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, Debra Ragland, PhD, discusses her work with the Duke BioCoRE Program. We also share recent EDI-related news stories, resources, and coming events.

EDI Spotlight: Debra Ragland, PhD

For Debra Ragland, PhD, who works closely with PhD students in the School of Medicine, addressing issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the biosciences is simple. She says it’s a matter of creating a supportive environment where the students feel heard.

Debra Ragland, PhD

In this month’s EDI Spotlight, Ragland shares how in her role as director of the Duke BioCoRE Program, she helps students who are excited about the biosciences get the support they need as they work toward becoming the next generation of scientists. She explains how BioCoRE works to increase diversity by focusing on lived experience and blindly reviewing applications. We also learn what brings her joy outside of Duke: taking photos, shopping, and walking local trails with her son, JoJo, and dog, Woodstock.

News and Resources

Vice Dean Kevin Thomas Recognized by the Heart Rhythm Society

The Heart Rhythm Society recently honored Kevin Thomas, MD, vice dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion, with the James H. Youngblood Excellence in Leadership Award. The society recognized his exemplary leadership of an initiative that has had community-wide impact.

MaryAnn Black Symposium Centers Health Equity in Second Annual Community Event

As part of the university's Centennial Celebration, the Duke Cancer Institute hosted the second annual MaryAnn Black Distinguished Health Equity Symposium in February in honor of the late MaryAnn Black, MSW, LCSW.

Ramadan Resources and Training

One of the most sacred months in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is observed as a month of fasting, reflection, and prayer. For those who would like to learn more about Ramadan, the Center for Muslim Life offers resources and trainings.

Filling a Gap for People Experiencing Homelessness

A program led by Duke University School of Medicine students is helping to make the transition to stable housing easier for people who have a history of homelessness. The WellNest Housing Support Program offers newly housed individuals support on the day of their move, and in some cases, well beyond.

Centennial Trailblazer: Geeta Swamy

Geeta Swamy, who is the Haywood Brown, MD, Distinguished Professor of Women’s Health, is mindful of the challenges faced by women — especially expectant mothers — in embattled regions across the nation and globe.

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Championing Civility in Medicine

In the intricate tapestry of health care, where compassion intertwines with expertise and empathy balances the weight of responsibility, fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity becomes paramount. Jane Gagliardi, MD, MHS, Civility Champion debrief facilitator for the Department of Medicine, stands at the forefront of this endeavor as a Civility Champion.

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Building Community for Underrepresented Faculty

The Office for Faculty and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion recently hosted a Community Building Session for Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Faculty (UREF). The session offered an opportunity for group discussion and networking with peers.

Researchers Study Innovative Way to Educate Black Women on the Benefits of PrEP

The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study by Duke University School of Nursing professors Schenita Randolph, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, and Ragan Johnson, DNP, MSN, APRN-BC. The researchers studied the feasibility of integrating salon stylists, edutainment videos, and PrEP navigators to help educate Black women on the benefits of PrEP (preexposure prophylaxis) in preventing HIV infections.

Andrea T. Deyrup, MD, PhD, Featured on NPR Podcast "Code Switch"

Pathology Professor Andrea T. Deyrup, MD, PhD, was recently featured in National Public Radio’s podcast, “Code Switch.” In the episode, Deyrup debunks the concept of biological race, and unpacks the issues that she has observed with race-based medicine. She points out the problems with using race as a variable when diagnosing certain conditions, like keloids and cystic fibrosis.

Office for Institutional Equity Spring Workshop Series Open

The Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) is currently offering educational workshops. The workshop series is open to the Duke community, in particular to staff interested in increasing skill and workplace culture in their departments. The next session, scheduled for April 16, will focus on DEI Building Blocks.

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A Conversation with Former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

April 1 • 6 p.m.

Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center

Former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will speak at Duke on April 1. The event, which is open to the public, is part of the Provost’s Initiative on the Middle East.

National Chats for Change: Establish a Safe and Brave Space for Sensitive Topics

April 3 • Noon-1 p.m.

Join colleagues from Mt. Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine to learn about exercises we can use to establish safe and brave spaces, and how to apply them to our unique work and learning environments.

Autism Acceptance Month Keynote Presentation: Redefine the Table

April 3 • 4-5 p.m.

Hari Srinivasan

Join the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development via Zoom for a special event in the Autism Seminar Series as Hari Srinivasan delivers a keynote presentation to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month. Srinivasan is a PhD student in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University.

Literature Through Silence: A Lecture by Adania Shibli

April 3 • 5-6:30 p.m.

East Duke 201 - Nelson Music Room

Adania Shibli

Palestinian novelist Adania Shibli visits Duke to deliver a lecture. Co-sponsored by the Provost's Initiative on the Middle East.

Facing the Unseen: A Conversation with Damon Tweedy, MD, on Centering Mental Health in Medicine

April 8, Noon-1 p.m.

Duke North Pavilion & Virtual (hybrid)

Damon Tweedy, MD

Damon Tweedy, MD, professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences and physician at the Durham VA Health Care System, shares stories and insights from his new book, Facing the Unseen: The Struggle to Center Mental Health in Medicine, in a conversation with Julie Penzner, MD.

¡DALHE! All Membership Meeting

April 8 • 1-2 p.m.

The Duke community is invited to attend the All Membership Meeting for ¡DALHE!, an employee resource group serving employees who identify as Latino/a/x/é or Hispanic. Hear updates from leadership and learn about upcoming events and ways to get involved. Contact ¡DALHE! to join the email list and attend this meeting.

Out of Crisis, Opportunity? War and Peace in Post-Oct 7 Middle East

April 8 • 6-7:30 p.m.

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Robert Satloff

Middle East policy expert, Robert Satloff (T'83), returns to Duke in a moderated discussion with Professor Bruce Jentleson as part of the Provost's Initiative on the Middle East.

Health Disparities Research Works in Progress Seminar

April 11 • Noon-1 p.m.

Dinushika Mohottige, MD

Join REACH Equity for a virtual, interactive seminar featuring Dinushika Mohottige, MD, assistant professor (nephrology, internal medicine) at the Institute of Health Equity Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. All are welcome to attend.

DEI Building Blocks: Creating Meaning, Shared Language and Manageable Action

April 16 • 9 a.m.-Noon

Smith Warehouse Building

This interactive workshop focuses on foundational concepts related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and skill building toward culture change. Open to the Duke community.

The RISE Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Summit

May 1-2

Join RISE for this virtual summit to learn strategies for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the health care industry. Curated for Medicare Advantage and managed care professionals with a vested interest in promoting DEI in the workplace.

12th Annual LGBT Health Workforce Conference

May 2-4

New York City

This conference provides an overview of up-to-date practices in preparing the health care workforce to address the health concerns and disparities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. Designed for health professionals, researchers, educators, administrators, and students, but all are invited.

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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