Princess L.J. Currence, DSW, MSW, has been named the university diversity, equity and inclusion officer for RUSH University. Her appointment is effective Aug. 28, 2023.
“Currence’s dedication to creating a more inclusive and diverse RUSH University made her an ideal fit for this role,” Kennedy says. “We are tremendously proud of what she has already accomplished at RUSH Medical College, and we are confident that she will help RUSH University actualize our commitment to DEI.”
Prior to being named diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Currence was the assistant dean of inclusive excellence, equity, and learning for RUSH Medical College, an assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences and served as director of curriculum and education at RUSH Medical College. She has created and led sessions on a variety of diversity, equity, and inclusion related topics such as intergroup dialogues, social identity and active listening, and antiracism approaches in clinical care and education for a variety of RUSH stakeholders.
In this role, Currence will lead and will facilitate participants' awareness of and understanding of the complexity of issues involved in creating and maintaining a more inclusive and diverse RUSH University.
“We believe DEI is everyone’s responsibility and does not fall solely under one individual,” Goodman says. “In each of the colleges of RUSH University, there is a DEI representative who will work synergistically with the UDEIO position.”
The diversity, equity and inclusion officer will also help to blend individual college strategies to create a University culture of inclusion.
“From education to research to clinical care, we can only achieve our tripartite mission if everyone is included in the process,” Currence says. “By prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are positioned to redouble our collective determination to strengthen our efforts and deepen our understanding of how to center DEI in every aspect of our work. By leveraging best practices to serve all RUSH University students, faculty, and staff — by extension, patients — we will drive meaningful change and ensure a RUSH University where we can all thrive."
Currence has over 18 years of experience building successful DEI recruitment, talent and student development programs. She is a co-author of the Association of American Medical College’s Holistic Student Affairs Model. This model aims to extend holistic admissions approaches beyond admissions and into the way the student affairs areas work in concert to support students. Prior to coming to RUSH, she served as a director of health Science education and Workforce Development, chief student diversity officer, director of Urban Health Program as well as a pre-health advisor.
As a nationally recognized thought leader, she has served on several local and national boards and has also been a Public Voices Fellow for RUSH through the OpEd Project.
Currence earned her doctorate in social justice, innovation, and large-scale change management practice from the University of Southern California and a Master of Social Work degree in community organization and community and social systems from the University of Michigan.
Currence will work with both DEI representatives within the University and other areas of RUSH to continue its efforts to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion and create a learning environment in which all faculty, staff, students and everyone at RUSH can thrive.
Currence will report directly to Goodman in this newly created role.
“Currence is the perfect fit to provide leadership to develop new strategies and monitor progress in closing identified gaps against our goal of creating a world class culture,” Goodman says.