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The Penn State Nittany Lion statue is seen in the courtyard at Penn State College of Medicine.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Leading the Way in Diversity and Inclusion

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine address diversity and inclusion from a measurable, strategic perspective that includes, as a foundation, equal employment regulatory compliance.

Our commitment is communicated in the University's diversity statement, which provides the foundation for our initiatives, as well as in our campus' mission and vision statements on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine are change agents and leaders in Hershey and the surrounding communities, promoting diversity and inclusion as a way to make the educational, work and local communities better and our businesses more successful.

We are committed to increasing the representation of those, in our workforce, who reflect our nation’s demographics and who are committed to effectively caring for and educating our increasingly diverse patient and student populations.

Learn More

Please contact the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with any questions or concerns.

Email Us See Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

We are equally committed to educating students, from all backgrounds, who also reflect our nation’s demographics and who embrace the opportunity to develop skills that enable them to provide quality medical care - including to those in underserved communities - and exceptional research.

Our goal is to be “best in class” in increasing the diversity of our students and workforce, advancing our commitment to a respectful and inclusive workforce, providing culturally excellent care for our patients and education to our students, and making discoveries that create a greater well-being for all populations, regardless of background.

Doing It "Rite" - Our Core Values

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is grounded in our RITE core values:

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Teamwork
  • Excellence

A work, educational and patient-care environment based on respect provides the foundation for a meaningful exchange of information and ideas that leads to better patient and educational outcomes.

Integrity - doing what is right even when no one is watching - results in establishing trust and confidence, with our patients, students and each other, that we are committed to doing what is best.

Teamwork, and the ability to work effectively with others who are different, results in the exchange of ideas that can result in the newest innovations, and keeping us at the leading edge of medicine, research and education.

Excellence in education, research and patient care is our expectation in all that we do.

Learn more about our mission and values.

Incoming students at Penn State College of Medicine were invited to sign a Catalyst for Change pledge supporting diversity and inclusion in the College community. A large sign with the text of the pledge printed at the top is visible, with the bottom half of the sign filled with student signatures in a variety of colors. The photo was taken in 2017.
Incoming students at Penn State College of Medicine were invited to sign a Catalyst for Change pledge supporting diversity and inclusion in the College community.

What's New in Diversity

A Focus on Regulatory Compliance: Equal Opportunities in Education, Employment, and Patient Care

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine have implemented a number of policies to advance the commitment to equal opportunity in education, employment, and patient care.

  • Policy AD91 prohibits discrimination and harassment based on a protected aspect of diversity.
  • Policy AD85 prohibits sex and/or gender based harassment and misconduct.
  • Policy AD84 provides guidance on the establishment of a preferred name and/or gender identity.

Also, Policy PC33HAM, Patient Rights and Responsibilities, provides that representatives of Penn State Health and College of Medicine cannot discriminate against patients or their family members based on areas protected by federal and local law, such as age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status.

Along these same lines, the policy provides that patients and their family members and representatives cannot discriminate against employees of Penn State Health, on these same bases: age, disability ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

In addition, requests from patients to change health care professionals on the basis of the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation/gender identity will not be honored. Requests to change providers based on the individuals’ sex will be considered on a case-by-cases basis, taking into account religious requirements and prior life experiences.

Student leaders Brandon Williams, Alex Kim, Robert Fort, Pardis Pooshpas, David Booth, Felicia Cooper, Nd Ekpa and Andrew Feldman are pictured on a group trip to the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C. The students are representatives or leaders for Student National Medical Association, Military Medical Interest Group, PSUCOM Pride, American Medical Women Association, LAMSA and Jewish Union of Medical Professionals. The students are pictured standing on a lawn with the museum visible in the background. The photo was taken in 2017.
Student leaders Brandon Williams, Alex Kim, Robert Fort, Pardis Pooshpas, David Booth, Felicia Cooper, Nd Ekpa and Andrew Feldman are pictured on a 2017 trip to the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C. The students are representatives or leaders for Student National Medical Association, Military Medical Interest Group, PSUCOM Pride, American Medical Women Association, LAMSA and Jewish Union of Medical Professionals.

Diversity Demographics and Inclusion Metrics

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine recognize that the nation is becoming increasingly more diverse. For example, from a racial/ethnic perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that there will be a new "collectively majority" in which the African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino and Native American populations, combined, will be the majority of the nation.

Penn State Health recognizes the need and benefits of its students and workforce reflecting the patient profile and national demographics. As a result, the organization has created diversity dashboards to reflect its progress in increasing the diversity of students and employees, and creating a more respectful and inclusive environment for students, employees, and patients and their families.

Commitment to Supplier Diversity

As part of its commitment to diversity, Penn State Health has established a supplier diversity initiative. This initiative is based on the recognition that a supplier diversity can have a positive economic impact on the local community as well as drive innovation, increase healthy competition between suppliers, and open new supply channels.

The objectives of this initiative are to increase the utilization of vendors and businesses owned by multicultural individuals (African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American/Pacific Islander), LGBT individuals, individuals with disabilities, and military veterans.

Get Involved

Find Your Connection

As part of its focus on diversity and inclusion, Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine are committed to providing a sense of community for its workforce, students, and patients and their families. As a result, there are numerous opportunities, both on and off its campus, for individuals to connect with others from the same or totally different backgrounds.

Affinity Groups

Faculty and staff can join an affinity resource/network group that focuses on the interest of individuals, from racial/ethnic minority groups (including those of African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Island backgrounds); those with military service; individuals with disabilities; employees who are gay/lesbian, bisexual or transgender or an ally of these populations; or women in the fields of medicine and science. These affinity resource/network groups support recruiting efforts, contribute to creating an inclusive work environment, and identify strategies for an extraordinary patient experience for diverse patients.

Diverse Student Groups

Students likewise have an opportunity to connect with others through a number of diverse student groups such as the Student National Medical Association, Latino and Amigos Medical Student Association, Military Medical Interest Group, Penn State COM Pride for LGBT students and allies, students with disabilities, graduate students, or the Multicultural Awareness Club. Each of these organizations hosts educational and social events throughout the year.

Learning Opportunities

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine afford an opportunity to build cultural competency skills, engage in dialogues with others about diversity and inclusion, become an ally to a particular population, or participate in social activities to learn more about a particular culture.

Inclusion Academy

Penn State Health and College of Medicine has established an Inclusion Academy for students, and all employees, including human resources professionals, managers and supervisors and those with patient care responsibility.

Hershey All Things Diversity

Penn State Health partners with local organizations to provide information on different aspects of diversity and inclusion. The program, Hershey All Things Diversity, is coordinated by the Derry Township municipality in conjunction with the Hershey Story Museum and with support from Penn State Health, Hershey Company, and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. Educational sessions are held every other month and focus on a broad range of diversity-related topics.

Awards and Funding Opportunities

Penn State Health and College of Medicine take pride in efforts to be recognized as "best in class" for commitment to diversity and inclusion for students, its workforce, and patients. In addition to organizational recognitions, Penn State Health and College of Medicine, through the Campus Council on Diversity and Inclusion, recognize individuals who have advanced the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Advocacy and Research Opportunities

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine's academic programs are enriched by faculty and researchers who look at the challenges and disparities faced by underrepresented populations.

They also study the impact of diversity on social and institutional situations affecting health and wellness.

Penn State Health's research provides an opportunity for dialogue on important diversity related health disparity issues and serves as an important global resource for leading-edge examination of the dynamics of health and social, cultural, structural and institutional differences.

Contact Us

General questions about diversity at Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine can be emailed to diversity@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

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