University of Pittsburgh

Health Sciences Diversity | Excellence in Health Professions Education

“Learning to work with people from different cultures can be difficult if you never interact with them. Our campus houses students from different backgrounds, which makes it easy to be culturally sensitive.” – Tobi Adeboyejo, School of Nursing, Class of 2009

University of Pittsburgh's Schools of the Health Sciences value the richness diversity achieves.

The Office of Health Sciences Diversity exists to foster an inclusive environment for students, trainees, and faculty within the health professions schools and to increase the number of well-trained professionals who reflect different cultures, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, abilities, genders, religious affiliations and sexual orientations.

This site was designed to emphasize the awareness of diversity within the Schools of the Health Sciences and to serve as a resource for students, faculty and staff. If you have questions and cannot find the answers here, please contact us.


The University of Pittsburgh School of Education Center for Urban Education presents "Stakes Is High: Educating New Century Students", Thursday, April 17, 2014, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm, University Club, Ballroom A, 123 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. The speaker is Gloria Ladson-Billings, PhD, Kellner Family Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more information, contact Gretchen Hilderbrand, Center Administrator at The event is free and open to the public. Please bring new and gently used books to donate for children in pre-K through high school. A copy of the flyer is attached for your review. FinalLadsonBillingsFlyer

The 2014 LGBT Health Workforce Conference will be held on May 1-3, 2014 in New York, NY. The focus is "Engineering Institutions and Empowering Individuals to Better Serve LGBT Communities." Although the conference is designed for health professionals, educators, and students (pre-health professions, professional schools, and graduate), all who are interested are invited to attend. CME credit will be available.


Urban Universities for Health National Program Office, Learning Collaborative Update

December 20, 2013

From the National Program Office

The National Program Office is pleased to announce the launch of a national study on the use of holistic admission practices in the health professions. The study will examine how universities are using holistic review and other promising practices, with the goal of improving evidence in support of admission strategies that lead to a more diverse and culturally competent health workforce. The study will be led by Dr. Greer Glazer, dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati. A supplemental grant has been awarded to the AAMC and USU/APLU to fund additional research and activities associated with the study, which we expect to complete by the end of October 2014.

Funding Opportunities

Three new funding opportunities have been announced as part of the NIH Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce Program: the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative, the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), and the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC). Awardees funded through these initiatives will work together as a consortium which will be coordinated by the CEC. Letters of intent are due February 18, 2014, and applications are due March 18, 2014. Public and private universities that receive less than $7.5 million (total costs) of NIH research project grant (RPG) funding annually and have an award-eligible pool of undergraduate students, at least 25% of whom are supported by Pell grants, are eligible to apply.

The Reducing Health Disparities among Minority and Underserved Children initiative encourages research that targets the reduction of health disparities among children. Standard dates apply, and applications will be accepted beginning January 5, 2014. Both R1 and R21 funding opportunities are being offered.

Additional information on other funding opportunities can be found at

Cleveland State University to Debut New Interprofessional Model for Health-Care Education
Cleveland State has broken ground “on a state-of-the-art facility where future physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals will learn to work together at the forefront of collaborative health-care education and research.” In addition to housing CSU programs offered by the School of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences, the building will also house the Cleveland cohort of NEOMED’s programs within their College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and College of Graduate Studies and will serve as the home of the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health. The 100,000 square foot, $45 million building is scheduled to be completed in June 2015.

The Kaiser Permanente Burch Minority Leadership Development Program has announced its 2014-2016 awardees, which include two scholars from our Learning Collaborative. Lisa Cacari-Stone, PhD is an Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine-Public Health Program and a Senior Fellow, Robert Johns Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. LeConté J. Dill, DrPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center. These awards are designed to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of connections and dialogue with health policymakers in federal, state and local governments and to develop and sustain the visibility and emerging leadership of these minority researchers.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has hired its first permanent associate director of data science-- a formal signal by the biomedical agency that the age of "big data" has arrived in scientific research.

UPMC Welcomes 1st Black Orthopedic Surgeon As of Sept. 1, UPMC Health System welcomed MaCalus Hogan, MD, its newest and first African-American orthopaedic surgeon. Read more here...

