practices which are perceived by the EDG issues Committee as being discriminatory;
promoting appropriate change by initiating and participating in discussions designed to further the goal of equal opportunity for all member in the department of institute;
supporting and sponsoring events and programs designed to foster gender equality in the work environment of the department or institute;
promoting research and education in the field of women's health.
The Chair of the EDG issues Committee will also:
act as a resource person when concerns are raised about gender issues;
bring issues forward to the Department or Institute's executive;
act as a liaison to the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine Office of Equity, Diversity and Gender issues and its Advisory committee;
act as a liaison with other departmental committees as necessary, e.g. with Postgraduate Education and Training Program committees;
assist in policy formulation regarding gender issues.
The membership of the EDG issues Committee will include representation from all members of the department or research institute, including, where applicable, representatives from faculty (GFTs, VPTs and basic scientists), nursing and other health professionals, administration, support staff, postgraduate medical trainees, graduate and other students, and postdoctoral fellows. Smaller departments may establish an EDG issues Committee in conjunction with another department with the Dean's approval.
The Office of Equity, Diversity and Gender issues and its Advisory Committee is available to advise and assist the departmental chairs and research institute directors in the establishment and maintenance of their respective EDG issues Committee, including mandate development and membership.