Amira Del Pino-Jones, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has been named the CU School of Medicine’s associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
As associate dean of DEI, del Pino-Jones will provide leadership in all aspects of the school’s DEI programs, including education, research, community outreach, recruitment, and support of faculty, residents, students, and staff.
“Dr. Del Pino-Jones has been on the School of Medicine faculty for more than a decade, and she has an impressive record as a leader on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” says Lotte Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, senior associate dean of faculty and chief well-being officer for the CU School of Medicine. “I am confident that she will be an innovative leader who will make outstanding contributions to our efforts.”
Del Pino-Jones succeeds Shanta Zimmer, MD, who has served as associate dean of diversity and inclusion and who continues as senior associate dean for education and professor of medicine.
“I am enthusiastic about DEI, and I find this important work to be engaging, fulfilling, and rewarding,” says del Pino-Jones, who has been on the School of Medicine faculty since 2010. “My goal is to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all — one in which diversity drives excellence and all individuals are valued and heard.”
The new position is a natural fit for del Pino-Jones, who is currently director of DEI for the Division of Hospital Medicine in the Department of Medicine. In that role, she has led many DEI initiatives, including advocating for and achieving salary equity based on rank, standardizing faculty recruitment and interview processes to help minimize bias and enhance recruitment of underrepresented minorities, and conducting diversity trainings and educational sessions for faculty.
“It felt like I had already been doing a lot of the work that was going to be required in this role for my academic home in the Division of Hospital Medicine,” she says. “I was very interested in doing it on a larger scale.”
Early in her career, del Pino-Jones created two pipeline programs geared toward preparing underrepresented minority students for careers in medicine and leadership positions. Through those programs, she has mentored 23 students, 80% of whom have now matriculated into medical school and other health professional programs.
“I have continued to provide mentorship, advising, and coaching to the students who are attending the CU School of Medicine, and I feel ecstatic to see them continuing their journey to becoming physicians,” she says.
She also has mentored and advised numerous medical students and residents in her role as assistant dean for student affairs and assistant program director for DEI for the Internal Medicine Residency Program.
Additionally, del Pino-Jones is a founding member of the University of Colorado Organization for Racial and Ethnic Support (UCOLORES), an organization dedicated to career development and support for underrepresented faculty, residents, and students, and she mentors pre-health students through the Mile High Medical Society, a group of African American medical professionals dedicated to promoting the career success of African Americans in medicine.
Growing importance and focus on recruitment and retention
Del Pino-Jones attended the CU School of Medicine, then did her residency at CU as well, and has seen firsthand how the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion has grown over the years.
“I've seen this very big shift over time, looking at the importance of DEI,” she says. “It feels like people are more supportive of DEI efforts and more driven to make improvements in this as well. It’s definitely become a priority for the campus and the School of Medicine, and people are very engaged in wanting to get better in this, which is wonderful.”
Among del Pino-Jones’ responsibilities in the new position are providing leadership and direction for a broad scope of diversity activities, including implementation of the CU School of Medicine Diversity Strategic Plan; developing approaches to increase recruitment and retention of diverse students, residents, faculty, and staff; providing faculty development related to DEI; collaborating with curriculum teams to develop health equity-focused learning objectives and curricula for undergraduate and graduate medical education; and leading initiatives that result in increased diversity in leadership roles across the school.
“Diversity recruitment is certainly ongoing and needs continued efforts,” she says. “I think we’ve been doing a lot better with our medical students, but faculty recruitment and retention is definitely a high-priority area. I also want to look at ways in which we can support our students, residents, and faculty from different backgrounds and create a welcoming, inclusive environment in which people want to want to work here, and will thrive here as well.”