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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Associate Dean's Message - November 4, 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Associate Dean Volchok reflects on his recent trip to the annual SACNAS Conference.
med ed entrance

Last week I had the pleasure, along with Vanessa Yanez from the Kumar-Singh lab, to represent Sackler at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Annual Conference on Diversity in STEM. I spoke with many students interested in applying to our PREP, BDBS and PhD programs, and was struck both by the diversity of the attendees and, especially, their desire to pursue advanced degrees. At the same time, I reflected on our goals of increasing the breadth and depth of our student population, thinking in particular of this year’s first-year class, which had more than double the number of underrepresented minority students than in the past.

However, I realized that our diversity should not just be measured in admissions; it must also be a fundamental part of our culture, programming, and labs. Diversity is more than just talking about inclusion and equity. We need to acknowledge the differences that each student and faculty member brings to our community, and take positive actions to embrace their contributions. How we talk about students, how we learn and understand their backgrounds and most, importantly, how we embrace inclusivity is vital to everyone’s success. I encourage students, faculty and staff to embrace our diversity by learning from their students, attending programs, or participating in our diversity and inclusion activities, such as Wednesday’s SPINES speaker (see below) and Dan Jay’s second cultural walk (it’s sold out, but you can still sign up for the waitlist!).

Of course, this is only a start in our goal of creating and maintaining a welcoming community. I welcome any thoughts or suggestions on how we can continue to support diversity, equity and inclusion. Do not hesitate to contact me.


Dan Volchok