What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mean to you?
DEI means that everyone has a voice and those voices are all meant to be heard. To me, it also means that I champion the voices of the marginalized and make room for those to speak and be heard.
Why is it important to focus on DEI efforts at Health Sciences?
West Virginia is a state in which far too many health disparities exist. As evidenced by the recent explosion in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, ICU beds taken and deaths, we as a Health Sciences Center, and especially as educators for the next generation of health care providers, are responsible for helping to eliminate barriers to health care services and reduce and eliminate the health disparities that exist for our citizens. I see a direct and paramount connection from DEI efforts to the elimination of health disparities, and that is why DEI efforts are essential to our work!
How does being more diverse make us better?
Leadership theory dictates that teams are stronger, more effective, more creative and much more productive as more diversity is represented among the team members. WVU is stronger the more we honor, celebrate, and champion diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to serve our students, patients, state and the greater society in which we live.
How does being part of a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere make you feel?
As a first-generation college student, having a welcoming and inclusive environment gave me the courage to share my own voice and perspective. The inclusion I felt on campus also gave me the space to come out as a member of the LGBTQA+ community. It also allowed me to learn from a wide array of others with different lived experiences than mine.
It has helped me grow and learn more because I felt welcome to share my lived experience with others. As an instructor, advisor and staff member, a primary tenet of my teaching philosophy, and by extension my work philosophy, is to help create an open environment for my students and colleagues to express themselves in honest and meaningful ways. I am always richer for what I learn from those interactions and am deeply grateful my life at WVU has afforded me these great opportunities.
/ Jennifer L. Clutter, MA (she/her/hers)
West Virginia University
School of Pharmacy