Leadership in Diversity: Robert Churchill --- Part 6

Uploaded by MizzouDiversity on 16.12.2011

Robert Churchill >> Yes?
Audience member >> I was wondering, what is your recruitment process like to find students
from such a wide range of diverse backgrounds?
Robert Churchill >> It's active. Because of the reputation we've had over the years as
not being the most welcoming place we have to overcome that. So we really have to go
out of our way when students come to campus to visit that we present ourselves in a nice,
welcoming, inclusive environment. Okay? But it is something we've had to overcome, especially
when we've got alums in the state telling students, "Don't apply. Go to SLU [St. Louis
University]." What?! Nothing wrong with SLU, but we're the state school. Come here. And
so... it's...and I've got Traci who is a master at recruiting and she really has a way with
students and talking to students. And when they come here she brings them into her family
and she treats them like one of her kids. And so that really goes a long way. We also
have some programs now that are for disadvantaged students to come and spend a couple days to
learn more about what it takes to get into medical school.
The other thing I forgot to mention is that Noor and her friend Maarten -- M-A-A-R-T-E-N
who is of Dutch heritage -- put on this --- I'll find it here someplace --- the Development
of Cultural Competency in Leaders. It was a two day course and it was all the leaders
of the three schools --- the School of Health Professions, Nursing, and Medicine and the
Hospital system.
We also sent a couple of groups of faculty and staff last year to the Inclusion Institute
for Health Care in St. Louis. We plan on sending a couple more cohorts there this year. It's
a three-day immersion in diversity. Where you learn about your biases and bigotry and
all that stuff so you better...because people have unconscious biases… They have biases
they may not know that they have, okay.
So we've also hosted... last year the NAMME meeting --- which is the National Association
of Minority Medical Educators. We hosted the regional meeting here. Two years ago we hosted
the Student National Medical Association meeting here -- big regional meeting from ten states
-- and we had, what, 300 kids here. One of the things that I really feel good about…I
mentioned to Gary Forsee and Brady Deaton two or three months before we were hosting
this SNMA meeting, and I almost didn't have the words out of my mouth when they said,
"We'll be there." So I mean, Gary showed up and Brady showed up and Hal showed up. And
these are a diverse group of students from ten states, and Gary's working the audience
-- Forsee -- you know, shaking hands and stuff, I mean, to make them feel welcome. So that's
part of the process, too --- is presenting ourselves as this is a good place for you
to come. It's an inclusive place. It's a safe place, and you're going to get as good a medical
education here as any place in the country. And I'll put our board scores up against Harvard
and Hopkins and everybody else. Our mean score this year on step two was close to, what,
the 90th percentile. That's our average score. That's pretty good. We're like two standard
deviations above the national average. But as good as that is, we can be better. And
that's what we want to do.
You had your hand up at the back?
Audience Member >> Yeah, I was just wondering with all the premium being put on diversity
and having a lot of different students with different backgrounds, does it make it harder
for students that are also very competent applicants to get into the college [inaudible]
verses the other ones?
Robert Churchill >> Could you relay that to me? I'm 15 years a member of the AARP and
I've got my Medicare card and my wife is always telling me, "Turn down the TV." [laughter
from audience] So my hearing isn't as good as it used to be. Steve did you hear what
he said? Somebody just want a... little closer...
Steve Zweig >> I think the question was, if you are going to advance diversity in your
selection process, does that put other people at a disadvantage?
Robert Churchill >> Well it depends on what you're trying to achieve, okay. You know,
if you need to have an educational experience that is better than the one that you have
... had ... and that includes increasing diversity. I suppose in a way you're right. But on the
other hand it's going to be a better experience for people that get in. That's always going
to be a dilemma, but people bring different things to medical school. Let me give you
a "for instance."
