Office of Academic Affairs and Career Development
Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for Faculty

Our DEI Commitment

Cincinnati Children’s has a deep, long-standing commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). We believe that prioritizing DEI strengthens our care, research, and educational missions, and ultimately leads to more equitable outcomes for our patients and families. We also believe it helps us create a culture where everyone feels valued, connected, supported, and respected. To this end, we developed a DEI Strategic Plan to add structure to our efforts and integrate DEI into everything we do.

We are also committed to increasing representation and developing the careers of faculty who are historically underrepresented in medicine and biomedical research. Our faculty-specific DEI plan, developed by the Office of Academic Affairs and Career Development (OAACD) in collaboration with stakeholders across the institution, outlines approximately 20 priority interventions that, in alignment with our institutional DEI plan, support and strengthen our vision of being the leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion in pediatric academic medicine.

“Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are paramount to our pursuit of inclusive excellence at Cincinnati Children’s. Our faculty DEI plan serves as the roadmap for developing and sustaining a culture where all faculty members feel supported, valued, respected, and thrive as they pursue excellence in their clinical care, research, educational, and service/leadership endeavors.” - Jamilah Hackworth, EdD, Director, Office of Academic Affairs and Career Development

Where We Are Focused

The missions of the faculty DEI plan are to:

  • Increase representation and advance the career development of individuals who are historically underrepresented or marginalized in medicine and biomedical research.
  • Build a diverse, inclusive, and collaborative culture.
  • Promote a shared responsibility to address bias, transform systems/processes, confront racism, address social determinants of health, partner with communities, and promote health equity.

With this comprehensive plan and the faculty DEI steering committee to guide us, multiple initiatives are currently underway.

“We want to have an institutional and academic home where our faculty feel a sense of inclusion and belonging,” said Jareen Meinzen-Derr, PhD, MPH, FACE, DEI co-director. “Our faculty-specific DEI strategic plan underscores our commitment and provides us with a framework for success.”


We want all faculty candidates to see themselves reflected in our current faculty to assure them that they will be supported as clinicians, researchers, educators, and leaders. It is one of the reasons we aim for diverse representation across all positions and apply best practices for recruiting underrepresented faculty. We developed recruiting resource guides for faculty, and our search committees are made up of diverse individuals who are committed to mitigating bias in the hiring process.

Networking, Career Development and Leadership Opportunities

We are proud to be nationally recognized as a top employer for diverse employees. We want faculty to build meaningful careers here, so we provide opportunities to build connections and for growth in leadership and career development.

Building Connections

Our faculty alliance groups, each with its own charter and goals, bring faculty and medical staff from across the institution to network, connect, mentor, and share learnings. Our groups include the Black Faculty and Staff Alliance, Hispanic/Latino/a Alliance, LGBTQIA+ Alliance, Upstander Alliance and a newly formed Asian American & Pacific Islander Alliance. We also have an active chapter of Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) and an active Disability Alliance group in partnership with the University of Cincinnati Disabled Faculty & Staff Association.

“Our alliance groups are unique and something we are especially proud of. Alliance groups are a catalyst for retention because they bring together faculty from all career levels to share learnings, provide mentorship and develop solutions for challenges impacting faculty with shared diversity dimensions. They also create a supportive environment where faculty and medical staff feel valued and included,” said Lori Crosby, PsyD, DEI co-director.

Faculty member Adam Vukovic, MD, expressed it this way: “I find reassurance in the availability of an LGBTQIA+ Alliance group at Cincinnati Children's. The fact that we have the opportunity as colleagues to come together and support one another, identify our unique needs and experiences as faculty at Cincinnati Children's, and escalate when necessary to leadership is quite important. Despite cultural advances toward equality, there are still instances where being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is met with intolerance. That is not the case here. I feel accepted for who I am completely and supported in being my truest self.”

Cincinnati Children’s nine Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are another way to make connections across the institution.

Career Development and Promotion

The OAACD has a long commitment to ensuring that women and underrepresented faculty are aware of and encouraged to participate in our many acculturation and career development programs, including new faculty orientation, junior faculty bootcamp, career development seminars, leadership development programs, and many mentorship and wellbeing initiatives that occur each year. The OAACD also provides support for reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) preparation for faculty. The faculty recently voted to incorporate DEI metrics into our RPT criteria, which allows faculty doing relevant work to receive credit for their efforts.

Leadership and DEI Programs

OAACD’s faculty and staff leadership programs are designed to enhance emotional and social competencies in leadership, improve core leadership skills and support participants in becoming resonant and resilient leaders. The Faculty Leaders who Inspire Program (FLIP), our flagship leadership program, has recently been redesigned to address the specific leadership needs of women and those from underrepresented backgrounds.

We also offer DEI training and bring in diverse voices through speakers via Grand Rounds and visiting professorships on various topics.

Pathway Programs

The OAACD develops and implements a variety of pathway programs to provide aspiring middle school, high school, and undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds with educational opportunities and pediatric research experience.

Research, Grants and Community Partnerships to Promote Diversity and Health Equity

A faculty member conducting research.

Health equity is a core focus of our work across training, research and clinical care. We support health equity, health disparities and community-partnered research by offering grant funding for underrepresented researchers and health disparities and health equity research via:

  • The Diversity and Health Disparities Award provides a two-year $150,000 grant for junior faculty who are underrepresented and/or have a strong commitment to health disparities research.
  • The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Women’s Scholar Program provides two-year $140,000 grants to support women researchers.
  • The Place Outcomes Young Investigator Diversity Research Award supports research focused on health disparities and equity and related research.

Learn more about these career development opportunities.

Our commitment to DEI and research is evidenced by our Michael Fisher Child Health Equity Center. The center aims to address social, environmental, and healthcare factors to improve health and well-being outcomes for every child. Lear more about our efforts around community and population health.

Additionally, programs and training through the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) promote diversity, equity and social justice in clinical and translational research.

Giving Back

At Cincinnati Children’s, we have a long tradition of community involvement and giving. The Volunteer Ambassadors program provides a unique opportunity for faculty and staff to volunteer with their colleagues in our community.

Our Progress

We track multiple outcomes, including recruitment of faculty who are underrepresented in medicine and science, to ensure accountability and optimize outcomes. Outcomes from 2022 include: 

  • 91% of underrepresented, early-career faculty have a primary mentor
  • 22% (up from 5%) of faculty new hires identify as Black, African American, or Hispanic / Latinos

Meet the Team

“We developed the Faculty DEI Strategic Plan to align closely with the vision of the OAACD: to be a national leader in academic affairs through implementation of effective, innovative programs that promote faculty vitality and equip faculty members to achieve professional success in the changing academic health center environment, and creation of a collaborative, diverse and inclusive community.” – Jessica Kahn, MD MPH, Associate Chair, Academic Affairs and Career Development.

Meet the DEI Team