Dear Colleagues, Students, and Friends,

As we prepare to go back to “normal,” let us NOT go back to normal. Why? Because our normal -- pre-COVID-19 and pre-George Floyd --was suboptimal in so many ways. Our normal rushed to “do” instead of “see”, “think” and “feel”. Our normal, in many ways, elevated some and diminished, ignored, or dishonored others. It tended to value rank over humanity. It asked our learners to treat everyone with dignity and respect while often not receiving the same grace from our educational setting. 

I believe with every fiber of my being that we can create a Pitt Health Sciences community that honors and sees the humanity in everyone and elevates all. I believe each of us can skill up from the old chestnut of the Golden Rule to act in just and equitable ways...and I use the term “equity” intentionally. “Equality” means that one might hand two people the same tool and expect them to produce the same work without regard to differences in their preparation or capacity. “Equity” asks “what tool might each of you need to work effectively and successfully?” “Social justice” asks how might we distribute tools (resources, wealth, opportunity, and privilege) within our community such that all might be successful? 

We cannot be selective in this work - we must be committed to looking at everything we do through an equity lens to identify when and how what we do marginalizes or disadvantages groups or individuals, then take corrective action. To know that inequitable situations exist and do nothing to remedy them runs counter to our campus values. We must ask ourselves: 

Do our actions match the statements we issue to tell the world who we are and what we value? 

What social contracts do we violate when we see injustice, inequity or harm and do not act, or act to preserve structures at the expense of our staff, faculty or students’ well-being? 

What might a just and equitable community look like from all perspectives? 

What would it take to disrupt unjust policies and practices in the spaces where we live and work? 

We in the Office of Health Sciences, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion encourage you to discuss and workshop these principles. Let’s prepare to transform our respective spaces into just and equitable communities.  

I want to close with an expression of deep appreciation for Mario Browne as he leaves Health Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to become Associate Dean for Equity, Engagement, and Justice for Pitt Pharmacy. His years in OHSDEI have positioned him to be a key player on Dean Patricia Kroboth’s team, ensuring equity and justice are at the forefront of curriculum, administration, and community engagement. Kudos to Mario and congratulations to PittPharmacy!
The Office of Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Would Like to Recognize the Winners of the Health Disparities and Social Justice Poster Competition
Taylor Robinson
Mary Schiff
Allen Hu
HS Story
By Karla Perelstine, Student Editor

In this edition of the OHSD newsletter, we spotlight Kathryn Reed (SHRS '14 '16G) in her role as a physician assistant and founder of the National Society of Black Physician Assistants.
The Office of Health Sciences, Diversity and Inclusion Joins Forces in Looking at Ways to Make Pittsburgh's Water Equitable

The Kiswahili saying Uhai ni Maji … “life is water” is a universal affirmation of the integral importance water plays in a community's growth economically, socially, and spiritually.  The Report, An Equitable Water Future: Pittsburgh is the culmination of two years (2019-2021 of Water Equity Task Force meetings. The Task Force is comprised of water justice advocates from community groups, not for profits, academics, the public sector, and residents. We looked into how to address systemic inequities and arrive at equity-oriented solutions to ensure all residents benefit from a sustainable, inclusive, and just water future. As the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences, we have pledged a commitment to social justice. We believe there are creative spaces and opportunities for health sciences faculty to be engaged in work that improves the human condition. The Task Force Report addresses water quality, workforce development, affordability, storm management, and water democracy. We welcome faculty to participate in our quest to ensure “life's water” is realized for all.
Congratulations to the 2020 Recipients of the Provost's Award for Diversity in the Curriculum
Zsuzsa Horvath and Christine Wankiiri-Hale, School of Dental Medicine, for guiding students in the development of curricular content for the module “When the Appointment is No Longer about Dentistry,” to help students address microaggressions and prepare them to handle and respond to inappropriate patient comments and behaviors in a culturally sensitive manner.
Lauren Jonkman, School of Pharmacy, for integrating social justice and health equity into the Population Health and Management core course in the PharmD curriculum, to ensure that all students have the knowledge and skills to identify and address inequities.

