Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

February Meeting Minutes

Diversity Council

February 11, 2019 – 12:00 noon

Attendees:  Nichole Ammon, Michael Appleman, James Barrett, Andre Burton, Sandra Emerick, Stacey Gardner-Buckshaw, Carmen Javier, Margarita Kokinova, Molly O’Malley, Terri Robinson, Patricia Thornborough and Barbara Tobias

Unable to Attend:  Julie Aultman (Chair), Rod Ingram, Cody Juguilon, Kimberly Kennedy, Raymond Larnyoh, Amy Lee, Anita Pokorny, Margy Sanders and Jodie Turosky

Guests:  Natalie Bonfine and Simon Robins


Welcome and Review/Approval of Minutes

Acting Chair Andre Burton called the meeting to order at 12:07 p.m.  He asked if there were any additions, deletions or corrections to the December 10, 2018 minutes.  There being none, Andre asked for a motion to approve the minutes.  Sandra Emerick motioned the approval.  Terri Robinson seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously by voice vote.

Introduction of Guest

Terri Robinson introduced Simon Robins, M.L.I.S., NEOMED’s new reference librarian.  Simon previously worked at Johns Hopkins Health System.  He earned his Master’s in Library and Information Studies from the University of British Columbia and his Bachelor of Arts in History from Portland State University.

Update on Women in NEOMED Initiatives

Natalie Bonfine gave an update on the Women in NEOMED (WiN) employee resource group activities.  Membership is currently around 90 faculty and staff.  Steven Schmidt is the executive sponsor.

Recent activities included:

  • An assertiveness workshop conducted by Angela Dash in August 2018. It was well attended with capacity registration completed well before the cut-off date.
  • A book club was held in December to discuss Stacey Schneider’s book Ordinary Beginnings, Extraordinary Destinations.
  • An informal networking event was held at the Barrel Run Winery on January 24, 2019.
  • The American Heart Association’s National Go Red for Women Day was held February 1. Margarita Kokinova and Dana Peterson manned a table in the NEW Center, which offered information for recognizing warning signs of heart disease and stroke.
  • WiN sponsored a Stop the Bleed hands-on training session to teach emergency help for serious bleeding. Students from the Stop the Bleed Student Interest Group and Emergency Medicine Student Interest Group provided training.


Upcoming activities:

  • Rebecca German will host a dossier workshop for tenure and non-tenure track junior faculty (date TBD).
  • Portage County Heart Walk is scheduled for April 3, 2019. An expo begins at the NEW Center at 4:30 p.m. followed by the walk at 6 p.m.  Janet Coon is coordinating the event.
  • A campus-wide networking event offering a movie night with popcorn will be held the evening of April 17, 2019.
  • A Book Club to discuss the book Hidden Figures will be scheduled.
  • A Lunch and Learn with Dr. Elisabeth Young is scheduled for April 25, 2019 at noon. Young will discuss “Women in Leadership”.


Recently WiN conducted a member poll to identify topics of interest.  WiN members are also evaluating ways to engage more men in WiN.  Natalie stated that today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science Day.

Andre inquired as to whether WiN has a website or social media presence.  Natalie said that it does not presently, and Andre suggested they work together to establish one.

Natalie gave a brief history of the WiN committee who reviewed NEOMED’s lactation facilities and policies.  The committee created a summary report which was sent to Andre Burton and Michelle Mulhern.  The report focused on three areas:  1) location of existing rooms/compliance with current federal space requirements; 2) codified breastfeeding policies available for employees, students or visitors related to lactation space or breaks; and 3) communication regarding lactation space or breaks for NEOMED employees, students or visitors and availability on NEOMED’s website.

The Leadership Team reviewed the report on January 28, 2019.  Andre and Maria Schimer will begin to address the areas that are not in compliance.  Sandra Emerick suggested that Andre speak with Terri Christensen regarding renovation of the South corridor to ensure that items such as gender-neutral restrooms and filtered water are considered in the planning.  It may be advantageous to consider whenever NEOMED builds new or remodels existing space.

Latest on Title IX

Molly O’Malley gave an update on recommended changes to Title IX.  She recently returned from an Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) conference.  They believe that the new guidelines will come out in December 2019.  There will likely be a 30-day implementation period.  ATIXA released their comments regarding the changes.


Diversity Series Update

Molly O’Malley gave an update on Diversity events:

  • Lunar New Year was held February 6
  • V-week is occurring February 11-15. Molly has tickets for the Vagina Monologue should anyone wish to attend.
  • A Night in Their Shoes is scheduled for March 14
  • Red Flags of Human Trafficking will be held on February 20
  • February is Black History Month – A student interest group is supplying information highlighting African-American achievements, which is being placed on NEOMED monitors
  • The Multicultural Festival will be held on April 17


Update on LCME Diversity Issues

The outcome of the mock site visit held January 15 follows:

“NEOMED has recently developed a diversity statement but has not implemented programs directed towards the school’s diversity categories for students, faculty, and senior leadership.  Data on the diversity of faculty and senior leadership has not been previously collected; the school will begin collecting such information in academic year 2019-20.  (Diversity data is not sufficiently tracked to the mission-appropriate diversity categories identified by the school.  Data is not used in an ongoing, systematic way to develop and improve diversity-based outcomes.)”

