Department of Psychiatry promotes diversity and inclusion with help from the Aspire Grant Initiative

Aspire Grant Initiative

Within Brigham Health’s Department of Psychiatry, the Psychiatry Diversity and Inclusion Committee, comprised of multidisciplinary clinicians and staff, works to promote the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty members as well as create a culture of inclusivity within the department. Now, with funding from the Aspire Grant Initiative, more resources are available for these purposes.

The Aspire Grant Initiative is a special funding program established by Brigham Health’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization to support Underrepresented in Medicine (URM*) faculty, and to more generally promote a culture of inclusiveness  in departments with the goals of building a diverse faculty that more closely reflects the population of patients we serve at Brigham Health and to drive innovation and create an energetic academic environment where diversity of thought and perspective flourish.

Christopher AhnAllen, PhD, Director of Inpatient Psychology and Psychology Training at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, and Hermioni Amonoo, MD, MPP, Associate Training Director for the BWH/HMS Residency in Psychiatry, co-chair the Psychiatry Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Together with David Silbersweig, MD, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, they put together the Aspire Grant Initiative proposal for the Department of Psychiatry. “We need to match the population we are serving. We need to demonstrate that we have providers who look like the patients that we serve. That way patients feel like this is a place for them,” says Dr. AhnAllen.

The department’s proposal, which was approved for funding, focused on retaining existing URM faculty and recruiting new URM faculty. Specifically, the funds will be used for: 

  • Career development opportunities
  • Activities associated with professional organization membership and dissemination of professional products
  • Supporting leadership development training of URM faculty
  • Post-maternity needs
  • Recruitment activities and seminars
  • Pathways programs for pre-graduate school and pre-medical school students

“We are thrilled that these resources are now available and we can use them to champion our diversity and inclusion efforts,” says Dr. AhnAllen.

*URM faculty is defined as those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population [Adopted by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Executive Committee, March 19, 2004]. Per AAMC guidelines, at Brigham Health, URM is defined as African American/Black, Alaskan/Hawaiian Native, Hispanic American and Native American.

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