Andrew McCormick and Dara Mendez, Schools of Medicine and Public Health, for enhancing Clinical Experience courses for first-year students by introducing a book club that explored the history and ongoing practice of racism within medicine.
We are proud to announce that a number of University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences research faculty have been awarded one-year Teaming Grants through the University's Momentum Funds Program. Teaming Grants are utilized for early-stage planning of large multidisciplinary projects. In addition, one Seeding Grant was awarded to the School of Nursing and the School of Health and Rehabilitation. The Seeding Grant seeks to support the scholarship of early-career faculty in areas where opportunities for extramural funding are extremely limited. In 2021, the interdisciplinary teams addressed areas of social injustice.
Teaming Grant - Richard Boyce, Malihe Alikhani, Sheila Pratt, David Boone, and Kenneth
De Haan

Teaming Grant - Emily Elliott, Marcella Gonzalez Rivas, Jackie Smith, Noble Maseru, Daniel Bain, Eitan Shelef, Eric Perry, Caitlin Schroering, and Megan Guy

Teaming Grant - Maya Ragavan, Josefina Bañales, Sara Goodkind, Patricia Documet, Sharon Ross, José Ochoa, Benjamin Gutschow, Monica Ruiz, and Diana Escobar-Rivera 

We wish Mario Browne only the best as he leaves his position as Director, Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Office of Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Mario will assume the role of Associate Dean for Equity, Engagement, and Justice at PittPharmacy. In this newly created position, he will serve as a liaison with the University, Health Sciences, and School of Pharmacy Offices of Diversity and Inclusion as well as the community to develop and promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice initiatives
Dr. Diego Chaves-Gnecco has been awarded a Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award which recognizes a current University of Pittsburgh faculty member’s lifetime contributions to furthering international education. Dr. Chaves-Gnecco received this award for his influential work as an associate professor at the School of Medicine, director and founder of Children's Hospital Salud Para Niños (Health for the Children) which is the first southwestern Pennsylvania pediatric bilingual clinic, and his role as associate faculty of the university's Center for Latin American Studies.
Dr. Anand Mhatre, assistant professor in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences is credited with helping Chuck Sallows, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist and barbershop owner create a wheelchair-accessible barber chair. The chair sits on a platform that lifts, leans back, and swivels allowing for a more comfortable and safe experience. The barber is then able to reach the client from different angles. It is hoped that the chair can be put to use in Sallow's barbershop this summer.
Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Division Director, Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, Public Health and Clinical and Translational Science has been granted a Scaling Grant as part of the University of Pittsburgh Momentum Funds Program. This multi-year grant is for her project, "Promoting Trustworthiness of the SARS-COV2 Vaccine Among Black and Latinx Communities". The Scaling Grant, which extends beyond the university, exists to support problems that will solve the most pressing problems in society. Dr. Miller intends for the project to "pose the concept of trustworthiness as a question to the Black and Latinx community to teach us what trustworthiness looks like".
In January, Dr. Elizabeth Skidmore, associate dean for research in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, was invited by President Joe Biden to represent the American Occupational Therapy Association and the greater rehabilitation research community in a transitional meeting. The focus of the meeting was the impact that COVID has had on populations with disabilities. The transition team is focused on understanding the problems faced by this population in order to develop effective solutions.
Past Events

Co-moderators Mario Browne, director of the Office of Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Alaina Roberts, assistant professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh joined panelists Gregory Dowd, professor and chair of the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, and Kimberly Huyser, member of the Navajo nation and also a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia to discuss the history of the Native people in and around Pittsburgh, the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on Native communities, and the importance of Native American voters.
African Background of Medical Science
Dr. Charles Finch, III

