Welcome to Equity Matters, a monthly newsletter from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Equity Matters is distributed to faculty, staff, and students in the Duke University School of Medicine. In this issue, Oke Anakwenze, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery, discusses his passion for EDI and mentoring. We also share recent EDI-related news stories, resources, and coming events.

EDI Spotlight: Oke Anakwenze, MD

When Oke Anakwenze, MD, was a medical student, it was hard for him to find mentors who looked like him. It was even harder once he began training in orthopedic surgery, a field of medicine that is lacking in racial and ethnic diversity. In this month’s EDI Spotlight, Anakwenze shares how he’s trying to make the experience of finding mentors a bit easier for today’s underrepresented in medicine students, both in his role as shoulder section head in the Duke Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and as diversity committee chair for the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons.

anakwenze_oke_headshot image

He also tells us about his passions outside of Duke, which include discovering Italian recipes and relearning to cook dishes from Nigeria, where he spent many years growing up.

News and Resources

er image

Trent Lecture Explores Case Highlighting the History of Segregation in Medicine

Last month, Damon Tweedy, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Jeffrey Baker, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and history, delivered the Trent Humanities in Medicine Lecture about a largely forgotten incident at Duke that drew national scrutiny and attention to segregated medical care. Watch the recorded lecture.

talking image

For Transgender Communities, What’s the Price of Being Your True Self?

No longer invisible, transgender people are paying a physical and mental toll for the way their identities have been weaponized. New Duke professor Tonia Poteat hopes to provide justice – and answers.

Duke MD Program's Third-Year Experience: Kwabena "Kobi" Adu-Kwarteng

While doing a surgery rotation during his second year of medical school at Duke, Kwabena "Kobi" Adu-Kwarteng found a passion for orthopedic surgery. For his third-year research project, Adu-Kwarteng is working with Duke orthopaedic surgeon Christopher Klifto, MD, studying shoulder injury recovery in older patients.

Call for Nominations: Samuel DuBois Cook Awards

The Samuel DuBois Cook Awards Selection Committee invites nominations of Duke staff, administrators, students (undergraduate, graduate or professional) and members from the larger community. The committee seeks members of the Duke community who display a commitment to the founding principles of the Cook Society. Nominations are due by December 20.

Religion vs. LGBTQ Patient Care: A False Narrative

This conversation led by Tanenbaum, called Religion v. LGBTQ+ Patient Care: A False Narrative, explores the narrative surrounding LGBTQ+ care at both faith-based and secular facilities and ways hospitals can create more inclusive environments.

Learn More about the December Dilemma

As a follow-up to a resource shared last month about the “December Dilemma,” check out this episode of a podcast from HR Fresh Take to learn more about the dilemmas organizations face when trying to accommodate different beliefs during the holiday season and year-round.


My-project image

Call for Applications: LGBT Health Workforce Conference

Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians (BNGAP) seeks applications for its Annual LGBT Health Workforce Conference Awards. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that have promoted the development of a health workforce responsive to the needs of LGBTQ+ communities. Deadline: January 1.

Upcoming Events image

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Medicine Grand Rounds: Behavior Change Research to Promote Health Equity

January 12 • 8-9 a.m.

Trent Semans Center for Health Education, Great Hall

Gary G. Bennett, PhD

Join the Department of Medicine for its Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Medicine Grand Rounds featuring Gary G. Bennett, PhD.

2024 MLK Commemoration

January 14 • 4 p.m.

Duke Chapel

Grant Hill

Basketball legend Grant Hill will deliver the keynote address at the university’s 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration. This year’s theme is “Our Path to Progress: Realizing King’s Dream of True Freedom for All.”

Eighth Annual National Day of Racial Healing

January 16

Save the date for the National Day of Racial Healing, which is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial, Healing & Transformation efforts. Read more about racial healing and learn how you can celebrate the day by attending or hosting an event in your community.

What to Know When Starting an Employee Resource Group

January 16 • Noon-1 p.m.

Join this information session to learn more about how to start an Employee Resource Group. Hear about questions to consider, phases of development, and steps to begin the process.

Race and Place in the History of Psychiatric Diagnosis

January 24 • Noon-1 p.m.

Duke Hospital Lecture Hall 2002 and Zoom

Kylie Smith, PhD

Kylie Smith, PhD, from Emory University will discuss her book project, Jim Crow in the Asylum: Psychiatry and Civil Rights in the American South. Sponsored by the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine.

MaryAnn Black Distinguished Health Equity Lecture Symposium

February 9 • 3-6:30 p.m.

Durham Convention Center

Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH

In honor of the late MaryAnn Black, former state representative and associate vice president for community relations for Duke University Health System. This symposium honors her extraordinary leadership, enduring impact, and powerful advocacy across our community.

2024 Samuel DuBois Cook Awards Ceremony

February 15 • 5:30 p.m.

Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club

Each year, the Samuel DuBois Cook Society recognizes community members who follow Dr. Cook's example of social activism and leadership.

Leveraging Conflict for Constructive Change

February 26 • 4-5:30 p.m.

Duke North 2002

Sonoo Thadaney Israni, MBA

This talk will weave together themes from restorative justice and design thinking; and how they can be applied to artificial intelligence and JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion), offering a case for new ways of leveraging conflict to advance a culture of connectedness and belonging. Open to all.

Visit the Duke Events Calendar for a listing of EDI events across campus


For questions or story suggestions, email the EDI Team

View as Webpage

Twitter  LinkedIn  YouTube