The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion presents

2021 Executive Summary

for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan

Moving from excellence to eminence

The School of Medicine is on a journey. Moving from excellence to eminence requires an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, principles that must be more than promises. They must define who we are and how we engage with each other and with the community we serve. We’re grateful for the hard work of so many faculty, staff, and learners who helped craft the roadmap for our DEI journey. This journey is bold, purposely provocative and in alignment with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) national discourse to move us as an institution towards being an antiracist organization. This executive summary provides a broad overview of the plan and our six strategic goals. We invite you to visit the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for additional details.

We look forward to journeying with you.

Carolyn Cidis Meltzer, MD, FACR

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Academic Advancement, Leadership, and Inclusion

Sheryl L Heron, MD, MPH, FACEP

Associate Dean for Community Engagement, Equity, and Inclusion

executive summary

The Emory School of Medicine is committed to being a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community in which all of our faculty, staff, and learners can thrive.

The School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) was formed to lead the way in actualizing that commitment. The Office of DEI engaged a broad range of stakeholders over nine months of intensive work to produce an ambitious and immediately actionable strategic plan for ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion are consistently understood, practiced, and embraced across the School of Medicine, while nurturing a culture of ongoing awareness, learning, and growing. The five-year plan aligns with those of other Emory constituencies across the university, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and the School of Medicine.

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Strategic Priorities

Awareness, Learning, and Growing

Inclusive Culture and Climate

Community Engagement

Research and Innovation

The strategic plan identifies six goals, each with implementation initiatives ranked by stakeholder teams according to the level of impact the initiative would have, the degree of urgency or time sensitivity to launch, and level of attainability/effort required. Initiatives also are keyed to the four target constituencies: learners, faculty, staff, and the School of Medicine as a whole. Carefully defined metrics for each initiative enable ongoing evaluation of effectiveness and impact. Read on to learn more about each strategic goal and planned activities.

Core values

As one of Emory University’s nine schools, we affirm diversity, equity, inclusion, and equity-mindedness as core values. We are guided by Emory’s Institutional Statement on Diversity, which defines these values as follows:

Diversity: Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).

Equity: The creation of opportunities for historically underserved populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion.

Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the cocurriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.

Equity-Mindedness calls attention to patterns of inequity in outcomes for students, faculty, and staff. Practitioners of equity-mindedness are willing to take personal and institutional responsibility for the success of their students, faculty, and staff, and critically reassess their own practices. It also requires that practitioners are race-conscious and aware of the social and historical context of exclusionary practices in American Higher Education.

The Strategic goals

Promote and sustain a healthy and inclusive climate that provides a sense of authenticity and belonging for all community members to feel valued, supported, and fully engaged through equitable and accessible opportunities.

Design and implement an educational portfolio for learners, staff, and faculty that infuses principles and competencies of equity, cultural humility, antiracism, bias mitigation, and respect for all members of our community.

Intentionally integrate the principles of equity and inclusion in our interactions, spaces, policies, and practices to break down structural and systematic racism, homophobia, transphobia, gender inequities, and other barriers that impact marginalized groups.

Create a clear sense of visibility and engage the Emory community, alumni, Atlanta community, and regional institutional partners to promote equity (health, education, economic, and access to resources).

Commit institutional energy and resources, including infrastructure and programming, in order to create and sustain the long-term cultural and representational change necessary for the success of the SOM journey from excellence to eminence, to expand idea creation, and to stimulate and innovation.

Be intentional and transparent in how we communicate, implement, and measure equity and inclusion initiatives/innovations. Celebrate our accomplishments locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

Learn more about the initiatives envisioned for each strategic goal by clicking on the bars below:

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Goal 1
  1. Deepening engagement with national movements like Time’s UP Healthcare, National Academies Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment, The AAMC Framework for Addressing and Eliminating Racism at the AAMC, in Academic Medicine, and Beyond. Higher Education will demonstrate the School of Medicine’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  2. Investing in new and existing affinity and ally groups will uplift and affirm the importance of underrepresented ethnicities, women, LGBTQIA people, and people with intersectional identities. Existing groups will model the way for new groups to foster a culture of inclusion among and across constituencies.
  3. Leveraging successful programs such as “Interview Day Sessions” and developing new strategies with the Office of Multicultural Affairs for ensuring underrepresented learners experience a genuine sense of belonging, engagement, and achievement.
Goal 2

The Actionable Education Initiative (AEI) invites the entire School of Medicine to Listen Learn and Act: to move from Awareness of internal biases and external forces of marginalization and oppression into Learning about their historical and psychological origins and effects and on to Growing into anti-racist allies who actively work for and prize diversity, equity, and inclusion. The work will occur in four domains:

1. Antiracism

The antiracism curriculum aims to equip faculty, staff, and learners with the knowledge and tools for identifying, challenging, and eliminating policies, practices, systems, and structures that promote or maintain inequities suppressing marginalized people. We’ll examine how society and institutions including Emory were founded and how they have historically created and maintained systemic and institutional inequities. We’ll then provide resources, strategies, and practices so each person can actively promote an antiracist environment of authentic engagement, advocacy, and leadership both within the School of Medicine and beyond.

