Updates About the Initiative & Diversity at UIC

UIC department of medicine participates in bias reduction study

Posted on May 29th, 2018

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine’s department of medicine is participating in a unique study that will test the efficacy of a program designed to help faculty members recognize and reduce biased behavior.

The program, called BRIM for Bias Reduction in Internal Medicine, was developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Its aim is to help make participants aware of biases and cultural stereotypes they may subscribe to, even if they do so unconsciously.

“Nobody thinks that their thoughts or actions are based on internalized stereotypes or biases, but the truth is that these ideas can be so ingrained that even the most sensitive person can be influenced by them in their behavior at work, towards colleagues or towards students,” said Dr. Patricia Finn, the Earl M. Bane Professor of Medicine and head of the department of medicine at UIC. “BRIM has been shown in early trials to be effective at helping faculty recognize and reduce that biased behavior. I knew immediately after I saw those results presented at a conference that I wanted our department of medicine to participate in the further evaluation of the program.”

The UIC department of medicine is the first to sign up to participate in a larger, nationwide study of the BRIM program, which was developed by Dr. Molly Carnes, professor of medicine, psychiatry and industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues at Madison. Carnes says the ongoing study includes 15 departments of medicine and will last approximately two years at each institution.

Providing a good departmental climate through reducing race, gender and other biases can help increase faculty retention, explained Carnes. “The average cost of losing a faculty member exceeds $400,000, so climate is also important on a cost-basis,” said Carnes. “Women who work in more supportive climates also have lower levels of work/family conflict, even if they work up to 70 hours per week.”

“UI Health — our health enterprise comprised of UIC’s seven health science colleges and the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics — is dedicated to advancing health equity for all. That commitment is rooted in a faculty and staff who are aware of and can recognize biases and inequities they themselves might hold,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Engaging in the BRIM program is one way that we can foster this mission in our interactions with our fellow faculty, staff, patients and students.”

Professional interactions, performance evaluations and hiring decisions can also be inadvertently influenced by opinions people hold about others based on who they are, where they’re from or the language they speak without getting to know the individual, Carnes explained. Race, gender, age, sexual preference and even weight can play into these biases. As a result, some people and groups experience a more positive and supportive work environment than faculty or individuals of other groups.

At the heart of the BRIM program is a three-hour workshop titled, “Breaking the Bias Habit: Bias Reduction in Internal Medicine.” Carnes and colleagues designed the program to help participants recognize their own biased behaviors, and provide strategies for reducing those behaviors.

Some of the strategies include perspective taking — or putting oneself in another’s shoes, and stereotype replacement, where a stereotypical perception is questioned and replaced with real information based on an individual.

In the ongoing BRIM study, half of the UIC department of medicine’s faculty and staff will receive the BRIM program delivered by its developers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The other half will receive BRIM training from their UIC colleagues, known as “BRIM implementers,” who have been identified and trained by the Madison researchers. Participants will complete a survey before BRIM starts on the climate of the department and the respondent’s feelings about the value of the BRIM program and expectations.

Three months after the workshop is delivered, participants in both groups will complete a follow-up survey asking again about the climate of the department, their feelings about BRIM and if they have noticed changes in their own behavior that resulted from BRIM.

“Our program looks at biases as habits, and these habits, like any others, can be changed by increasing awareness and supporting self-efficacy in the practice of evidence-based strategies like those presented through BRIM,” Finn said. “While this program focuses on faculty, we look forward to using these skills and tools in training the next generation of physicians.”

UIC Interfaith and Cultural Diversity Day

Posted on March 20th, 2018

The UIC Graduate Council hosted the UIC Interfaith and Cultural Diversity Day Saturday to foster the community spirit at UIC.

More than 25 groups represented their cultures during the event, which aimed to showcase the cultural/religious diversity of UIC. The representations culminated in unity in diversity.

