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.
Jump to topic
CultureVision is an online tool designed to help faculty and staff explore diversity in medicine to help them provide culturally competent patient care.
Inclusion Academy is a series of workshops, presentations, panel discussions and skill building sessions focused on improving participants’ cultural knowledge and understanding. The sessions are offered throughout the year and are separated into categories that benefit a variety of audiences.
Each presentation will concentrate on an aspect of diversity or issue affecting diverse populations, such as Health Disparities in Minority Communities, Caring for Muslim Patients, Caring for Military/Veteran Patients, and Transgender Literacy, among others. The objectives of these sessions will be to obtain applicable skills; dispel rumors, misconceptions and myths; provide insight into cultural details that may affect care for patients; and address components of diversity found in workplaces.
Inclusion Academy is designed to be an asset to the Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine community and to foster cultural excellence in all facets of the operation.
For details, email email@example.com.
LGBTQ Patient Services
LGBTQ family-building assisted reproductive treatment is the same for all patients. We have consultations, sperm preservation, egg retrievals, IVF with fresh or frozen sperm, IVF with donor eggs and IVF with donor embryos. Penn State Health monitors gestational carriers for our couples as well. For transgender fertility preservation and/or family building assisted reproductive treatment, transgender patients are treated the same as other patients.
Resources for Parents
The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion performed a literature review on information to help parents of lesbian, gay and bisexual teens. See “Parents’ Influence on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens: What Parents and Families Should Know” here.
Local and State Resources
- Alder Health Services (improves the health and well-being of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community)
- Central PA’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce
- Central PA Womyn’s Chorus – Giving Voice to Our Community
- Harrisburg Gay Men’s Chorus
- PFLAG of Central PA (parents, family members and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people)
- Silent Witness PA Peacekeepers
- The LGBT Center of Central PA
- Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index
- Human Rights Campaign Resources for Patients
- American Medical Association Physician Resources for an LGBTQ-inclusive Practice
- Association of American Medical Colleges LGBT Health Resources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health
- Fenway Institute – The National LGBTQ Health Education Center
- GLMA Health Professional Advancing LGBTQ Equality
- Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (An Affiliate of the American Hospital Association)
- Lambda Legal – Making the Case for Equality
- The Trevor Project (Teen Suicide Prevention)
National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, presents data on the national prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking among women and men in the United States.
It is an ongoing, nationally representative telephone survey that collects detailed information on intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking victimization of adult women and men ages 18 and older in the United States. The survey collects data on past-year and lifetime experiences of violence.
CDC developed the survey to better describe and monitor the magnitude of these forms of violence in the United States.
- Summary and special reports – One report of particular interest is the 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation.
The vision at Penn State College of Medicine is to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to provide culturally excellent health care and research for an increasingly diverse U.S. population.
This vision statement was created in 2018 by a task force formed in response to learner-identified gaps in diversity, equity and inclusion in the medical education curriculum. It aligns with the identification of culturally responsive care as part of the diversity mission and vision priorities of the College of Medicine and Penn State Health.
The Office for Culturally Responsive Health Care Education oversees the implementation of this vision across the College of Medicine. It serves course directors, educators and learners across the College of Medicine by helping to develop or enhance culturally responsive content and practices.
Human Resources Policies
Visit the Policy Portal (login required) for all Human Resources policies, including:
- Affirmative Action in Employment
- Religious Accommodation
- Transgender Transition Policy and Protocol
Culture of Respect in Education Policy
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine prohibit the mistreatment, discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment or any intentional or unintentional disrespectful treatment of a subordinate student, trainee or colleague that disrupts the learning environment. See more information on the Culture of Respect in Education (CORE) policy in the Policy Portal (login required).
- AD29: Statement on Intolerance
- AD84: Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy
- AD85: Sexual and/or Gender-Based Harassment and Misconduct (Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Related Inappropriate Conduct)
- AD91: Discrimination and Harassment and Related Inappropriate Conduct
In 2015, Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine established a diversity and inclusion strategic plan that focuses on eight areas and aligns with the goals of Penn State University.
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. All forms of sexual or gender-based harassment, including but not limited to dating and domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault are violations of Title IX.
Title IX protects individuals of all genders and sexual orientations and applies to students, faculty, staff, independent contractors, campus visitors, and other participants in University educational programs and activities.
To ensure compliance with Title IX and other federal and state civil rights laws, the University has designated a Title IX Coordinator to monitor compliance with Title IX and ensure that reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct are appropriately investigated and addressed by the University.
Any student, faculty, or staff member who has questions or concerns about their rights under Title IX or who believes that they have been the victim of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, is encouraged to contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response.
