Welcome to Equity Matters, a monthly newsletter from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In this issue, PhD student Taylor Abele shares her story of what gave her the courage to stand up for herself and others in the LGBTQ+ community. We also share recent EDI-related news stories, resources, and coming events.

Taylor Abele

EDI Spotlight: Taylor Abele

Like many Americans, the murder of George Floyd in 2020 was a wake-up call for Taylor Abele, a PhD student in the Department of Immunology. Not only did the horrific event motivate her to get more involved in changing systems that lead to inequalities, but it also provided her with the courage to stand up for herself and other LGBTQ+ individuals.


In this month’s EDI Spotlight interview, Abele shares how her department’s EDI committee is working to make everyone, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, feel safe and accepted. She also discusses the importance of involving students and trainees in the School of Medicine’s EDI efforts and gives us a glimpse into her passions outside of immunology. Among them: acting.

News and Resources

Gayle DiLalla MD

DiLalla Appointed Duke Surgery's First Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Gayle DiLalla, MD, assistant professor of surgery, has been appointed the Duke Department of Surgery’s first vice chair of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). DiLalla will be responsible for identifying challenges and implementing solutions focusing on departmental goals for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusive excellence.

Lawrence and Evans

Two School of Medicine Researchers Awarded Science Diversity Leadership Grants

Lawrence David, PhD, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, and Chantell Evans, PhD, assistant professor of cell biology, were among 25 researchers named recipients of the 2022 Science Diversity Leadership Awards from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Each grant recipient will be awarded a total of $1.15 million over five years. The Science Diversity Leadership program recognizes biomedical researchers who have a record of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in their scientific fields.

Native American Heritage Month

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month. Did you know that in North Carolina, there are eight Native American tribes, with the Lumbee tribe being the largest in the state? For more information on local events and ways to honor the Native Americans who have lived here for more than 12,000 years, visit the Triangle Native American Society.

Lumbee students

Native American Heritage Inspires Lumbee Students

Three Duke medical students who have Lumbee heritage share how being Native American not only influenced each of them in different ways, but it is also part of what inspires them as they pursue medicine.

The December Dilemma illustration

December Dilemma: Tips for an Inclusive Workplace During the Holiday Season

The winter holiday season brings up a lot of questions concerning religious diversity and inclusion. This time can raise fundamental questions about how to celebrate and acknowledge everyone’s winter holiday, often referred to as the December Dilemma. While this may seem challenging, this time of year can be an opportunity to learn and embrace diversity. Check out this fact sheet for help addressing the crucial questions that typically crop up around the December holiday season, like time off, scheduling, decorations, and holiday greetings.

ADL Calendar

Interfaith Calendar and Inclusive Holiday Observations

The students, faculty, staff, and trainees of the School of Medicine hold a wide variety of religious backgrounds and celebrate many different holidays and observances. The interfaith calendar of observances is a resource to assist you in planning meetings, conferences, and events for the new year. This calendar provides a broad overview of days of significance within major faith traditions, as well as ethnic and cultural celebrations.

Bias Detection Tools for Clinical Decision Making

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences team within the National Institutes of Health has launched a challenge aimed at minimizing the harmful effects of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) bias in health care. Cash prizes will be awarded. Register to submit your ideas.

Upcoming Events image

Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 17 • 7-8 p.m.

Goodson Chapel

Divinity Pride will hold a public worship service in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Service to include the reading of the names of transgender persons who have died in the past year due to violence.

Trans Day of Remembrance Dinner

November 20 • 7-9 p.m.

Duke Coffeehouse

Join Duke’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity for a Trans Day of Remembrance Dinner. The dinner will be held after the LGBTQ Center of Durham's Trans Day of Remembrance service.

Chats for Change Facilitator Training

November 21 • 3-4 p.m.

“Chats for Change” is a series of dialogues centered on racism and bias in medicine. Join this training session if you are interested in becoming a facilitator.

The Gender of Care: Alzheimer's Disease in the 1980s

November 30 • 12-1 p.m.

Trent Humanities in Medicine Lecture featuring James Chappel, PhD, Gilhuly Family Associate Professor of History, Duke University. Register to join the Zoom webinar.

Duke Geriatrics Grand Rounds (Zoom)

December 12 • 12-1 p.m.

In this special Geriatrics Grand Rounds lecture, Jason Flatt, MD, leads a discussion on sexual and gender minority older adults and dementia.

Watch via Zoom.

Seventh Annual National Day of Racial Healing

January 17

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. The event features a primetime town hall airing across MSNBC and Noticias Telemundo platforms in English and in Spanish.

The Samuel DuBois Cook Society 2023 Awards Dinner

February 13 • 5:30 p.m.

Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club

Join us to celebrate the life of Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook and recognize community members who follow Dr. Cook's example of social activism and leadership.


For questions or story suggestions, email the EDI Team

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