UIC forms partnership with Central Intelligence Agency

Posted on February 28th, 2018

The University of Illinois at Chicago has launched a new partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency that will enhance student career opportunities at the university, officials recently announced.

corner of classical-style building

The new pilot partnership will also draw on UIC’s rich academic programs, the graduation rate of its students, as well as the diversity of its student population.

UIC will receive resources to support academic enrichment and workforce development activities for students. The new pilot partnership, called the Signature School Program, will also draw on UIC’s rich academic programs, the graduation rate of its students, as well as the diversity of its student population.

The agreement “will establish a solid partnership between UIC and the CIA and provide our students a greater breadth of career opportunities,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis. “The Signature School Program will provide UIC students with direct access to careers and internships within the agency for many years to come. It’s a win-win situation for both of us.”

Under the program, UIC will partner with the agency to expand current career services programming and provide additional opportunities for students to be exposed to careers in the federal government.

“The CIA is committed to building a diverse workforce that has a broad range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, language expertise, and educational and life experiences to ensure diversity of thought and the ability to operate effectively worldwide,” said Maja Lehnus, the CIA’s associate director for talent.

Some of the examples of the collaboration of the Signature School Program include:

  • The CIA will have a regular recruiting presence on the UIC campus to build relationships and sustain contact with qualified student applicants.
  • UIC students will have opportunities to engage in on-campus interviews, information sessions, workshops, simulations and networking activities with CIA personnel.
  • Students will participate in unclassified discussions, presentations and seminars that discuss the business of intelligence and learn about employment opportunities within the CIA.
  • Students will also participate in selective professional development events, such as mock interviews, résumé reviews and panels to strengthen their career search.

“The Signature School Program provides our students direct access to numerous career options at the CIA. Through this program, students will be able to attend career-focused workshops and meet individually with CIA staff. It is this type of access which will help our students make an informed decision in pursuing a career with the agency,” said Thy Nguyen, director of UIC Career Services.

Currently, three schools are formally recognized as CIA signature schools: Baruch College of the City University of New York, the University of New Mexico and Florida International University.

About UIC

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a major research university located in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities. As Chicago’s only public research university, UIC is an integral part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the city. Ranked among the top 25 best public universities in the nation by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, there are 15 academic colleges where students are able to explore their interests in fields ranging from business and engineering to education, liberal arts and sciences, urban planning, and social work, as well as architecture, design and the arts.

About the Central Intelligence Agency

The CIA is an independent agency within the federal government that is responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior U.S. policymakers.  The CIA’s mission is to preempt threats and further U.S. national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the president, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our nation safe.


Black History Month at UIC

Posted on February 15th, 2018

Blacknificent with Yara Shahidi

The theme for UIC’s Black History Month 2018 is “Blacknificent” and features a keynote conversation with actress Yara Shahidi.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Black History Month commemorates the culture and contributions of Africans and African Americans. This year’s theme for Black History Month 2018 is “Blacknificent: Pride, Love, Culture,” and this year’s keynote event will be “A Conversation with Yara Shahidi.”

The Black History Month planning committee, including the Center for Student Involvement, the Student Activities Board and the African American Academic Network, are sponsoring the following events at UIC, which are open to public:

WHEN: February 15
6-8 p.m.

WHERE: Student Center East, Illinois Room
750 S. Halsted St.

Show Stoppers: Black History Month Showcase. Multimedia performance and art exhibition featuring the artistic contributions of the UIC community, including song, dance, visual art and poetry. The event is free and open to the public.


WHEN: February 19
6:30-8:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

725 W. Roosevelt Rd.

This year’s keynote event will be “A Conversation with Yara Shahidi.” The actress, who plays Zoey Johnson on ABC’s critically acclaimed show “Black-ish,” will discuss social issues and women’s rights.

She has received a NAACP Image Award for outstanding supporting actress for her role on “Black-ish” and a Gracie Award for female in a breakthrough role. She uses her fame as a platform to talk about STEM, education and social issues.

