Diversity & Inclusion MattersApril 23, 2018

Spring 2018

Vice Dean's Message

Alternative Spring Break Recap

2018 Conferences Recap

Research Spotlight

Honors, Awards and Media

Student Groups Pass the Baton

Inaugural Sustained Dialogue Wrap-Up

Pathway to Medicine: June McKoy, MD, '01 GME, MPH, JD, MBA

Pathway to Feinberg: Gabriel Heiber, '14 MD

Recent Happenings

Upcoming Events

From the Vice Dean, Diversity and Inclusion

Northwestern sent nearly 40 representatives to the Student National Medical Association’s Annual Medical Education Conference, a cornerstone gathering for current and future medical students from minority populations traditionally underrepresented in medicine.  

This is an especially vibrant time of the year for the Feinberg community: We are emerging (we hope!) from a long, cold and dreary winter. We are anticipating the commencement of those completing training experiences, and we are optimistic about those who will initiate their journey toward careers in health and bioscience. We are especially aware that after several years of concerted attention, we can feel a different pulse in the Feinberg community. Issues of diversity and inclusion are less challenging, conversations about diversity are easier and all members of the Feinberg community are finding and celebrating safe spaces. Culture change such as we have targeted will always be a work in progress. However, we have the opportunity to become an exemplar institution that is emerging as a bona fide national leader among academic medical centers while also adopting a proactive position to embrace diversity and inclusion and effect real change.

The contents of this newsletter are an endorsement of the remarkable progress that we have made together. The Feinberg community is clearly vested in the diversity and inclusion space. Much of this progress is a testament to the unwavering efforts of our director, Teresa Mastin, PhD, so it is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to her as she moves on to a new opportunity. Please join me in a heartfelt “thank you” to Dr. Mastin for an extraordinary job. Without her acumen, passion and indefatigable efforts, we would not have come so far so soon. We are now well enabled for the next version of our diversity and inclusion efforts because of Dr. Mastin.

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Alternative Spring Break Recap

Feinberg welcomed 15 undergraduate students on their spring break for the inaugural NU DOCS, a pipeline program designed to mentor future medical students from underrepresented groups. The program, organized as an alternative spring break learning activity, provided students with a full week of premedical advising, skill-building workshops, clinical experiences and discussions with faculty members. In the future, the program will also offer ongoing mentorship, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) preparation stipends and medical school interview training.

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2018 Conference Recap

Over the last three months, Feinberg faculty, staff, students and residents attended three conferences across the United States to recruit students from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine. This included conferences organized by the Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance, the Student National Medical Association and the Latino Medical Student Association.

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Research Spotlight

Diabetes and Obesity
Diversity and Inclusion Council member and 2018 Faculty Mentor of the Year winner Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, and her colleagues’ research provides insight regarding the relationship between diabetes and obesity. The work was featured in The New York Times. First author Michael Bancks, PhD, explains the importance of their research here.

Precision Medicine
Feinberg is one of four regional institutions that make up the Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium. The consortium was awarded a $51 million grant to help launch a landmark longitudinal research program known as All of Us, which emerged from President Obama’s 2015 Precision Medicine Initiative. Feinberg is in the process of recruiting 125,000 participants, a portion of the one million individuals being recruited for the study nationwide. In a NEJM Catalyst article, “Precision Medicine for Everyone,” Consuelo Wilkins, MD, an investigator in the All of Us consortium, addresses the importance of diversity and inclusion in moving precision medicine forward.

Honors, Awards and Media

Diversity and Inclusion Council member June McKoy, MD, ’01 GME, MPH, JD, MBA, was named to the editorial board of the Journal of Geriatric Oncology. She was also named a scholar in the Health Equity Leadership Institute’s (HELI) Class of 2018. HELI is housed in the Collaborative Center for Health Equity at the University of Wisconsin's NIH-funded Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. McKoy has also joined the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) board of directors. NCOPE is responsible for setting education standards of all professionals in the field of orthotics/prosthetics. Read McKoy’s “Pathway to Medicine” piece below.