Penn State College of Medicine takes Title IX seriously.
The mission of the Disability Affinity Resource Network Group is to provide advocacy and informational resources to develop a more welcoming and inclusive environment for patients, students and faculty/staff with disabilities, and for those who are caregivers and advocates of persons with disabilities. We also provide recommendations for advancing Penn State Health/Penn State College of Medicine’s commitment to increase the representation of faculty/staff with disabilities in our workforce.
Interests and Initiatives
- Self-identification campaign
- Spread the Word to End the Word initiative
- Collaboration with student disability advocacy group
- Accommodation advocacy and implementation for Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health
This group meets monthly. If you are interested in meeting dates, becoming a member, collaborating on projects, reaching out for advice, or receiving more information about the group, email abilitiesARNG@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.
Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) is a recognized entity of the Association of American Medical Colleges and advances the full and successful participation and inclusion of women within academic medicine by addressing the following:
- Gender equity
- Recruitment and retention
- Awards and recognition
- Career advancement
Interests and Initiatives
GWIMS provides an opportunity for its members to:
- Participate in the advancement of women in academic medicine in a national forum
- Expand their professional networks
- Access new potential opportunities for mentorship
- Learn new best practices from other organizations that advance women’s successful participation in academic medicine
This group meets monthly. If you are interested in meeting dates, becoming a member, collaborating on projects, reaching out for advice, or receiving more information about the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Interfaith Affinity Resource Network Group was formed to provide a resource for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine employees regarding faith, philosophy and spirituality. The group aspires to promote a culture of understanding and respect among all faiths and belief systems. The group does not participate in proselytizing, promotion or denigration of any religion; in addition, we do not denigrate other aspects of diversity, such as sexual orientation or gender identity. Our membership is open to all employees of all backgrounds, including those who identify as having non-religious beliefs.
Interests and Initiatives
- Addressing issues and concerns of underrepresented faiths and religions in the Penn State Health/Penn State College of Medicine community
- Increasing awareness around religious issues, such as misunderstandings, myths, and accommodation relating to religious expression
This group meets monthly. If you are interested in meeting dates, becoming a member, collaborating on projects, reaching out for advice, or receiving more information about the group, email email@example.com.
The mission of the LGBTQ and Allies Affinity Resource Network Group is to assist in providing education, information, support and advocacy services to our campus and community. We will work toward creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for LGBT students, staff, faculty, postdocs, residents, fellows, patients and their families. We aim to sustain visibility and a sense of community throughout our campus. We are committed to building workplace equity, promoting student and staff leadership, and providing high-quality, culturally sensitive care to our patients.
Interests and Initiatives
- National Coming Out Day
- Collaboration and cooperation with local LGBT organizations
- Grant programs: Bullying and suicide prevention, and smoking cessation
- Self-identification campaign
- Personal pronoun campaign
- Promoting inclusive signage for single-person bathrooms on campus
- Promoting an LGBTQ-friendly environment in all hospital and campus departments
This group meets monthly. If you are interested in meeting dates, becoming a member, collaborating on projects, reaching out for advice, or receiving more information about the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Military/Veterans Affinity Resource Network Group is a Penn State Health/Penn State College of Medicine employee group dedicated to creating a military/veteran-friendly campus by recognizing, supporting and advocating the rights and needs of our military and veteran employees, students and patients. The group organizes events and develops initiatives designed to enhance the professional and personal advancement of employees with direct and indirect military affiliations within Penn State Health, Penn State College of Medicine and the community.
Interests and Initiatives
- V2V – Veterans to Veterans patient visitation program
- Veterans’ and Memorial Day activities
- Green Light a Vet
- Networking events with military veteran groups from The Hershey Co. and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
This group meets monthly. If you are interested in meeting dates, becoming a member, collaborating on projects, reaching out for advice, or receiving more information about the group, email email@example.com.
The Multicultural Affinity Resource Network Group exists to promote cultural awareness and knowledge, networking opportunities and professional development within Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. We aspire to increase diversity at all levels by building a stronger presence in the surrounding community and participating in recruitment, retention, development and career-advancement efforts for employees of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Membership is open to all faculty and staff who would like to participate in this mission and is not mutually exclusive to faculty and staff of color, national origin or underrepresented status.
Interests and Initiatives
- Community service and action
- Collaboration with diverse student groups
- Sponsoring efforts to include all voices into the discussion of diversity and inclusion at Penn State Health/Penn State College of Medicine
This group meets monthly. If you are interested in meeting dates, becoming a member, collaborating on projects, reaching out for advice, or receiving more information about the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NextGen has been created to provide early-career individuals with opportunities for professional development, networking and community service.