This keynote event is free for current UIC students. RSVP here:
UIC faculty, staff and guests may purchase tickets for $20:


WHEN:  February 21
4:30-6:30 p.m.

WHERE: African American Cultural Center Gallery
Addams Hall, Rooms 200 and 209, 2nd floor
830 S. Halsted St.

The National Association of Black Accountants’ Black Success Seminar will feature business leaders Bianca Shellie-Robinson and Chinedu Iwuora. Shellie-Robinson is president of Cayden Cay Consulting and an international success-building strategist, project manager, speaker, business coach, business consultant, workshop facilitator and trainer. Iwuora is a CPA and audit senior at Deloitte, among the largest accounting firms in the world.


WHEN: February 22
3-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Student Center East, Montgomery Ward Gallery
750 S. Halsted St.

Re-imagining Masculinities (RMI): Englewood Boys Installation will feature a dialogue with artist Julian Williams. The exhibit includes a series of 13 watercolor portraits by Williams, a Chicago-based artist. The installation re-envisions the lives and worlds of incarcerated African-American boys and young men. The work comes from Williams’ personal experience and efforts to heal and cope with his son’s incarceration.


WHEN: February 23
5:30-8 p.m.

WHERE: Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S. Halsted St.

“Poetry Is Not A Luxury:” Black Women Witnessing in Dangerous Times, will feature poetry readings from black female poets Krista Franklin, Nikki Patin, Rosamond King and Tara Betts. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase. Wheelchair accessible. For questions about accessibility, contact (312)413-1024.


WHEN: February 26 – March 2

WHERE: Great Cities Institute Suite 400
412 S. Peoria

The Kerner Report: 50 Years Later will be the focus of attention for the Great Cities Institute. In the aftermath of the 1967 urban “riots,” then-President Lyndon B. Johnson established the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission, after its chair, former Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner, Jr. The commission examined the conditions of the cities that led to the turmoil and issued recommendations. The report, released on Feb. 29, 1968, served as a pivotal moment in the changing dynamics of U.S. cities and of the critical analysis of the role of race as a division in America.

The Great Cities Institute will host a weeklong series February 26 through March 2 to discuss the Kerner Report’s findings and their continuing relevance for today’s urban issues. The keynote presentation from 9 to 11 a.m. March 1 will feature the last remaining member of the Kerner Commission, former U.S. Senator Dr. Fred Harris.

For more information on these events, please visit:
RSVP for the March 1 Keynote & Panel:

UIC Latino groups to host forum on US immigration detention centers

Posted on February 5th, 2018

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Latino Cultural Center and the Latin American and Latino studies program will be hosting a forum, “We call them Baby Jails,” to discuss policies involving family detention for undocumented immigrants.

Virginia Martinez

Virginia Martinez (Photo: Olga Lopez)

En Español


February 7
3-4:30 p.m.


The Rafael Cintrón Ortiz UIC Latino Cultural Center
Lecture Center B2
803 S. Morgan St.


The forum will feature Virginia Martinez, an attorney and community activist with the CARA Pro Bono Project, a pro bono legal services project to help the families detained in the towns of Dilley and Karnes in Texas. She will discuss the federal government’s opening of the largest immigrant, family-detention center in the country, the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. The center has 480 beds and can hold 2,400 women and children seeking asylum, most from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Many of these people, who are fleeing poverty and violence, become victims of crime and are detained without the ability to receive proper legal protection.

Martinez, who has spent most of her career working with non-profit organizations, has worked with the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley. She has also served as legislative staff attorney in the Midwest office of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, and is on the Illinois Prison Review Board. Martinez, who was one of the first Latinas to practice law in Illinois, was also former director of the International Center for Health Leadership Development at UIC. Volunteers from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association make up the CARA Pro Bono Project.

Additional sponsors of the forum include the UIC Institute for the Humanities Global Migration Working Group and the Heritage Garden Student Group.

The event is free and open to the public. For information, please call (312)996-3095.