Becoming an antiracist institution not only benefits the faculty, staff, and learners of Emory School of Medicine, it profoundly benefits the patients we serve, which, in turn benefits the institution itself.

2. Implicit Bias Education

Building on the foundation laid by the School of Medicine’s first two years of then-termed unconscious bias training and leveraging best and emerging practices research, we will offer enhanced Implicit Bias Training (IBT) to move participants from awareness and understanding to action for personal and systems change. New sub-modules let trainers tailor sessions to participants’ professional functions, roles, and/or DEI concerns. 

3. From Bystander to Upstander

Bystander/upstander education is an action-based framework for responding to microaggressions, misconduct, and other behaviors that threaten the inclusive environment in the School of Medicine and the hospitals and clinics where we provide care. Participants will gain a toolbox of real-time responses and self-defense actions when targeted by microaggressions and threatening behavior. As an Upstander institution, we will ensure adequate reporting and responding structures are in place and those in power have the tools to effectively respond to and support victims. 

4. History

History provides the foundation upon which our DEI education pillars stand, offering a living repository to which knowledge of the past will be added as it is garnered and to which the lived experiences of our community are added as they occur. Initiatives will dovetail with the university’s broader commitment to know, tell, and learn about those who have been historically marginalized. We’ll explore our own history of marginalizing groups as well as such history for the Grady Health System, Morehouse School of Medicine, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory Healthcare, and the city of Atlanta.



Goal 3

This work specifically targets the way we recruit, hire, support, recognize, promote and retain talent. The long-term goal is a highly diverse workforce reflective of the communities we serve. We will develop a systematic, inclusive, and equitable recruitment and human resources lifecycle process that includes salary equity. We will redesign methods and tools for evaluating learners, particularly those for clinical rotations, to replace bias with equity. Accountability mechanisms will be put in place to hold leaders accountable for modeling inclusive behaviors and for supporting and driving diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.

Goal 4

Matching Emory University’s commitment to community partnerships, the School of Medicine will develop a coordinated school-wide effort to engage faculty, staff, and learners with the communities we serve through mutually beneficial collaboration. Partnerships will promote economic and social mobility for all citizens, particularly underserved and marginalized communities, with volunteer programs engaging staff as connectors to career opportunities in the School of Medicine. Opportunities for faculty and learners to engage in community-based and community-benefiting participatory action research not only aim to address critical community health issues, they also counter a long history of exploiting vulnerable populations to advance scientific discovery.

Goal 5

Actively and prolifically publishing and presenting the results and lessons learned from our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are essential for driving sustainable change both at Emory and within academic medicine nationally. At the same time, we will redouble our efforts at encouraging underrepresented students to successfully pursue health sciences careers. We will secure a sustainable funding mix for existing pipeline programming like the Summer Science Academy and the Emory Pipeline Collaborative so we can add programming to support such learners through their studies at Emory and beyond.

Goal 6

A comprehensive communications plan that emphasizes positive stories about diversity, equity, and inclusion makes progress real to our constituents. Social media is a natural channel for spotlighting the accomplishments of our diverse staff, faculty, and learners, while DEI-related information and announcements will fit into existing channels of communication such as huddles, the Dean’s Letter, department newsletters, etc. Providing centralized communications guidance and resources to departments will maximize cohesiveness in messaging, especially during times of crisis. Surveying and data collection will follow—and themselves become—best practices so messaging is informed by fact and its impact can be assessed against set goals.

DEI Stakeholders

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View our DEI Stakeholders

Project Team

  1. Carolyn Meltzer (Co-Lead), Faculty, SOM DEI Leader
  2. Sheryl Heron (Co-Lead), Faculty, SOM DEI Leader
  3. Natalie Fields, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – FAALI
  4. Yolanda Hood, Staff, OMA
  5. Rachel Sedlack-Prittie, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office
  6. Jaimie Keough, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office

Steering Committee 

  1. Carolyn Meltzer (Co-Lead), Faculty, SOM DEI Leader
  2. Sheryl Heron (Co-Lead), Faculty, SOM DEI Leader
  3. Jada Bussey-Jones, Faculty, Medicine – Geriatrics
  4. Jenny Sharp, Faculty, Physical Therapy
  5. Michelle Lall, Faculty, Emergency Medicine
  6. Erica Lee, Faculty, Psychiatry – Behavioral Sciences
  7. Mariam Torres, Medical Student (M1)
  8. Yolanda Hood, Staff, OMA
  9. Natalie Fields, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – FAALI
  10. Marilane Bond, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – Education
  11. Dejoron Campbell, SOM DEI Program Manager
  12. Cliff Teague, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – HR
  13. Darryl Barr, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – Analytics
  14. Jen King, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – Communications
  15. Lisa Carlson, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – Research
  16. Alan Anderson, Staff, Government & Community Affairs – University Partnerships
  17. Rachel Sedlack-Prittie, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office
  18. Jaimie Keough, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office