Dr. Charles Finch, III, clinical and academic medicine practitioner, as well as the author of more than a dozen articles and three books on the African background of medical sciences, led a Medicine Grand Rounds presentation and student discussion on April 6. During the Grand Rounds session, Dr. Finch discussed the evolution of modern medicine as it originated in Egypt. During the evening student session, a lively conversation ensued on African healing.
Students In The News
Medical students, Cat Pressimone and Anjana Murali volunteer their time at a COVID Vaccine Clinic
Evelyn Bigini has been awarded a 2020 U.S. Fullbright Scholarship which enables her to study, teach and make an impact around the world. Evelyn, a 2020 graduate of the School of Nursing also holds a certificate in global health. Her hopes are to organize global health campaigns for displaced women and children in the Netherlands.
"How one Student is Paving a Path for Diversity in Dermatology" - Valerie Humphrey, 4th-year Medical Student and her mentor, Dr. Alaina James, were recently featured on CNBC News with Shephard Smith in which they talked about the need for diversity in the field of dermatology.
Asian Pacific Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Mental Health Awareness Month
National Nurses Month[
May 2 - Orthodox Easter
May 5 - Cinco de Mayo
May 2 - 8 - Children's Mental Health Awareness Week "Flip the Script on Mental Health"
May 8 - National Student Nurses Day
May 12 - International Nurses Day "Nurses: A Voice to Lead"
May 19 - National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
May 26 - Budha Day >>
May 31 - Memorial Day
African-American Music Appreciation Month
Men's Health Month
National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
June 13 - Race Unity Day
June 14 - Flag Day >>
June 19 - Juneteenth >>
June 24 - June 30 - Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week
Black Equity Coalition - It has been almost one year since a group of physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, public health and health care practitioners, social scientists, community funders, academics, activists, government officials, non-profit and business leaders came together as the Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition. With the help of the coalition's Data Working Group, data was able to be collected and disseminated to stakeholders and the community to develop solutions for an equitable response to the pandemic facing the (Pittsburgh) Allegheny County black community. The Coalition has since realized that their important work can extend much farther to address institutional racism and structural impediments that affect the health, well-being, and economic stability of people of color. Therefore, "COVID-19" has been dropped from the Coalition's name to address these issues. To follow the progress the Coalition has made, please refer to their website.
Meet the Pitt Influenzers! Co-founded by three medical students, Anjana Murali, Jorna Sojati, and Cat Pressimone, the Influenzers is a new student-driven science policy group on campus. Consisting of 15 ambitious health sciences students, the group's aim is to fill the interdisciplinary health policy gap. The group does this through several different initiatives: education, community engagement, and policy work. Having recently won a $4,500 microgrant through Research America and the Rita Allen Foundation which provides funding to graduate student and postdoc-led science policy groups from across the U.S., the Influenzers goal is to develop and lead outreach activities in the local community. One of the group's latest agenda items is to help make dentists in Pennsylvania eligible to give vaccines.
Credit: Cat Passimone, University of Pittsburgh Medical Student
In the March/April issue of The Pitt Capsule, Rena Reid, a member of the School of Pharmacy Diversity and Inclusion Committee tells us the story of Ella P. Stewart, the first black female student who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. In this narrative, Rena brings awareness to the many black women whose names have been erased from history. In doing so, not only is Rena telling the tale of others, but she is also telling her own story.
The University of Pittsburgh commencement ceremonies for the Health Sciences Schools will be held at the Petersen Events Center. Due to COVID restrictions, each of these in-person events is limited to two guests per student. All ceremonies will be live-streamed so that families and friends can help celebrate the students' accomplishments.

Thursday, April 29, 6 p.m.
Graduate School of Public Health
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Deborah Bogen, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department
Friday, April 30
School of Pharmacy undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, 10 a.m.

School of Nursing undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, 4 p.m.
Keynote Speaker: Susan Hassmiller, Senior Advisor for Nursing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Sunday, May 2, 10:00 a.m.
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences undergraduate, graduate, and professional students
Saturday, May 15, 1:00 p.m.
School of Dental Medicine undergraduate, graduate, and professional students
Monday, May 24, 2021, 11:00 a.m.
School of Medicine
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Camara Jones, family physician, epidemiologist, and anti-racism activist
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the School of Nursing Announces Its New Website
We welcome all members of the Pitt community, and community-at-large, to submit virtual workshop proposals for the 2021 forum. The deadline to submit workshop proposals is Friday, May 14, 2021.