The Center for Health Equity, located in the Graduate School of Public Health, has created a new research database on Latinos in Southwestern Pennsylvania. This academic resource includes a compiled list of dissertations and theses, as well as peer-reviewed publications, which focus on a range of health and social issues that affect Latinos in our region. Please let us know of any additional peer-reviewed works that can be added to the database. The database can be accessed at: Questions? Please contact Patricia Documét, MD, DrPH, Scientific Director Center for Health Equity,

NCI Research to Reality presents: Cultural Competency and LGBT Health Disparities: Identifying Barriers and Tailoring Strategies

Understanding and improving the health, safety, and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals is a growing public health concern and is a goal for Healthy People 2020. The June National Cancer Institute (NCI) Research to Reality cyber-seminar will explore several health disparities this population faces across the cancer continuum. Join us as we feature research, programs, and resources designed to assess and address cancer health disparities facing sexual minorities. Read more and register here...

Can Affirmative Action Be Fixed?

Experts weigh in on why, despite the Supreme Court ruling, the equity policy faces major problems.

By: Keli Goff Now that the Supreme Court has kicked Fisher v. University of Texas, its first major affirmative action case in a decade, back to the lower court, the outcome is still up on the air. But something that experts interviewed by The Root appear to be in agreement on is that regardless of what happens with the case, affirmative action is at a crossroads. Read more here...

The Medical Schools With the Highest Percentage of Graduates Who Are Black

There are 12 predominantly White medical schools where Blacks made up at least 10 percent of the 2011 graduating class. At Duke University, 20 of the 100 graduating medical doctors were Black, the highest percentage in the country. Ranking second was Weill Cornell Medical College, where 14 of the 93 graduates, or 15.1 percent were Black. In the third spot was the University of Tennessee Health Science Center where 14.1 percent of the 2011 graduates were Black. University of Pittsburgh (11.4%)The other medical schools where Black made up at least 10 percent of all graduates are listed here

Portrayal and Perception: African American Men & Boys

Episode 7: Journey to Medicine

WQED's multiple-part series explores how the media portrays African American males and how society views them as a result. The episodes also report on people and organizations working to spotlight positive rather than negative images. Episode 7: Journey to Medicine continues a series that reports on African American men and boys in positive and mentoring roles. "Journey to Medicine" follows middle school students, medical school students and seasoned professional physicians as they pursue careers in medicine. Watch Now

New LGBTQ Affinity group for Pitt/UPMC: The Pitt/UPMC Health Sciences LGBTQA Alliance serves individuals in the Health Sciences LGBTQA community and its allies. Keep up with the latest news and views. We have many exciting additions to the newsletter including a partner spotlight, important healthcare news, and a link where you can join the Visibility Project - OUT List.

The Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) are pleased to announce the availability of one year predoctoral fellowship awards in clinical and translational research. The awards, which provide a stipend, partial tuition, and some research and travel support, are designed to encourage and support students at the University of Pittsburgh who wish to pursue a career in multidisciplinary, clinical and translational research.

We seek outstanding candidates from the Schools of the Health Sciences or from any other graduate department within the University who are engaged in clinical or translational research.

For more information, please visit the TL1 portion of the ICRE website. Please direct any further questions to Quinten Brown, Coordinator for the TL1 program.


"Research + Community: Volunteer group advises on the how-to.", January 23, 2014, Feature, Volume 46, Issue 10 (link below)

As the proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. The same might hold true for researchers who hope to conduct research in the community. In addition to being expert in their fields of study, researchers must navigate governmental, institutional and funding agency requirements. While plummeting paylines and Institutional Review Board (IRB) scrutiny can complicate a research project, another danger lies simply in not understanding the commmunity, said Jeannette South-Paul, chair of Pitt's Department of Family Medicine and medical director of UPMC's Community Health Services Division and co-chair Pitt's Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB). "It's a broad array of folks with an interest in health", said CRAB co-chair Mario Browne, Director for Health Sciences Diversity in Pitt's Office of Health Sciences Diversity.

Members of the Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) meet monthly. From left are CRAB members Lester Bennett, advocate for th eThree Rivers Center for Independent Living; co-chairs Jeanette Sout-Paul of the School of Medicine and Mario Brown of Pitt's Office of Health Sciences Diversity, and Patricia Documet of the Graduate School of Public Health.

