JEDI Education Program – The Constant Pursuit of Justice

January 10, 2024 by

Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS, Chief Diversity & Community Engagement Officer

Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS, School of Medicine Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and UVA Health Chief Diversity & Community Engagement Officer

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated that “of all forms of discrimination and inequalities, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhuman.” Through our inaugural Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) Strategists Education Program, the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion seeks to acknowledge and address injustices in healthcare. Under the leadership of Senior Associate Dean Tracy Downs, MD, this program creates an authentic path to realize our vision “to be the nation’s leading public academic health system and a best place to work — while transforming patient care, research, education, and engagement with the diverse communities we serve.” The JEDI program is a collaboration between the School of Medicine and the UVA Health Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, providing a centralized framework to align DEI efforts.

The JEDI Strategists Education Program is composed of faculty from across the School of Medicine. Each department appoints an individual to serve as their JEDI Strategist. JEDIs engage collectively to ensure diversity and inclusion are woven into best practices for their departments’ initiatives. Expectations for each JEDI include monitoring and tracking the department’s community outreach and engagement efforts, communicating opportunities for diverse scholarships and funding, and surveying the department to determine which social determinants of health they are interested in working on each year.

Jacqueline Zillioux, MD

The JEDI program moves beyond value statements to forward justice and DEI work on multiple levels throughout UVA Health. By educating, training, and empowering JEDI members, the program ensures principles become ingrained in department culture, encourages and inspires work and innovation in the area, and ensures accountability. —Jacqueline Zillioux, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology

The JEDI Strategists Education Program has a three-year curriculum. The first year focuses on “Orientation to JEDI Training,” year 2 focuses on “Research and Strategic Planning,” and year 3 focuses on “Facilitation Training.” Curriculum topics include Inclusive Excellence, Intersectionality, Cultural Competence/Humility, Implicit Bias, Multicultural Organizational Transformation, Social Determinants of Health, Courageous Conversations, Emotional Intelligence, Restorative Justice, and Adaptive Leadership.

Now in its second year, the JEDI program has two cohorts: 26 participants began in 2022 and 6 participants joined in 2023. Year 2 JEDIs are working on their capstone projects identified from data reflecting gaps in the UVA Health Strategic Plan, reflecting our commitment to “Cultivating Healthy Communities & Belonging for All.”

Nassima Ait-Daoud Tiouririne, MD

The JEDI program is teaching me the skills and showing me the path to help create a space where every individual is able to thrive as themselves, where our patients can access care independently of their race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status and where we work to dismantle barriers to opportunities so our community can benefit. I particularly appreciate that as JEDI, we are held responsible for disseminating DEI work efforts in our department, so we become agents of change. —Nassima Ait-Daoud Tiouririne, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences

The five capstone projects are Bias and Hate Incident Reporting Form, Pathways Programs, Faculty Recruitment, Equitable Patient Access, and Language Access. Each JEDI capstone project group is paired with a UVAHS administrative leader that serves as a sponsor/operational specialist to provide input and implement proposed recommendations.

The capstone projects listed below will be presented during UVA Health’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Week, January 12-19, 2024, with the theme The Constant Pursuit of Justice. The project presentations are open to the entire UVA community.

Friday, January 12

  • JEDI Strategist Capstone Presentation: Education Resource Center, Room A | 9-10 a.m. | Topic: Inclusive Faculty Recruitment |In-person and virtual.
  • JEDI Strategist Capstone Presentation: Educational Resource Center, Room A | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | Presentation Focus: Equitable Patient Access |In-person and virtual
  • JEDI Strategist Capstone Presentation: Pinn Hall Auditorium | 2-3 p.m. | Presentation Focus: Pathway Programs |In-person and Virtual.

Tuesday, January 16 

  • JEDI Strategist Capstone Presentation: Pinn Hall Auditorium | 2 – 3 p.m. | Presentation Focus: Culturally Responsive Procedures |In-person and virtual.

Thursday, January 18

  • JEDI Strategist Capstone Presentation: Claude Moore Medical Education Building, Room 3110 | 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. |Presentation Focus: Bias Incident Reporting |In-person and virtual.

This spring, the JEDI Strategists Education Program expands with a new training curriculum to onboard additional instructors and facilitators throughout UVA Health.

A complete list of JEDIs is available on the School of Medicine website. For more information on the JEDI Strategists Education program, contact Tracy Downs, MD, Dwan Love-Dinkens, or Melody Pannell.


Filed Under: Community, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion