Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
UVA Pathology strives to provide an inclusive environment that values diversity, welcomeness, and acceptance. We believe that as physicians and humans it is our responsibility to fight for equity and justice not only within our walls, but also beyond them. There is no place for racism or discrimination here. We recognize that this process takes active work, understanding, and engagement from all our members, and are continuously endeavoring to do and be better.
Ifeyinwa (Ifey) Obiorah, MD PhD, is the current Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion strategist for the department of pathology. She has an enthusiasm for contributing to diversity, inclusion, and equity by promoting underrepresented groups. Ifey participates in the programs that help underrepresented students to choose a career path either in medicine or
STEM. She is one of the faculty mentors for the UVA House staff Council for Diversity and Inclusion for the academic year 2022-2023. She is involved in the organization and celebration of cultures of multi-diverse groups including Juneteenth. Her primary aim is to create a safe space and an all-inclusive environment for all pathology staff and trainees and promote community outreach to ensure equitable patient care.
The Department has several programs and initiatives in place to support the mission of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, which include the following:
Supporting the Pipeline
UVA Pathology participates in multiple programs providing medicine and pathology experiences for underprivileged and underrepresented students.
- We fund an up to 3-day visit for interested medical students whose unique backgrounds, skills, or goals will enrich UVA’s Pathology Department. This scholarship is intended to offset travel and hotel costs and is open on a rolling basis. This program is open to applicants who are first generation medical school attendees, socioeconomically disadvantaged students, and individuals who have overcome substantial educational or economic obstacles. Interested applicants should contact our Medical Student Coordinator, Tonya Test. During the visit the medical students rotate through Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, have lunch with residents, and get an in-depth feel for the department.
- We have an established relationship with HBU medical schools to offer rotations for pathology-bound med students who do not have this opportunity at their local medical school.
We offer summer pathology exposure experiences for underrepresented minority undergrads pursuing a career in medicine/science.
The Summer Research Internship Program is a ten-week program that combines an immersive biomedical research experience under the mentorship of a faculty member with professional development and communication workshops. The program is designed for students to explore biomedical research while simultaneously preparing them for successful applications to MD, PhD and combined MD/PhD programs. Each year, faculty and residents from the Department of Pathology develop and deliver a two-hour workshop on the basic biology, detection, and prevention of HPV infection and associated neoplasias.
The Summer Medical Leadership Program is intensive six-week residential summer medical academic enrichment program for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds who are in interested in a career in medicine. The division of autopsy has participated in this program since 2002 and both faculty and residents are engaged in interactive workshops as part of this program.
Our Anatomic Pathology Director, Dr. Kristen Atkins, developed and runs a 4-week communication and interviewing techniques workshop for undergraduates in the Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Medical Honor Society. The Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Medical Honor Society (DHW) is an organization for Black and other ethnic minority undergraduate students interested in becoming physicians. This workshop focuses on interviewing techniques for summer job opportunities (applications and face-to-face interviews), medical school interviews, and learning how to bring their stories to life with pride through group exercises and many mock practices. In 2019 we had 10 participants.
Working with SNMA, the department of pathology also organizes a fall workshop for the members of UVA’s Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Health Honor Society. The students rotate through different stations that are run by residents that cover the pathophysiology of different disease processes using diseased organs and interactive PowerPoint presentations.
The School of Medicine Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is a student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. SNMA hosts a career day for 7th grade students from Charlottesville City public schools who are enrolled in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. Residents and faculty participate in this event in an interactive session using normal and diseased organs and discuss what it means to be a pathologist.
Literature & Other Resources
- The Residency Program offers a library of anti-racism literature which is available for all trainees, faculty, and staff to borrow.
- The Residency Program has a small private room which can be utilized as a multi-faith prayer and meditation space as well as for pumping/lactation.
Diversity & Inclusion Efforts
UVA Pathology is committed to helping combat implicit bias and systemic racism through consistent diversity and inclusion training and education.
- All faculty participate in a Diversity & Inclusion training workshop, and similar opportunities are available for trainees through the Office of Graduate Medical Education. This is a School of Medicine-wide initiative which was developed by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and is now used by many other universities.
- Individual pathology faculty serve on the Diversity & Inclusion committees for the UVA School of Medicine, UVA Housestaff, and for national organizations including the United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology.
- In addition to having two faculty leads for Diversity & Inclusion efforts, Drs. Shyam Raghavan & Mendy Poulter, we have recently formed a broader working group on Diversity & Inclusion which includes faculty, staff, and trainees, and which is charged with helping to coordinate speakers, discussions, and celebrations in alignment with our Diversity & Inclusion goals.
- Many of our faculty and staff have undergone Safe Space training sponsored by LGBTQ Center at the University of Virginia, the Diversity Consortium of the School of Medicine, and the Office of Graduate Medical Education.
- Faculty members are involved in the creation and delivery of a faculty development session open to all UVA faculty on focusing on inclusivity when creating content for medical education and assessments.
- UVA Pathology strives to fully see and celebrate everyone in our Community.
- In February of 2021, we are answering our Black colleagues’ call for a Departmental Black History Month celebration which included a book club on Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
- In 2020, we held our first-ever Juneteenth celebration, which included education from an outside expert on the history of the holiday. Moving forward, we continue to honor Juneteenth by sharing stories and reflections as well as by holding a raffle for local Black-owned businesses.
- The medical student group qMD has a health screening table each year at Charlottesville Pride and faculty have taken shifts as the faculty sponsor since 2016.
- We continue to learn and grow in this arena with humility and curiosity, and welcome input from all our colleagues on how we can make each member of and visitor to our Department feel welcome and included in our Pathology family.
UVA Resources Beyond Our Department
The University offers a range of organizations and resources which are available to UVA Pathology Members, including the following:
- The UVA Housestaff Council for Diversity and Inclusion (HDIC)
- Diversity Office at the School of Medicine
- The UVA Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Student Disability Access Center
- LGBTQ+ Student Services
- Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center
- Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights
- Office of African-American Affairs
- Multicultural Student Services
- Process for reporting inappropriate comments or behavior.
- “Just Report It” website, which is set up to collect reports on a variety of incidents, including bias and discrimination incidents. These reports can be anonymous.