Last fall, the HAPS Board approved a new task force on Diversity and Inclusion Goals (DIG). The purpose of DIG is to develop best practices, resources, and professional development for inclusive education in anatomy and physiology (A&P). The endgame is transformation of ourselves, where we create the best learning environment for all the learners we serve.
Why should you “DIG” it?
The mission of HAPS is to promote excellence in the teaching of A&P. On a professional level, educators need to understand diversity, inclusivity, and equity. This allows us to competently talk to and teach our students as well as create a classroom environment conducive to learning for all. In addition, we must adapt our approach in and out of the classroom to the increasing diversity of identity groups in our student populations. These identities include gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class, religion, ability, preparation level, ancestry, and fluency in English, and any one of these identities can be barriers to learning for our students, and impact us as educators.
HAPS is poised to be a leader in generating materials to explore diversity content within anatomy and physiology courses as well as create inclusive classroom environments. Our classrooms are spaces where diversity conversations are deeply relevant, and there remains a critical need for exploring diversity within the context of science and connecting science to society. To be culturally competent within their field, students must be exposed to diverse viewpoints and alternative ways of thinking. Engaging others who hold different ideas and experiences raises awareness of their own identities and opens new approaches to problem solving. As society changes, new questions arise in the classroom that are relevant to A&P, such as the application of big data to health records, how assisted reproductive technologies should be used, controversies over animal dissection, and many others. Additionally, HAPS members train future health providers and scientists, putting us in the unique position to shape healthcare and biomedical science.
Want to “DIG” into the work?
Here are some ways for you to get involved:
- Consider presenting a workshop at the Annual Meeting! We would love to see how HAPS members create inclusive and diverse classrooms and curricula. What does an inclusive A&P class look like? How does a professor convey that they are committed to student safety and success regardless of the student’s identities? What types of content or activities provide students with experiences that help them flourish? What advice do you have on handling mistakes in the classroom gracefully? How do you accommodate students with disabilities in your lecture or labs? What role do textbook authors and vendors play in shaping inclusive curricula?
- Take the upcoming Diversity and Inclusion Membership Survey! With a release date in May 2019, DIG hopes to gather membership data that will tell us who we are as an organization and identify needs in diversity issues.
- Share your ideas! The HAPS blog, HAPS Educator, Discussion Boards, and Teaching Tips Site are all great places to contribute your ideas and engage with colleagues.
Kathy Burleson is a Senior Lecturer at Hamline University, where she teaches in the Biology, Exercise Science, and Public Health programs. She is the lead of the HAPS Diversity and Inclusion Goals Task Force.