Welcome to Equity Matters, a monthly newsletter from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In this issue, Vice Dean Kevin Thomas reflects on the past year and discusses what’s to come as we continue our work to promote equity in the school. We also share recent EDI-related news stories, resources, and coming events.

A Message from Vice Dean Kevin Thomas, MD

Each month, we typically use this space to highlight individuals dedicated to creating a more equitable School of Medicine. However, because it has been nearly a year since my appointment as the inaugural vice dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the past year. Where did the time go?

Since last November, we expanded our team in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, which now includes staff working in a range of areas, from research to strategy and planning, just to name a few. Among our many goals: increasing transparency in sharing diversity data and offering progress updates on the school’s anti-racism strategic plan. New EDI leaders have been appointed in several departments and divisions, and we have begun work to revamp the roles of our EDI leaders, with a particular interest in making sure we have staff members represented in these crucial roles.

Other notable EDI achievements include establishing a distinguished professorship that both honors the legacy of the late Dr. Onyekwere E. Akwari and supports a faculty member in the Department of Surgery who shares Dr. Akwari’s commitment to equitable and compassionate care.

We have done this all while building on a strong foundation that was put in place by dedicated team members well before I came on board. I look forward to continuing to work with them along with new leaders and with you to combat inequities that have existed for too long. I’m excited that we are all partners in this journey, and working together, we can develop a culture that fosters a sense of belonging and promotes equity.

In the meantime, please take a look at the video below to learn a little more about the changes we’ve made over the past year and our commitment to continuing this important work.

A Conversation with Kevin Thomas, MD

News and Resources

Christopher Lunsford, MD

Christopher Lunsford Aims to Change the Conversation Around Disability

Christopher Lunsford, MD, a Duke pediatric physiatrist who has been hard of hearing since birth and has a speech impediment is challenging the systems that lead to inequitable learning environments and patient care settings for those with disabilities.

Ebony Boulware, MD, MPH, Named Dean of Wake Forest University School of Medicine

L. Ebony Boulware, MD, MPH, director of the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), vice dean for Translational Science in the School of Medicine, and associate vice chancellor for translational research at Duke University, will step down from her positions at Duke on December 31, 2022, to begin a new role as dean of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in January 2023.

National Center for Transgender Equality

U.S. Trans Survey Now Open

The U.S. Trans Survey is the largest survey of trans people, by trans people, in the United States. The survey documents the lives and experiences of trans and nonbinary people ages 16+ in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The survey is open to people of all trans identities (binary and nonbinary), ages 16 and older, living in the United States and U.S. territories.

Jodi-Ann Burey

The Myth of Bringing Your Full, Authentic Self to Work

Jodi-Ann Burey is a sought-after speaker and writer who works at the intersections of race, culture, and health equity. Her TED talk, “The Myth of Bringing Your Full Authentic Self to Work,” embodies her disruption of traditional narratives about racism at work. Burey is also the creator and host of Black Cancer, a podcast about the lives of people of color through their cancer journeys.

Upcoming Events image

Indigo Tent: Caroline and Jim, More than a Silhouette

October 29 • 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

"Indigo Tents" offers a participatory component of the multi-pronged, multi-year "Living Memorials" series of site-responsive "public rituals" acknowledging and re-consecrating several race-based sites of brutality in North Carolina.

National Chats for Change: "In the News"

November 2 • 12-1 p.m., 1-1:30 p.m.

Duke Debrief

Join the Icahn School of Medicine and other colleagues as we critically deconstruct a current newsworthy topic related to racism and bias in medical school.

Faculty Advancement and Success (FAS) Workshop Series 2022-2023

Advancement and Promotion (Tenure Track)

November 3 • 10-11 a.m.

Current and past APT Committee members will discuss the different stages of the tenure and promotion review process, components of a dossier, and tips and strategies to successfully navigate the tenure and promotion process.

Payne Lecture in Faith, Justice, and Health Care

November 3 • 5:30 p.m.

“Social Inequities in Health: Opportunities and Challenges for Contemporary Christianity”

Featuring David R. Williams, PhD, MPH, MDiv

Goodson Chapel, Duke Divinity School

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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