Stakeholder/SME Teams


  1. Yolanda Hood (Lead), Staff, OMA
  2. Bill Eley, Faculty, Medical Education
  3. Marilane Bond, Staff, Medical Education
  4. Ira Schwartz, Faculty, Medical Education
  5. Latoya Rolle, Staff, OMA
  6. Nancy DeSousa, Staff, OMA
  7. Allen Lee, Staff, OMA
  8. Tracey Henry, Faculty, Medicine
  9. Ulemu Luhanga, Faculty, GME
  10. Cecilia Bellcross, Faculty, Genetics
  11. Cathy Quinones-Maeso, Staff, MD/PHD Program
  12. Emma Chrichton, Resident, Surgery
  13. June Eddingfield, Staff, Admissions



  1. Cliff Teague (Co-Lead), Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – HR
  2. Natalie Fields (Co-Lead), Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – FAALI
  3. Ingrid Ervin-Harris, Staff, Anesthesiology
  4. Jewell Carter, Staff, Animal Resources
  5. Sharon Nieb, Staff, Emergency Medicine
  6. Matt Kroll, Staff, Basic Sciences
  7. Tyrese Hinkins-Jones, Staff, Medical Education
  8. Jaclyn Donohue, Staff, SOM Operations
  9. Aparajita Maitra, Staff, Physical Therapy
  10. John Otis Blanding – Staff, Medicine



  1. Carolyn Meltzer (Co-Lead), Faculty, SOM DEI Leader
  2. Sheryl Heron (Co-Lead), Faculty, SOM DEI Leader
  3. Adam Marcus, Faculty, Hematology and Medical Oncology
  4. Sarah Caston, Faculty, Physical Therapy
  5. Michele Sumler, Faculty, Anesthesiology
  6. Jason Schneider, Faculty, Medicine – Geriatrics
  7. Sandra Page, Staff, Research Administration Services
  8. Tari Owi, Staff, Urology
  9. Oswaldo A. Henriquez-Ajami, Faculty, Otolaryngology
  10. Richard Castillo, Faculty, Radiation Oncology
  11. Nitika Gupta, Faculty, Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
  12. David Weinshenker, Faculty, Human Genetics


Diversity Council

  1. Carolyn Meltzer, Faculty (Chair)
  2. Sheryl Heron, Faculty, (Co-Chair)
  3. Michele Sumler, Faculty, Anesthesiology
  4. Matt Kroll, Staff, Basic Sciences
  5. Karmella A. Haynes, Faculty, BME
  6. Loren Krueger, Faculty, Dermatology
  7. Michelle Lall, Faculty, Emergency Medicine
  8. Antonio Graham, Faculty, Family and Preventative Medicine
  9. Kimberly Curseen, Faculty, Medicine
  10. Gina Northington, Faculty, Gynecology and Obstetrics
  11. Melissa Murphy, Faculty, Genetics
  12. Jada Bussey-Jones, Faculty, General Medicine and Geriatrics
  13. Kimberly Manning, Faculty, Medicine
  14. Aaron Anderson, Faculty, Neurology
  15. Valerie Biousse, Faculty, Ophthalmology
  16. Onyi Okwandu Ezeike, Staff, Orthopaedics
  17. Edward Jackson II, Faculty, Orthopaedics
  18. Cindy Derdeyn, Faculty, Faculty Affairs
  19. Michelle Wallace, Faculty, Pediatrics
  20. Eddie Morgan, Faculty, Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
  21. Nadine Kaslow, Faculty, Psychiatry – Behavioral Sciences
  22. Telsie Davis, Faculty, Psychiatry – Behavioral Sciences
  23. Erica Lee, Faculty, Psychiatry – Behavioral Sciences
  24. Jamlik-Omari Johnson, Faculty, Radiology and Imaging Sciences
  25. Doris Armour, Faculty, Rehabilitation Medicine
  26. Allan Pickens, Faculty, Surgery
  27. Cecelia Bellcross, Faculty, Genetics
  28. Alexander Kendall, Faculty, Physician Assistant Program
  29. Katie Monroe, Staff, Anesthesiology Assistant Program
  30. Sarah Caston, Faculty, Physical Therapy
  31. Ted Brzinski, Staff, Medical Imaging Program
  32. Yolanda Hood, Staff, OMA
  33. Allen Lee, Staff, OMA
  34. Nancy DeSousa, Staff, OMA
  35. LaToya Rolle, Staff, OMA
  36. Natalie Fields, Staff, SOM Dean’s Office – FAALI
  37. Nate Spell, Faculty, Education and Professional Development
  38. Kathy Griendling, Faculty, Faculty Affairs and Professional Development
  39. Abeer N Abouyabis, Faculty, HEMOC
  40. Keerthi Gogineni, Faculty, HEMOC
  41. Jolinta Lin, Faculty, Radiation Oncology
  42. Wendy Greene, Faculty, Surgery
  43. Jason Schneider, Faculty, Medicine
  44. Tracey Henry, Faculty, Medicine

Visit our website for additional resources and ways you can become engaged with initiatives and events.