Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, Justice, and Anti-Racism

In the Programs in Occupational Therapy at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, we believe that training occupational therapists who are future agents of change in the profession requires the highest commitment to diversity, equity, inclusivity, justice, and anti-racism. 

We believe that striving for diversity, equity, inclusivity, justice, and anti-racism is a lifelong and continuous process. Therefore, we commit to:

On-Going Professional Development

  • CUOT faculty, staff, and students are participating in continuous professional development training.

Threading DEIJ and Anti-Racism Principles into Our Curriculum, Courses, and Pedagogy

  • Courses are being revised to be more inclusive and informed by the key principle of race as a social construct and a social determinant of health.
  • We are training faculty that Anti-Racism is not an add-on to a course.  Anti-Racism is a pedagogy - a manner of teaching, designing courses, and measuring learning outcomes.
  • We make sure that the classroom environment is inclusive by holding space for respectful conversation and ensuring that we address any “classroom ruptures”– a disorienting dilemma or situation when a bias or microaggression that may occur, providing real time opportunities for professional development, learning, and growth. Racist actions and remarks are never tolerated at Columbia University and will be dealt with following established protocols.

Building Community by Valuing and Celebrating Intersectionality and Diversity

  • We are constantly revising and evaluating our admissions process to recruit, retain, and celebrate diversity in our student body. 
  • We are actively employing ways to recruit, mentor, promote, and celebrate diversity in our faculty and staff.

We believe that being part of a community and taking leadership roles and collective action are important steps in creating a more inclusive and anti-racist culture.  Therefore, we are committed in sustaining and strengthening DEI and anti-racism efforts through our involvement and leadership in the following:

  • Appointing a Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
  • CUOT Programs Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee and Student Advisory Board.
  • A student-led chapter of the Coalition for Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD).
  • The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA).
  • Faculty leadership role in the DEI Task force and sub-committee of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
  • Faculty leadership role in the Anti-Racist Education Institute and community of practice at CUIMC,  as well as the Anti-Racism Coalition and the grant-funded VP&S Anti-Racist. Transformation in Medical Education program in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
  • Faculty leading initiatives and co-authorships of AOTA official documents related to DEI and cultural humility.

Our commitment to DEI and Anti-Racism are guided by important strategies and aligned with our national professional association and Columbia University efforts: