DEFINING DIVERSITY: Cultural Diversity is defined as representation of multiple groups in the student body, supervisors, and faculty with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, culture, environment, health/ability, nationality, religion, spirituality, and socio economic status. DFI stands firmly behind promoting diversity based on this definition which was created by COAMFTE (which accredits our program)
DFI DIVERSITY STATEMENT:At DFI we value diversity in our students, staff and the community we serve. We seek to create an environment that is welcoming and inviting to students, clients and faculty from diverse backgrounds, religions, races, genders, cultures, ages, sexual orientations, income levels, and viewpoints. Denver’s diverse population includes almost every culture found in the United States. We wish to serve our students and clients in understanding and respectful ways. We foster in our students the ability to be present with and open to “difference” in their work. We define diversity in congruence with the AAMFT Code of Ethics such that “Marriage and family therapists provide professional assistance to persons without discrimination on the basis of race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, health status, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.” We add to this diversity of clinical viewpoints and clinical practice. Thus, as faculty, we model open discussion about differences, oppression, marginalization and clinical approaches in our classes and in supervision. We see diversity as enriching the fabric of our world. We will value all who come to us and hope to learn from them as well as hoping to be of service. We welcome and invite feedback from our clients, students and faculty regarding how open and embracing DFI is in day-to-day terms. Our doors remain open to all; we continue to reach out to our community. DFI, is a community-based program, respectfully serving the Denver Metro Area since 1982.
RATIONALE: Our rationale for establishing our diversity statement arises from our historical roots as a community based program. While we originated in a University setting, we have evolved into a separate community based entity. We spent our formative years located in a neighborhood that was over 60% Hispanic. It was there that our first clinic was started. Through that experience, we began seeing ourselves as blessed by the diversity that graced our door. We further defined ourselves as a place that not only teaches students, but also provides a unique service to our community. Our reputation is as the “clinics that will see anyone.” The only requirements to obtain services from DFI are that clients can get to our offices and that they agree to be observed and taped. Our “market” can be defined as the clients no one else will see. Thus, our clients continuously remind us to value, respect and work with difference and diversity. As a result, our student body and faculty hold respect for differences in race, gender, age, culture, religion, ability, health, income and others in the highest regard. In our classes, students bring the challenges and opportunities of working with diverse clients to the discussion. This imbues the DFI learning context with a constant need to understand and respect diversity and to practice non-discrimination in our work. The curriculum, program structure and clinical training address these issues. In summary, we believe that the ability to value, honor and work with differences is a core value and skill for marriage and family therapists. A skill we seek to develop in ourselves as faculty and in our students.
PLAN: We recognize that our plan must be based both on concrete, observable numbers and on other less easily measured intangibles at the process level. Specifically, we are taking the following steps in terms of continuous quality improvement in regards to assuring a welcoming, inviting environment and fostering diversity in our students, faculty and clients:
- We seek to attract a diverse student body.
- At the process level, we seek to continuously improve our environment in terms of creating a welcoming and inviting learning environment for a diverse body of students.
- We seek to increase the diversity in our faculty.
- We continue to welcome and invite a diverse population of clients at our clinic through our long established, ongoing policy of having an open door to all clients who can find transportation to the program, pay our low reduced cost fees and are willing to be taped and observed for training purposes.
- We foster an environment where differences and similarities between individuals, couples, families and communities can be discussed. We demonstrate willingness to sit with and struggle together regarding differences as part of our co-created safe learning environment. We allow this for our clients also, inviting feedback from them regarding difference, power, and voice.
NOTE: Within the limits of our code of ethics and state law, respect of diverse viewpoints shall not be a reason to collude in, ignore or support abusive behaviors, discrimination or sexual harassment at Denver Family Institute. All faculty and students share responsibility for creating a safe, welcoming environment.