The full article can be located by clicking on the link


CRAB: One researcher’s experience

Faculty member Allen Lewis of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology recently presented to the Community Research Advisory Board (CRAB) for the first time and attests to the board’s value. He’s already scheduled a review for another project and is considering joining the board himself, Lewis, who has been at Pitt for three years, learned about the group through casual conversation with CRAB’s co-chair Mario Browne. His first presentation sought CRAB’s input on a proposal to test whether hip-hop music could be used to deliver information about services to young African-American men who have disabilities. Lewis, a health services researcher, works in the area of disability disparity and the impact of services. It’s well documented that cultural factors can contribute to disability disparities, he told the board as he outlined his proposal to harness the popularity of hip-hop music to reach African-American men ages 18-25 by embedding messages about disability services into a concert. The full article can be located by clicking on the link.     


Do Fewer Black Doctors Mean Worse Medical Care For Blacks?

By Debby Scheinholtz

Do Fewer Black Doctors Mean Worse Medical Care for Blacks? Fewer Black males were enrolled in their first year of medical school than were enrolled 32 years ago. If this bleak trend continues, there’s cause for concern about the quality of medical care for Blacks in the United States and the profession’s ability to address health disparities.

A recent report from the Association of Medical Colleges shows that 2.5 percent of medical school applicants were Black men in 2011, a drop from 2.6 percent in 2002. That compares with 9 percent and 11 percent increases in the share of Asian and Latino male applicants, respectively, during the same period. Read more here...University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences 2013 Health Disparities Poster Competition Results2013 Disparities Poster Competition Winners

University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences 2013 Health Disparities Poster Competition Results - Thank you again for your support of the third annual Health Sciences Health Disparities Poster Competition. The quality of the submissions was first-rate and the work displayed was excellent. Of 15 submissions, 12 were accepted for judging. The winners are:

Master's Category: Aishwarya Arjunan, GSPH – Human Genetics

"Improving Health Literacy among the Socio-economically Disadvantaged Scheduled Tribes for Sickle Cell and other diseases in Southern India"

Doctoral Category: Johanna Steenrod, GSPH – Health Policy and Management

"Rural Access to Primary Care: Evaluating the Quality of Research Through Citation Networking Analysis"

Postdoctoral Category: Laurel Peterson, SOM - Psychiatry

"Gender Moderates the Relationship between Perceived Racial Discrimination and African Americans' Hopelessness and Risky Health Behavior"

First Professional Category: Linden Wu - Nursing – Health Promotion and Development

"Prevention Curriculum of Teen Dating Violence in Urban High Schools"

It is clear that our students and trainees are asking important questions concerning health disparities in novel ways, and generating interesting data. I think all who attended came away having learned something new. Again, my congratulations on your phenomenal work exhibited at yesterday’s Health Disparities Poster Competition. Everyone in attendance mentioned their satisfaction with the quality of the posters. You are all to be commended!

Pitt School of Medicine Graduate, J. Nadine Gracia Appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, Office of Minority Health Director

Dr. J. Nadine Gracia is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, was appointed the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week. The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities.

"Dr. Gracia's appointment to lead the HHS Office of Minority Health reinforces the department's commitment to eliminate health disparities and to create a health care system that is accessible and affordable to all," said Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health. "Nadine brings to this position a wealth of expertise as a clinician and in public health policy, and a deep-rooted commitment to public service."

Dr. Gracia, who has served as Acting OMH Director since November 2011, plays a key role in the Administration's Affordable Care Act outreach to minority and underserved communities nationwide, and also leads the implementation of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities. See Dr. Gracia's bio.


“Motivational Hip Hop” is what 4 Wheel City brought to Pittsburgh on September 27th through their “Welcome to Reality” tour.  Ricardo “Rick Fire” Velasquez and Namel “Tap Waterz” Norris, both left paraplegic by gun violence, performed in Pittsburgh to a sold-out crowd at the August Wilson Center.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a feature story highlighting a new study entitled "De la Mano con la Salud" (Lend a Hand for Health). The study is being conducted by the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, with partnership efforts from Squirrel Hill Health Center and the Consumer Health Coalition. Patricia Documet, an assistant professor in GSPH's department of behavioral and community health sciences, is serving as the principal investigator for this study focusing on the well-being of immigrant Latino men.

Implicit Bias in Health Care Unconscious bias in healthcare is a well-studied topic and statistics abound. Yet many in the healthcare industry feel overwhelmed at how to change it or where to start. The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants offers some guidance on first steps, using the tools available from Harvard University’s Project Implicit:

A research grant application from a black scientist to the National Institutes of Health is markedly less likely to win approval than one from a white scientist, a new study published in Science reports. more>

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