Dr. Joan Y. Reede

I’m dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School. And it is designed to bring more diversity to the faculty at Harvard Medical School and its affiliated teaching hospitals—and there are 17 affiliated institutions— and to look at diversity efforts at the student, the resident, the faculty, and staff levels. But it also looks at engaging the community, and how we can work better with our surrounding community. But the truth of the matter is, if you’re going to bring diversity into medicine, you can’t just look at the faculty that are there—people at the end of the pipeline, because the numbers are too small. And so what you have to do is put in place programs that will bring more students into science. Help them understand the joy of science. Help them understand that you can love science, and do anything! So what we’ve put together at Harvard is a series of programs that says you have to address the total pipeline. And at the same time put together programs that say that it is part of our responsibility to our surrounding community. I think for youth today it can be very hard. And it can be very daunting to think “I have to match the achievements of someone else.” And so I think the first thing is to figure out, what is it that you like doing? What is it that you want to do? What do you want your life to be about? And then to understand that it’s going to take a lot of hard work. You can accomplish anything. I see people of color moving into positions that my mother, my grandmother, never dreamed would happen. I see young women who are doing amazing things, and leading amazing things. And that’s only going to grow. It’s not going to lessen over time, it’s going to grow. So I think there are more and more opportunities out there, and no one should let anyone, at any point in time, tell them what they can’t do.