There's this new type of interview going around now, and I think it's something we need to
look at. It's called MMI. It started at McMaster University in Canada. Let me tell you the
traditional medical school interview now is that we have all of your stuff. We look at
your board score, your MCAT scores, and your grade point average and we decide. Last year
we had 1,771 applicants. We interviewed 450 students. That's a lot. And the MCAT scores
were ... there were some low and there were some high. Believe it or not the really high
MCAT scores put you at risk for graduating too. It's not just the low ones. It's the
really high ones. And so anyways, so people feel that there is some bias in that because
… so you come and you interview with two faculty member for an hour and then they meet
with all the admissions committee and everyone tries to sell their two students to the rest
of the committee that... and they come up with a list of people that they're going to
access, okay.
This new method and, I don't know… there are maybe a dozen schools now doing this.
And it's totally different. You use a holistic review process to decide who you are going
to interview, alright. And then instead of the student spending an hour with two people,
what they do is the have the student interview with six people for six minutes each. And
they don't get to see the grade point average or the MCAT score. So you're taking that bias
out of the interviewer. They have a scenario that takes two minutes to read then you walk
in the room and you sit down with the interview person and you get to describe how you would
react to that scenario. Six minutes are up. You go outside and you read the next two minute
ones and you go in for another six minute interview so these people don't form a relationship
with the interviewer or the student. And they aren't looking at the grade points. They're
starting to look now at the essence of what is this person all about. They're trying to
look at the things that we feel are important that you'd want in your personal physician.
It's really divorced from grades and MCAT scores. I really think we get too hung up
on MCAT scores and grade point average. And I'll just give you... and so people that are
doing this think it's a lot more objective. It's a better shake for the students. And
so I think we need to take a look at that.
And so I'll just tell you my scenario. So I took the MCAT examination without having
organic chemistry and physics. What do you think my scores must have looked like? Well
back in that day, we didn't get our scores. You'd pay a fee. You'd take the test. You'd
give them six places to send your test results and that was it. And I remember going... it
was an interview at Loyola University where I eventually wound up going and I was talking
to one of the associate deans and he said, "Man, your MCAT scores are awful!" [laughter
from audience]... "Just awful." I said, well you know, I didn't have organic chemistry
or physics, but I got in on the basis of the interview and my GPA. They discounted the
MCAT score. I probably wouldn't get in here today. Now you can argue whether or not I've
had a moderately successful career, okay? [chuckles] You can argue either way, but the
fact is I got where I'm at with a lousy MCAT score.
So another story. So I only took one IQ test in my life. I had to take an IQ test to go
to college. They made everybody take an IQ test. This was 1964... I scored 100. That
was average. So I was kind of proud of that. Look, you can be just average, have an IQ
score of 100 and become a dean, okay. So somebody came into my office within six months and
said you know, 100 is no longer average. Well, I watch Jay Walking. I figured the average
now has to be like 85 or 90. [audience laughs] And I said, “what it is?” They said, "It's
110." I said, "That makes this story even better."
The point is, a lot of this...we put too much importance on a lot of this stuff. You need
a basement level of accomplishment so it's not a risk for you to come to medical school
-- but it's not sky high. But we get all of these wonderful scores, and we're not paying
attention to the essence of what somebody is. We need to stop paying as much attention
to that stuff as we do. We need to start looking into the soul of our students and say, "do
they have the things that I want to have in my personal physician?" We ought to spend
more time selecting our students on that then these other markers. There is some correlation
but... you know... now I can tell you at...I think our average MCAT score here is, what...
School of Medicine staff member >> 31.5
Robert Churchill >>…thereabouts? 31.5. And one of these MMI schools --- which is that
I heard the presentation--- it was the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine in New Jersey.
Their floor for MCAT is 22. Most schools are looking at 27 … 26. And their basement for
GPA is 3 and they're perfectly satisfied with the students that they are admitting and that
they graduate and they pass their board examination because there's more to getting through than
the score that you got on a particular date. #01:08:18-1#
Anything else?
Well I appreciate your attention. I don't know if this is in the application of what
you guys are doing but this is what we're doing. If you have any ideas that you think
would work for us, please contact me, or Dr. Ingram, or Traci or somebody in the School
of Medicine. Thanks for your attention.
[Applause from audience]