Greetings from the Associate Vice Chancellor

Paula K. Davis 
Associate Vice Chancellor
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Schools of the Health Sciences


April marks many health and faith recognition weeks and days. From National Minority Health Month to Autism Acceptance Month to Holocaust Remembrance Day, we are asked to pause and reflect, take action or reach out to connect with others. In HSDEI, we acknowledge as many of those celebrations and action days as possible. What strikes me, however, is that health professions education, clinical practice and support should always be concerned about the populations celebrated, acknowledged or recognized by these designation days/months. We should be concerned every day that bias and racism continue to impact and impede the health of people of color. We should be concerned every day that people with disabilities continue to be excluded from facets of life taken for granted by those not similarly challenged. We should be concerned every day that LGBTQ youth attempt suicide at 1.5 – 3x the rate of heterosexual youth, and that every day bias and lack of understanding of their unique health needs harms transgender citizens.
So, yes, let’s recognize, acknowledge and elevate on varied days, weeks and months. But EVERY day, let’s be certain our work is inclusive, equitable and focused on the health of all of us. 
April Showers Bring May Flowers

Every year in April, I ponder National Donate Life Month and National Minority Health Month. Both are focused on the awareness of premature death, prevention and illness of people from racial and minority groups. It reminds me that we must continue to share health education, provide early detection methods and encourage self-control of certain disease complications.

While we look ahead to May as National Mental Health Month, consider your mind, body and soul over the next sixty days. Take the time to enjoy the flowers, take a walk, laugh, love yourself and take care of yourself. Take a moment to reflect on what’s important…


Lisa Upsher, MSOL, Director
Office of Health Sciences
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
HS Story -

By Karla Perelstine, M.Ed.
Mario Browne, MPH, CHES, CDP
Associate Dean for Equity, Engagement, and Justice, Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Associate Professor, Pharmacy and Therapeutics

Intergroup Dialogue in Promoting Social Change
Erika Gold Kestenberg, PhD
Diversity, Inclusion, Equity
and Justice Consultant
The United Nations has designated May 21st as World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, a day that promotes equitable exchange and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based on mutual understanding and respect. To bring awareness to the importance of dialogue, I have asked Professor Mario Browne and Dr. Erika Gold Kestenberg, facilitators for the new "Health Sciences Intergroup Dialogue Train the Trainer" program at the University of Pittsburgh to explain the hows and whys of intergroup dialogue. Their story can be found HERE.
Dr. Brenda Cassidy is the recipient of a University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. She is recognized for developing teaching modules for healthcare providers to improve health outcomes for LGBTQIA+ patients. Dr. Cassidy and her work were acknowledged at the Faculty Honors Convocation on April 1.
Congratulations to Dr. Alaina James for being recognized by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for her work in social justice education. Dr. James received the social Justice Education Award at the School of Medicine’s annual Curriculum Colloquium in February.
Dr. Amber Johnson has received a 2022 Escalator Award for Research. This award presented by Women As One comes in the form of a $50,000 grant to the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Johnson's work centers on advancing understanding of how racial and economic disparities affect the delivery of cardiovascular care and the prevalence and severity of heart diseases.
Dr. Beatriz Luna has been honored with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) MERIT Award which recognizes researchers who contribute to NIMH's mission. Dr. Luna is an internationally recognized developmental neuroscientist whose research focuses on late childhood through adolescence neuropsychiatric disturbances—including autism, schizophrenia, and substance use.
Congratulations to Channing Moreland for winning a Black Excellence Service Award as part of the University of Pittsburgh’s 2022 K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program. Awardees were recognized for the significant contributions they have made to the community through their time, actions, talents, dedication, and as role models for compassion and service.
Dr. Andrea L. Rosso and Dr. Tiffany Gary-Webb are co-principal investigators of a 9.6 million dollar grant awarded to the University of Pittsburgh and Rand. The National Institute on Aging grant examines how structural racism has affected the cognitive health of Pittsburgh residents. The study slated to begin later in the spring will focus on the Hill District and Homewood neighborhoods.
Congratulations to the Winners of the
Scaling Grant - two-year term with an award cap of $400,000

Seeding Grant - provides up to $25,000 per year
Students from Pitt Dental Medicine joined with faculty and residents in providing underserved children free oral care during "Give Kids a Smile" days in February and March.

