Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are dedicated to advancing clinical care for under-served patient populations through research and education, diversifying the next generation of health care providers and researchers, and sustaining a culture where every person feels valued and supported.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Equity Statement


Michigan Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology recognizes that people's health and health care quality differs. Historical and modern injustices (social, economic, and political) have resulted in diminished quality of life in some communities. Injustices such as societal racism and discrimination cause negative health consequences. We see this in women in the U.S - especially women of color – who feel the impact of these injustices across their lifetime. They face unacceptable disease and death rates, especially during pregnancy, childbirth, and when diagnosed with reproductive cancers. People with substance use disorders, disabilities, and those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or gender non-conforming, among others, also face these injustices.

Our department is working to bring awareness and to create solutions to these societal issues. We are working to better educate and train our care providers and carefully listen to our patients' voices and the communities we serve.  We are examining our performance and seeking to improve.

We strive to consistently provide patient-centered, safe, evidence-based, and timely care. Specifically, we pledge to provide equitable care for patients of every race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, ability, educational level, and familial status.

Our Approach

OBGYN DEI Workgroups
Workgroup Members

The Michigan Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) was developed with input from faculty, staff, and house officers and strategically aligned with the following key institutional priorities:

  • Create an equitable and inclusive campus climate
  • Recruit, retain, and develop a diverse community
  • Support innovative and inclusive scholarship and teaching

Our first initiative was to launch three phases of faculty- and staff-led departmental DE&I workgroups to engage individuals in a personal DE&I learning journey, institutionalize DE&I practices for recruitment and hiring for both staff and faculty, and focus on implementing DE&I practices in our Birth Center.  

In August 2020 the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department kicked off the first phase of our DE&I workgroups, with faculty, learners, and staff from across the Department volunteering to lead and participate in these workgroups. Phase two launched in May 2021 and focuses on integrating bias as a quality improvement indicator and developing effective conflict resolution training and practices for our team.

In addition to the DE&I workgroups, our team presents monthly DE&I Grand Rounds, hosts DE&I book clubs, and ensures that our community is aware of DE&I news and events happening in our department and beyond.

Future Work 

Future priorities for the OBGYN DEI Workgroups include:
  • Building community outreach, including clinical care and volunteer opportunities outside of Michigan Medicine
  • Developing curriculum for medical students, residents, and fellows
  • Designing and conducting research projects in a way that promotes equity and inclusion 

Recent Accomplishments 

  • Our team developed an inclusive curricula guide, adapted from Brown University, that highlights considerations for the development of educational materials to promote DE&I and bias-free instruction.
  • The Personal Growth Workgroup selected books, articles, podcasts, and videos intended to enhance our OBGYN community's understanding and knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion topics.
  • The Recruitment and Hiring Workgroup built two toolkits – one for faculty and one for staff – that compiled the best practices for recruitment and hiring. The ultimate goal is for our department to use these resources in order to reduce bias in the recruitment and hiring processes and cultivate a diverse workforce in OBGYN where all employees feel welcomed, accepted, valued, and supported.
  • The Birth Center/Maternal Care Workgroup focused on improving communication between patients and their care team. This group created a formal opportunity for our patients to share with their care team thoughts or concerns, related to how their race, religion, sexual orientation, or other personal beliefs/characteristics may impact their care.
  • Our team launched an Inequity Inbox in the Fall of 2022 as a forum to document our environment and learn from our colleagues’ experiences to drive changes in our workplace culture and clinical practices.

Institutional DEI Resources

Michigan Medicine offers a variety of resources and events for faculty, staff, and students through our Office of Health Equity and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resources, and the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Dee E. Fenner, M.D.

Department Chair
Townsel Michigan Medicine

Courtney Townsel, M.D., M.Sc.

Assoc. Chair for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Emily Rivkin, M.P.H.

Project Manager