Inger Burnett-Zeigler, PhD, published an opinion piece in The New York Times entitled “The Strong and Stressed Black Woman.” She writes, “We are proud of our tenaciousness and never let the world see us crack. But we are suffering silently with the mental and physical health consequences of carrying the burden of family, work and community responsibilities, compounded by personal experiences of trauma and loss, all in an environment of pervasive racial and gender discrimination.” Read the whole piece here.

Student Groups Pass The Baton

Earlier this year rising M3 student affinity group leaders passed their leadership batons to rising M2 students. Here are the incoming group representatives.

Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association

Left to right: Rebecca Xu, vice president; Stephanie Hong, president; Rachel Dong, social chair; Edward Nguyen, secretary; Rachel Suen, treasurer


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Latino Medical Student Association

Left to right: Felisha Gonzalez, community and advocacy chair; Jonathan Alhalel, co-president and treasurer; Nicolas Francone, co-president; Evan Panken, resident and faculty chair; Denise Monti, social and communications chair

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Student National Medical Association

Top, left to right: Raheem Bell, vice president; Omar Bushara, co-president; Chi Mupanomunda, treasurer. Bottom, left to right: Meron Zeru, co-president; Maya Jackson-Gibson, secretary; Kassandra Samuel, MAPS Liaison

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Queers & Allies Student Group

Ana Sofia Morena-Mesa, president, and Jordan Coleman, secretary

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Inaugural Sustained Dialogue Wrap-Up

Last month, five Feinberg student groups wrapped up the pilot sustained dialogue program. The groups are now planning how they will implement the ideas that emerged from their dialogues. Two groups allowed their topic to emerge from their monthly discussions, while the others focused on racial climate/privilege, religion and mental health. There is a tentative plan for the groups to share their ideas with the Feinberg community.

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The road to medicine is paved with stories of survival and serendipity, with each physician leaving behind a legacy of gratitude. I am no different. You are no different. The stories might change, but the outcomes are constant. 

I flirted with teaching, anthropology, sleuthing and writing before settling on medicine in primary school. In my reflections, I often feel that I did not choose medicine; rather, medicine chose me.

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During a visit from my parents my senior year of college, the atmosphere suddenly got a little sour. Parents being parents and me being a little stubborn, we could not come to an agreement about something. There had been a letter from the Office of Diversity at Northwestern encouraging me to apply to their medical school. My parents were very excited about this idea. I was very skeptical of the odds. Long story short, my parents basically refused to leave the dorm until I promised to submit an application. I guess my stubbornness has a genetic component, but good thing my parents were persistent.

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Faculty-Student Networking

College Mentor Elizabeth Morency, MD (far right), poses with a group of students during the networking event  

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently hosted a networking event for about 125 faculty, students and staff. Clyde Yancy, MD, vice dean for Diversity and Inclusion encouraged the students to have a conversation with at least one faculty member they had not previously met. The assignment led to continuous and robust conversation throughout the evening.

Match Day


Congratulations to our fourth-year medical students! Read about the Match Day festivities and watch a video here.

Sangria Social and Beer Summit

URM students and faculty took time from their busy schedules to touch base and share a meal. The bi-annual meetings, Sangria Social for the women and Beer Summit for the men have become favorite gatherings (photographed).


ODI Student Ambassadors Appreciation Day
May 7 | 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Office of Diversity and Inclusion 
303 E. Chicago Ave. 
Morton Building, Room 1-658

ISGMH's Current Issues in LGBTQ Health Lecture Series
May 16 | Noon to 1:30 p.m.
625 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 1400
Stonewall Conference Room
Dr. E. Patrick Johnson presents “The Beekeeper: Performing Black Southern Women Who Love Women”

Have an idea for the newsletter or a comment on this issue? Would you like your research to be featured? Are you an alumnus who would like to share your experience?

Contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at diversitymed@northwestern.edu.