Examining the Usefulness of Engrained Practices: Re-Imagining the Application Process

Dec 19, 2012, 9:00 AM

Practices that work within a particular framework of goals and priorities can become engrained in the work of institutions. But what happens when the framework shifts?  Regular review of practices and the assumptions that support them offers one of the best opportunities to enhance diversity and inclusion, which can in turn improve the effective results of Scholar and Fellow programs. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Diversity Matters Podcast Series features host Jacinta Gauda in conversation with leaders and subject matter experts on practical ways to support diversity and inclusion.  In the podcast, available now, W. David Brunson, DDS, Senior Director of the Policy Center for Access, Diversity, and Inclusion of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), and Marc Nivet, EdD, Chief Diversity Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), discuss the practice of holistic review. 

Increasingly adopted by medical and dental schools, holistic review is sometimes misunderstood as affirmative action or as an initiative designed solely to increase diversity.  Nivet and Brunson will clear up these misconceptions, and explain what it is and what it is not.  Listeners will learn how the practice evolved, how it is applied equitably across the entire applicant pool, and how it aligns admissions policies, processes, and criteria with institution-specific goals.  Nivet and Brunson will also describe ADEA- and AAMC-sponsored workshops in which admissions deans, staff, and committee members learn how to integrate holistic review into their admission processes.  

Holistic review can help institutions to achieve the true culture of diversity and inclusion that they will need if they are to effectively address the nation’s challenges in health and health care.

Visit the Diversity Matters Community to download podcasts and summaries for practices that are working to increase representation in health and health care.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.