Interests and Initiatives
The group aims to:
- Foster professional development
- Connect early-career individuals
- Engage and build the community inside and outside the organization
This group meets monthly. If you are interested in meeting dates, becoming a member, collaborating on projects, reaching out for advice, or receiving more information about the group, email email@example.com.
This glossary is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every word and term used in conversations regarding diversity, inclusion and equity. Because of the way language works especially around these concepts, many of these words and terms will continue to evolve. Nevertheless, it can be useful to have a reference that provides basic working definitions to help guide discussions.
The extent to which a facility is readily approachable and usable by individuals with disabilities, particularly such areas as the personnel office, worksite and public areas.
Someone who speaks up for themselves and members of their identity group.
A policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities. More recently, the policies have expanded the depth for covering individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.
A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically member of dominant group standing beside member(s) of targeted group.
The process by which the brain uses cognitive associations that are so well-established as to operate without awareness, intention or control. May be a neutral preference or an inclination, or reflection of social stereotypes.
Behavior from a person in relative power intended to hurt, harm or humiliate a person with less power. May be physical or emotional, and can occur in person or through electronic contact.
The experience of having one’s gender identity aligned with the sex assigned at birth.
The presumption that everyone is, and should be, cisgender.
An approach that considers multiple cultural factors (e.g., beliefs, values, norms, language, experiences, gender, sexual orientation/gender identity, age, class, education) in the design and delivery of services, training, research, collaboration/partnerships and community engagement.
The cognitive process through which individuals become sensitive to the values, beliefs and practices of different cultural groups.
A set of practice skills, knowledge and attitudes that must encompass five elements:
- Awareness and acceptance of difference
- Awareness of one’s own cultural values
- Understanding of the dynamics of difference
- Development of cultural knowledge
- Ability to adapt practice skills to fit the cultural context of the patient
Organizations and individuals can fall within one or more levels of the Cultural Competence Continuum:
- Cultural destructiveness: Focused on seeing differences in others and eliminating them
- Cultural incapacity: Sees the differences and views them as wrong
- Cultural blindness: Sees the differences in other cultures but act as if they do not
- Cultural pre-competent: Sees differences but responds inadequately to redress non-liberating structures, practices and inequities
- Cultural competence: Sees the differences and understands the effects of the differences; values and respects the differences and attempts to find ways to celebrate those differences
- Cultural proficiency: Sees the differences and responds in a positive and affirming manner; recognizes and responds to cultural differences successfully
A lifelong journey that includes a self-reflection on biases and prejudice as well as a motivation to expand one’s limited understanding of complex issues.
The genuine motivating force that makes one want to work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds and engage in the process of becoming culturally competent.
Developing organizational processes that are inclusionary rather than exclusionary for cultural uniformity.
The process of engaging in multicultural interactions with people of a culturally diverse group.
A lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique, to fix the power imbalances where none ought to exist, and to develop partnerships with people and groups who advocate for others.
An understanding of the biological and sociological factors that contribute to health disparities among racial and ethnic groups.
The ability to collect culturally relevant data regarding the individual or group presenting the health problem and to conduct culture-specific assessments.
Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.
An individual is considered to have a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if they have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition.
Disabilities include, but are not limited to: blindness, deafness, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy, HIV/AIDS, schizophrenia, muscular dystrophy, bipolar disorder, major depression, multiple sclerosis (MS), missing limbs or partially missing limbs, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder, impairments requiring
the use of a wheelchair and intellectual disability (previously called mental retardation).
Conduct of any nature that denies an individual the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity, or otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or living environment, because of the individual’s age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas.
The inclusion, welcome, and support of individuals from all groups, encompassing the various characteristics of persons in the community. The characteristics can include, but are not limited to: age, background, citizenship, disability, education, ethnicity, family status, gender, gender identity/expression, geographical location, language, military experience, political views, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and work experience.
Crimes of violence committed against a victim by:
- a current or former spouse;
- a person with whom the victim shares a child;
- a person who is or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse;
- a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim; or
- any other person against whom the victim is protected under Pennsylvania’s domestic and family violence laws.
The equal treatment of individuals in all aspects of employment, including but not limited to compensation, resource allocation, conditions of employment and policies.
Pertaining to or characteristic of a people, especially a group (ethnic group) sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language or the like.
An outward representation of gender through appearance, dress and behavior. Typically described in degrees of femininity, masculinity or other genders.
A person’s internal experience of gender. Descriptors can include male, female or non-binary.