Statement of Satisfactory:

Medical education programs will be found to be satisfactory with Element 3.3 when they have all of the following:

  • A mission-appropriate diversity policy with identification of diversity groups for students, faculty and senior administrative staff.
  • Ongoing systematic recruitment and retention activities, e.g. pipeline programs and partnerships, to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes in its students, faculty and senior administrative staff.
  • Methods to evaluate the effectiveness of activities to achieve the mission-appropriate diversity outcomes.
  • Evidence of effectiveness of the diversity efforts, including offers made and numbers reflecting progress in achieving mission-appropriate diversity outcomes. Evaluation of the sufficiency of the numbers may consider the context of the institution, reasonable timelines for achieving measurable mission-appropriate diversity outcomes, and other supporting data indicative of success in achieving mission appropriate diversity outcomes.


The mock site surveyors thought that we developed too many diversity categories.  The categories cannot be changed now as they have already been submitted, but we can tell the LCME site surveyors that we have had a chance to re-evaluate our categories in an effort to make sure we are more mission driven.  Andre recommended including the following diversity categories:  1) Women; 2) African-Americans; 3) Hispanic/Latinos; and 4) Individuals who live and or practice medicine in a rural environment.

Andre reported that he and others are working on developing a systematic process for recruiting faculty and staff.  Search committees will be charged and receive diversity data for their department/division and be informed of the benefits of recruiting diverse individuals.  Systematic monitoring of each step in the recruiting process will be undertaken.  By having a written plan and showing how we have measurement steps in place, we may avoid being placed on probation by the LCME.  When NEOMED underwent an LCME review ten years ago, we were put on notice that they were going to monitor us.  Andre expressed deep concern as to how they will view us now.

Voluntary Separation Program

The Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) was offered to administrative and classified staff who were full-time NEOMED employees as of March 1, 2018 and funded on the University operating budget or by one of the University’s auxiliary operations with a minimum of ten continuous years of full-time or part-time employment by June 30, 2019.  A severance payment package equal to one year of the employee’s current annual base salary would be paid over a 24-month period.  Severance payments would not exceed $100,000 per each 12‑month period.

Andre reported that of 82 eligible individuals, 7 separated in 2018 with another 4 committed to separate during the first quarter of 2019.  Fifteen others plan to separate as of July 1, 2019.  Effective February 1, 2019, all vacant positions/promotions must go through an HR Workforce Re-engineering Committee composed of Andre, Rick Kasmer, Michelle Mulhern and John Wray.  Persons requesting that a position be filled must supply information such as a rationale addressing why it is key or critical, would the absence of this position create an immediate hardship to operations, and is the position vulnerable to high turnover.  Communication will be forthcoming soon on the process.

Stacey Gardner-Buckshaw asked whether the Re-engineering Committee will look at the impact a loss could mean in a small department as opposed to a larger department who may be more able to absorb additional duties.

It was asked whether lay-offs are being considered, especially if the response to the VSP is not as great as hoped.  Andre responded that he is not aware of any planned lay-offs.  The original plan was to fill 70% of the positions vacated by the VSP at 80% of the salary.  Some of the VSP saved dollars will help to support five new faculty positions.


Diversity Council Composition Update

Diversity Council membership is composed of the following:

  • Those who serve by virtue of their position (Julie Aultman, Andre Burton, James Barrett, Rod Ingram, Margarita Kokinova, Barbara Tobias, Sandra Emerick and Molly O’Malley)
  • One member from each of the Colleges (Amy Lee, Margy Sanders and Jodie Turosky)
  • One student from each College (Carmen Javier, Raymond Larnyoh and Cody Juguilon)
  • Members at large (Anita Pokorny, Patricia Thornborough, Michael Appleman, Kim Kennedy, Stacey Gardner-Buckshaw, Terri Robinson and Nichole Ammon)
  • An external member has served in the past


Many of the present Council members’ terms are expiring on June 30, 2019.  Andre plans to send out a call to the NEOMED community in March inviting interested individuals to apply to serve on Diversity Council.  Members at Large may reapply as there are no term limits.

Carmen Javier and Raymond Larnyoh previously suggested that Diversity Council membership be expanded to two students per College rather than one as is presently done.  Andre spoke with Harmony Stanger who informed him that most student governance committees have more than one student per College.  Andre will consider further the best student make-up should membership be increased.


Sandra Emerick offered that the Student Wellness Committee discussed the Prayer Room.  Students would like to have a larger space for Friday noon prayer.  A restroom in close proximity would also be helpful.

Molly O’Malley said that Harmony Stanger is introducing alternative spring breaks to learn about social justice issues within our society.  Two locations are offered:  1) an urban-focused one-day experience with Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown; and 2) a rural-focused week-long experience with Good Works in Athens, OH.  The one‑day experience costs $35 while the week costs $200.  Financial assistance is available to students who want to participate but cannot afford the cost due to financial hardship.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for April 8, 2019 at noon in Room G-105.

Submitted by,

Ruth Schlabach


Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Phone: 330.325.6736
Email: diversity@neomed.edu


Employment and academic discrimination against any individual on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status is prohibited.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Northeast Ohio Medical University