Columbia University Monthly Diversity Meeting

Every once in a while, professional partnerships are formed that transcend moves, changes in positions and university placements. One such partnership exists between CPR Director, Isle Polonko and Dr. Kellie Bryant, Executive Director of Simulation and Assistant Professor at Columbia School of Nursing. Dr. Bryant’s talent and ingenuity has always lead to creative programming and collaborations. It is this propensity to develop new and innovative educational opportunities that lead to discussions between Dr. Bryant and CPR Managing Director, Richard Claflin.

Clinical Practice Resources has always pushed the boundaries of what is possible when using the specialized skills of Gynecologic Teaching Associates and Male Urogenital Teaching Associates. To this end, CPR has been active in developing protocol for utilization of GTAs and MUTAs in simulation for a variety of cutting edge programming internationally. One such area is the exploration of these specialized skills in the instruction of clinical skills techniques in transgender awareness training. CPR Assistant Director, Samm Maloney, has been developing curriculum in the field and a number of presentations and panel discussions have been presented nationally.

On March 27, 2019, Richard Claflin was invited to speak at the Office of Diversity And Cultural Affairs Committee meeting by Dr. Vivian Taylor, Associate Dean for Diversity and Cultural Affairs at the Columbia University School of Nursing. Both Richard and Isle Polonko attended and had the honor of meeting Dr. Taylor. Hearing all the wonderful work this committee is doing in and for the community was amazing.

After committee reports were made, Richard spoke a little about the work CPR is doing in the field and shared information on the use of GTAs and MUTAs in clinical skills for trans patients. Some key points that Richard made were to treat transgender patients the same as you would any other patient, honoring the integrity of the patient’s wishes, exhibiting patient respect and ensuring that kind, respectful health care is provided. The actions one would take with any patient are the same regardless of the patient’s gender identity. Respectful communication such as asking a patient how they would like to be addressed and what pronoun they use rather than assuming; treating the concerns of the patient without focusing the entire medical history on transgender issues… a cold or the flu has absolutely nothing to do with a patient’s gender identity… and being ok with making mistakes and apologizing so that a high quality of care can be provided and maintained.

These are just a few key points of the short 45 minute presentation. The questions that were asked at the end were thought provoking and ignited sparks of possibilities for future research and advocacy. CPR wants to thank Dr. Bryant, Dr. Taylor and the entire membership of the Diversity Committee for the opportunity to be a part of such an exceptional group of strong, active faculty and administrative members. The work that the Office of Diversity and Cultural Affairs at Columbia is doing is impressive and CPR looks forward to working with Dr. Bryant and Dr. Taylor on future projects and collaborations. Thank you both so much….. oh…and Dr. Taylor….the food was certainly delicious!