Dr. Mildred M.G. Olivier

Open Letter from Assistant Dean for Diversity Mildred M. G. Olivier, M.D. to Rosalind Franklin University School of Medicine Medical Students

September 21, 2012 ­­

It’s my great pleasure to take on the post of Assistant Dean for Diversity here at Rosalind Franklin University School of Medicine. It feels like a good fit. RFUMS is where I went to medical school, and where I have held academic positions in the department of ophthalmology since 1993. Through the years I have served on many local and national commissions and tasks forces addressing healthcare disparities. Now it feels like time for me to be giving back by helping to make RFUMS an even better place than before.

 All of us who go into medicine are motivated by wanting to make the world better. An important place to start is by addressing the gap in the kind of health care that exists for far too many people. Ours is a diverse population, and the rate of change is accelerating. However, culture and language affect people’s beliefs about health, healing and wellness, as well as how they perceive illness, diseases and their causes. These differences impact the behaviors of people needing medical care and their attitudes toward health care providers. The providers themselves may be hampered in delivering care by their own cultural assumptions and limited experience with people of different backgrounds. Such things compromise patients’ access to care. To address the challenge, today’s medical schools must prepare new physicians to meet the future needs of our patients and communities.

 How do we accomplish this? There are a number of avenues available. One is to strengthen the cultural competency of all of us at RFUMS, including students, faculty, and support staff. The excellent course, HMTD-501, Impact of Healthcare Disparities, is an important part of that effort. Another is to increase the number of practitioners drawn from the groups we strive to serve. RFUMS aims to do this by attracting more minority students and faculty, as well as by ensuring that those already enrolled have access to the resources they need to be successful. In addition, we want to engage students in the opportunities and experience available to us in our surrounding communities.

 So I invite you to consider me a resource. I am here to help those who belong to minorities, as well as the rest of the students and faculty. For example, there are scholarships available that you might not be aware of, tutoring and mentoring opportunities, and freely available advice. I am available on campus on Tuesday afternoon and on weekends.  You can reach me by calling The Office for Student Affairs at 847-578-3295, emailing me through university email, or stopping by. I will be located within the CMS Office for Student Affairs suite in HSB 1.150.  One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer is that you shouldn’t wait to seek help when you need it. Situations are easier to fix before they become crises. Plus, I’m not the only person available. Feel free to see me, or any of the faculty for assistance. In the spirit of increasing diversity---celebrating our differences and savoring all that we have in common---we are indeed a family. It is when all the pieces fit together well that we become the most successful.

To connect to the Medical Student Affiars and Diversity INSITE page click here


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