Any behavior consisting of physical or verbal conduct that substantially interferes with an individual’s employment, education or access to University programs, activities or opportunities. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, verbal or physical attacks, graphic or written statements, threats or slurs.
Differences in the incidence and prevalence of health conditions and health status between groups based on race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, disability status or a combination of these factors.
A person’s ability to attain their full health potential without interference from their social position or ethnic/racial background.
The presumption that everyone is, and should be, heterosexual. Discrimination against people who are not heterosexual is heterosexism.
Attracted to members of another or opposite sex or gender.
The intentional and respectful involvement and empowerment of all members of a group.
A person whose physical sex characteristics do not align with binary medical definitions of male and/or female. Some intersex people may have a difference of sex development (DSD).
An act of intolerance refers to conduct that is in violation of a University policy, rule or regulation and is motivated by discriminatory bias against or hatred toward other individuals or groups based on characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, genetic information, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.
The capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences, including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, individuals with disabilities, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
A collection of acronyms to describe the diverse groups of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI) and other non-cisgender, non-heterosexual populations, and their allies.
Specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, genders or sexual orientation can be interpreted as small acts of mostly non-physical aggression; the term was coined by Chester M. Pierce in 1970.
A subtle message, sometimes subconscious, that devalues, discourages and ultimately impairs performance in the workplace. These messages can take the shape of looks, gestures or even tones.
The practice of acknowledging and respecting the various cultures, religions, races, ethnicities, attitudes and opinions within an environment.
A gender identity that is both, neither or between male and female gender identities. Other terms may be genderqueer or genderfluid.
A preconceived judgment about a person or group of people; usually indicating negative bias.
A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliations, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time. Racial categories subsume ethnic groups.
In the context of Title IX, a university is obligated to provide a prompt and effective remedy to gender discrimination or harassment upon notice. A university has notice when a responsible employee knew or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known about the discrimination or harassment. A responsible employee is any employee who has authority to take action or institute corrective measures, has a duty to report to appropriate officials, or anyone a student could reasonably believe has the authority or responsibility to do so.
Any adverse action taken by a member of the University faculty, staff or student body against any individual on the basis of a Good Faith Report made by such individual, or on the basis of such individual’s participation in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry by the University or an Appropriate Authority, or participation in a court proceeding relating to suspected Wrongful Conduct at the University, including but not be limited to, harassment, discrimination, threats of physical harm, job termination, punitive work schedule or research assignments, decrease in pay or responsibilities, or negative impact on academic progress.
Includes, but is not limited to, attempted or unwanted sexual activity, such as sexual touching and fondling.
Includes, but is not limited to, prostituting another person, non-consensual visual or audio recording of sexual activity, non-consensual distribution of photos, images or information of an individual’s sexual activity or intimate body parts, nonconsensual voyeurism, coercing someone against their will to engage in sexual activity, or knowingly transmitting sexually transmitted disease (STD) without disclosing STD status.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is unwanted, inappropriate, or unconsented to.
A form of sexual harassment that refers to sexual offenses including but not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, sexual coercion and any other forms of nonconsensual sexual activity.
The degree to which a person is attracted to individuals of the same or a different sex or gender identity.
A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or to suffer emotional distress. Stalking may include repeatedly following, harassing, threatening or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media or any other action, device or method.
A federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in curriculum and extracurricular activities, on or off campus, by any institution accepting federal funds (1972 Education Amendment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964).
The institution’s representative with the authority to oversee and investigate all issues of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, including identifying and addressing patterns and systemic problems, implementing policies and procedures, notifying students and training employees on policies and procedures, and preventing and remedying retaliation.
The experience of having a gender identity that does not align with the sex assigned at birth. May also include individuals whose expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Associated terms sometimes include gender-diverse, gender-expansive, gender non-conforming, and non-binary. Transsexual is a now-outdated term previously used to describe transgender people who pursued medical or surgical changes.
Perceptions, thinking, and actions that occur outside of conscious awareness or conscious control; a response that is hidden, automatic and natural.
This glossary was compiled with support from the following sources:
- Cultural Competence in Health Education and Health Promotion, 2nd Edition (2014). Perez, M.A. and Luquis, R.R., Editors. USA: Jossey-Bass.
- DiversityInc, (March/April 2003).
- Diversity and Social Justice – A glossary of working definitions – Oregon State University
- Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
- Penn State Policy Manual
- Project Implicit – Harvard
- Understanding Unconscious Bias, Cook Ross, Inc. (2012).
- University of Michigan Health Systems Program of Multicultural Health (2005)