News: EDI-D training module creators supported through fellowship

By Jennifer Parraga, BA'93

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry has awarded four graduate students fellowship funding for their work in the development of an education and training module focused on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization (EDI-D).

Congratulations are extended to Lika Chowdhury, Olivia Ghosh-Swaby, Sergiu Lucaciu and Jordyn Meaney. Each student has been intimately involved with the Council on Reforming Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Trainees (CR(EDI)T). Their contributions include foundational census survey work and the creation and execution of a module called EDI-D in Academia: Medical Sciences. Additionally, this team of learners was responsible for presenting it across the School and participating in meetings at the School and across the University to expand engagement.

“We are exceedingly proud of all the learners who conceived and launched CR(EDI)T. Their work generally, and more specifically with this training module, is to be commended, as it is changing the way we work at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. It’s fitting that we supported their contributions with this funding,” said Tom Drysdale, PhD, Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Ghosh-Swaby, Chair of CR(EDI)T, oversaw the creation of the module while delegating roles and tasks to members of the programming committee. She also edited and developed the design of the module and curated content for two sections.

She says that the fellowship funding recognizes the hard work and extra investment of time from students to enhance the experience of the School’s diverse graduate student population.

“Importantly, this is an investment in EDI as a key component of academic success in the medical sciences and it will pave the way for other institutions to recognize, compensate and value EDI as a part of research and the qualities of a strong researcher and scientist," she said. 

Lucaciu, who was responsible for helping with designing the overall framework of the modules, as well as developing content and specific questions, agrees with Ghosh-Swaby. He points out that the funding highlights that EDI-D initiatives are starting to be prioritized.

“Funding like this is so important because it shows us that the University supports and appreciates our work. This fellowship highlights how the time and effort we put into these EDI-D initiatives are beginning to be valued in the same way as our research and academic activities." 

The module has been in place since September 2021 and is now a mandatory milestone piece for all incoming graduate learners as part of the online course, Introduction to Biomedical Sciences orientation.

While it will continue to be used at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, it has also been shared with other graduate programs at Western who can tailor it to their unique programs. The module also served to inspire an eCampus Ontario grant to develop a larger EDI-D toolkit for the biomedical sciences across the province.