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, Dane Whicker, PhD, tells us about his work as director of gender and sexual diversity initiatives for the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We also share recent EDI-related news stories, resources, and coming events.

EDI Spotlight: Dane Whicker, PhD

Dane Whicker, PhD, grew up as a gay person in Arkansas during a time when marriage equality was a decade away, slurs were both common and accepted, and allies or members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities were hard to find or nonexistent. Those experiences taught Whicker the value of support, acceptance, and open communication while inspiring him to make a difference for other people growing up in difficult circumstances.

Dane Whicker, PhD

Now, Whicker is working to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Clinical Translational and Translational Science Institute, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. For his EDI Spotlight interview, Whicker talks to us about his work in each of these roles. He also shares how he came out at age 14 and how that experience informed his perspective as an LGBTQ+ advocate.

News and Resources

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School’s Black Employee Resource Group Hosts Second Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Duke University School of Medicine’s Black Employee Resource Group, called ME², held its second annual Juneteenth celebration on June 15. Coral May, MPA, SHRM-SCP, director of the School of Medicine’s Human Resources Service Center, was the keynote speaker. The theme was “Raising Your Standards.”

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Website Updated

The School of Medicine’ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion website was recently updated. Visit the reorganized site for easier access to EDI learning opportunities, news, events, and ways to get involved.

Equity Advancement Symposium to Feature David Asai, PhD

The keynote speaker for the 2023 Equity Advancement Symposium on July 27 is David Asai, PhD, senior director of education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Learn more about Asai’s achievements and register for the symposium.

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The Changing Landscape of Medical School Admissions

Duke University School of Medicine is taking a holistic approach to building a diverse class of future leaders. The school’s admissions process is tailor-made to go beyond transcripts and test scores to identify students who will not only thrive at Duke but will also have a significant impact throughout their careers.

Black Men with Metastatic Prostate Cancer May Benefit From Drug Combination

A drug combination that shows little overall survival benefit in white men with advanced prostate cancer has a far greater effect in Black men with the disease, according to interim results from a study led by the Duke Cancer Institute.

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Duke Pathology Honors One of Duke Hospital’s First Black Employees

The Department of Pathology hosted a reception on May 26 to celebrate the legacy of Donald N. Love, one of Duke Hospital’s first employees. The event also recognized past and present recipients of an award named in his honor.

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Free Mini Course: LGBTQ+ Pronoun Use for Healthcare Professionals

Respectful use of gender-affirming language is essential to providing inclusive health care for the LGBTQ+ community. This free mini course offered by Quality Interactions is designed to boost your LGBTQ cultural competency and help you and your staff deliver inclusive care in a welcoming environment. Use this 15-minute module to enhance your understanding of respectful pronoun use in patient interactions.

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Duke Health Alliance x NC Courage Pride Game 

July 1 • 7:30 p.m.


The NC Courage invites all Duke Health Alliance and Duke Health employees, as well as their family and friends to WakeMed Soccer Park to celebrate Pride Night.

National Chats for Change

Anti-racist Practices in Action: Critical Self-Reflection and Reflexivity

July 5 • Noon


Join the Icahn School of Medicine and other colleagues for a discussion on how to uncover new practices that promote self-reflection and reflexivity in our day to day. Open to everyone in medical education and health care communities.

National Chats for Change Transformational Tools Workshop #7: Designing Transformational Change Communications with ADKAR Model

July 11 • 3-4:30 p.m.

Join the Icahn School of Medicine and other colleagues for the National Chats for Change 2023 Transformational Tools Workshop Series. These workshops are open to anyone invested in transformational, anti-racist, and systemic change at their institutions.

Black Men in Medicine: Moving Forward Together

July 13 • 5-6 p.m.


Dennis O. Frank-Ito, PhD

These Zoom-based sessions provide a space for Black men in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing and their allies to come together. Open to any faculty member, trainee, or student in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, of any race or gender, who supports the objective of the Black Men in Medicine Group.

Duke Eye Center Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lecture

July 18 • 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Duke Eye Center 


Tamara Fountain, MD

Join the Duke Eye Center for its annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion lecture.

Equity Advancement Symposium 2023

July 27

Trent Semans Center for Health Education


Featuring Keynote Speaker David Asai, PhD, Senior Director for Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Theater Delta Performance; and BioCore Student Poster Presentations. Hosted by Duke University School of Medicine IDEALS Office and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

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


For questions or story suggestions, email the EDI Team

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