Mental Health Awareness Month "Back to Basics"

National Nurses Month
"Nurses Make a Difference"
May 2 - 8 - Children's Mental Health Awareness Week "Find Connections, Build Community"
May 8 - National Student Nurses Day
May 12 - International Nurses Day "Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health"
Join HSDEI and other campus affiliates in programmatic and enrichment activities throughout the months of April and May in bringing together shared experiences, community voice, and the development of skill-building/trainings related to diversity, equity, inclusion, antiracism and social justice. Events include but are not limited to grand rounds which advance equity as well as programs that align with each diversity month. The Race & ... Lecture Series is a monthly lecture series that highlights the work of Pitt's newest faculty members. Virtual meetings hosted by the School of Public Health's Center for Health Equity allow the space for voices to be heard. Additional programs and teachings are offered through the Health Sciences Library System on a regular basis.

For information on HSDEI sponsored events, please contact Karla Perelstine at
In recognition of Black "Herstory" Month, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion took a look at Black women's health from antebellum experimentation to clinical trial exclusion, and from disparity to the struggle of reproductive justice. The recording of the panel discussion can be found HERE.
You are encouraged to support the accomplishments of University of Pittsburgh health science students at the following upcoming events.

Prior to the 2022 Pennsylvania Heath Equity Summit, "Momentum to Action", the Office of Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted a pre-conference event that included student and faculty equity research panels as well as a social justice marketplace.
Congratulations to the winners of the Schools of the Health Sciences Health Disparities and Social Justice Poster Competition

Emily Underwood
Alex Fixler
School of Social Work, PhD Program
"The Impact of Medication-assisted Treatment Vans on Arrest and
Overdose Rates in Allegheny County"

Michelle Nguyen
Oanh Truong
Jennifer B. Wells
Graduate School of Public Health
Health Policy and Management
"A Spatial and Policy Analysis of COVID-19 Rates and Vaccination Access
Across Allegheny County Environmental Justice Areas"
First Professional

Lindsey Kampas
Caleb Schork
Molly Marciniak
School of Pharmacy
"Vaccine Equity: The Role of Community Pharmacists
Postdoctoral Fellow

Tyia Wilson
Alexander Riley
Susheel Khetarpa
Paul Abernathy
Jaime Booth
Alison Culyba
School of Medicine, Psychiatry
"A Multi-method Approach to Explore the Impact of Racism on
Black Youth Across Place and Time"
This article in Pittwire, the official news source for the University of Pittsburgh gives, voice to a Pitt initiative that has been established to promote research, educate students and engage in service designed to improve racial and social determinant equity in the health sciences.
Pitt PT Advancing Diversity in Physical Therapy (ADaPT) is looking for undergraduate students to apply and participate in the week-long, fully-funded program for those interested in the field.  Application deadline is Friday, April 22. Additional information and application can be found HERE.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) has announced the newly developed IDEAH (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, Humility) Council. The Council will gather every other month to discuss best practices and resources available to support ongoing inclusion initiatives. IDEAH is comprised of diversity, equity and inclusion practitioners including faculty, staff and students from SHRS whose aim is to promote awareness, improve communication and share resources and best practices to develop innovative School and department-specific projects and initiatives.
Call For Workshop Proposals
Due May 13

The Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is seeking virtual workshop proposals that focus on developing social equity consciousness and systems-thinking approaches. Proposals should address the intersections of social identities and cultivate models for advancing social justice. Additional information can be found HERE
The NSF-funded Aspire Alliance’s IAspire Leadership Academy is accepting applications. The program’s purpose is to elevate the preparedness of academic leaders from underrepresented groups so they can aspire to and succeed in more senior leadership roles. This program offers fellowships to individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups currently in formal or non-formal leadership roles in STEM higher education at both two and four-year institutions. The application deadline to apply for the program is May 20, 2022. Visit the IAspire Leadership Academy website for more details.
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