Appointed as the first Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership in January 2002, Joan Y. Reede is responsible for the development and management of a comprehensive program that provides leadership, guidance, and support to promote the increased recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented minority faculty at Harvard Medical School (HMS). This charge includes oversight of all diversity activities at HMS as they relate to faculty, trainees, students, and staff.
During this event, Dr. Reede discussed the importance of intersectionality and our perceptions of diversity. She also discussed the impact of movements, for example Affirmative Action, and how these movements often lead to tokenism, rather than true representation. Dr. Reede emphasized the need to lift up the voices of many, instead of buying into the idea that one individual can represent many varying backgrounds. She also emphasized the need for system level changes in addition to changes on the ground level, meaning this problem should be attacked from both a top-down approach as well as bottom-up. Her closing message to us was to remain vigilant. Change does not happen overnight. We may not be able to see the fruits of our labor, but that does not mean that what we’re fighting for every day is not making a difference.