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Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

About the Office

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion works to foster a sense of inclusion and support among all students, faculty, staff, clinicians and administrators in the College of Medicine. To this end, we work with individuals and units across the college to create educational opportunities, enhance administrative functions that affect diversity, and continually assess and work to improve the climate for all people. Our engagement seeks to create meaningful and lasting change by amplifying the voice of several traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations.

Introduction

As an extension of Texas A&M University, the College of Medicine has benefited from the LandGrant College Act of 1862 (The Morrill Act). The Morrill Act granted land–obtained via dispossession of Indigenous Peoples–to states in order to establish colleges and universities that would teach students agriculture and mechanical arts. While the establishment of Texas A&M University, and the subsequent opening of the College of Medicine, has undeniably benefited the people of Texas, it is essential to honor and acknowledge the full history that led to our institution’s establishment.;

Statement

“We acknowledge that Texas A&M University (College Station) is situated on the land of multiple Native nations, past and present. These original homelands are the territory of Indigenous peoples who were largely dispossessed and removed. We specifically acknowledge the traditional stewardship of this land by the Tonkawa, Tawakoni, Hueco, Sana, Wichita, and Coahuiltecan peoples. We pledge to support and advocate for the histories, cultures, languages, and territorial rights of historic Indigenous peoples of Texas and the Indigenous people that live here now. This statement affirms continuous Indigenous presence and rights, acknowledges the ongoing effects of settler colonization, and supports Indigenous struggles for political, legal, and cultural sovereignty.”

Additional Resources

In the News

Megan A. Badejo, president of the Medical Class of 2022, was appointed Community Service Chair of Committees on the National Board of Directors of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). She was formally sworn into the office on Monday, May 4, 2020.

Alejandro Sanchez, member of the Medical Class of 2021, has won a one-month fellowship award offered by the Washington DC-based American Psychiatric Association & American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APA/APAF). This externship award was announced in late April by the selection committee for the Minority Medical Student Externship in Addiction Psychiatry Program.

Sarah Joseph, member of the Medical Class of 2021, was named co-chair of the Minority Issues Committee in the Medical Student Section, a standing committee of the American Medical Association.

Opinion: A Black doctor and scientist on vaccinating minorities

Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, Texas A&M EnMed executive dean and a professor of biomedical engineering, has joined the prestigious honorary society that recognizes individuals advancing the public good.

Dr. Farida Sohrabji, Regents Professor, Shelton Professor of Neuroscience and Interim Department Head of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at TAMU along with the NIH address Incorporating a Sex-and-Gender Lens from Bench to Bedside: Neurology.

Recent Social Media Posts

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Texas A&M College of Medicine (@tamumedicine)

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Texas A&M College of Medicine (@tamumedicine)

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Texas A&M College of Medicine (@tamumedicine)

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Texas A&M College of Medicine (@tamumedicine)

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Texas A&M College of Medicine (@tamumedicine)

About the Program

In 2014, the College of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion received the THECB Minority Health Research and Education Grant for Recruitment and Retention. This grant has funded the Aggie Doctor Initiative (ADI), which works to combat the scholastic and social struggles that students face when undertaking new academic challenges. These struggles come with getting acclimated to a new institution, the rigor of the curriculum, perceived lack of institutional support, unclear expectations of the student, and lack of community among peers. These problems can manifest themselves as anxiety and depression, and lead to academic failure.

For racially underrepresented students (African American and Hispanic/Latino) these effects are often magnified as issues related to being traditionally underrepresented (discrimination, lack of confidence), creating additional barriers to success. To address these issues, the ADI works to create a strong community among students, provide nurturing mentorship, and strengthen the academic abilities of underrepresented students.

This program seeks to reach students at three critical stages in the development of successful pre-med and medical students:

  • The first semester, freshmen year of college
  • Navigating the application/interview process for medical school
  • Succeeding in the first year of medical school

Enhancing the academic and social success of students in these stages builds capacity for increasing the number of underrepresented medical doctors in Texas, ultimately responding to critical demand in the state.

PROGRAM TRACKS

The Aggie Doctor Initiative is broken into three interdependent tracks:

FOCUS Scholars

In FOCUS Scholars, we engage underrepresented, low-income, first-generation college students who are Regent's Scholars at Texas A&M. For those students interested in medicine, the transition to college, coupled with the pre-med curriculum creates an insurmountable barrier that pushes many students from a science career and in some cases even threatens the ability to remain at TAMU.

Our program provides strong mentor support from current medical students, as well as a class that teaches enhanced academic skills and provides access to targeted tutoring and supplemental instruction.

Pre-Med Fellows

In Pre-Med Fellows, we engage underrepresented pre-med sophomore and junior students at Texas A&M, with a higher priority for transfer students from community colleges. Students selected for this program are exposed to medical student mentors and take a class that is structured to prepare students to be competitive medical school applicants by providing access to shadowing, MCAT preparation, application preparation, mock interviews, among other experiences.

Students who successfully complete the program receive automatic admission to the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

MedCamp

MedCamp is a three-week pre-matriculation program that targets an incoming, first-year, underrepresented medical students. MedCamp has a strong mentorship and community-building component whereby medical school faculty and staff, and second, third, and fourth-year medical students are trained as mentors for the MedCamp participants. These participants engage in academic lectures, exams, clinical skills training, and learn strategies for academic success to prepare them for the rigor of the curriculum and the expectations of medical students. Additionally, there are also numerous social activities. Students are provided with room and board for the duration of MedCamp. MedCamp was originally part of the ADI grant but is now funded by the College of Medicine.

Texas A&M College of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

Not long ago, the Texas A&M College of Medicine Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) released a statement addressing the growing racism and outright hateful behaviors toward our Asian (especially Chinese) communities on the unproven narrative that the COVID-19 virus originated from China. The pandemic continues to inflict disproportionately high levels of morbidity and mortality in minority communities of color and particularly so in our Black/African American communities.

As if these pains and injustices were not enough, the ugly and continuing history of extrajudicial killings of Blacks/African Americans has added a tremendous burden on an already deeply sad and devastating situation. Be it Ahmaud Arbery, killed while doing what many of us do—jogging—or Breonna Taylor, killed in the comfort of her own home, or George Floyd (a former student of Texas A&M, Kingsville) killed openly on the streets of Minneapolis, the story is the same: HATE! Hate that perpetrates a culture that targets people of color, deprives them of their rights and denies their humanity.

To all Blacks/African Americans of the Texas A&M College of Medicine community, we want to let you know that the ODI has received calls from students, faculty and staff expressing the pain of these developments and also their concerns about you and the unimaginable pain you must be going through. The College of Medicine leadership, on behalf of all our constituents—students, staff and faculty—expresses our deepest sorrow in these dark hours. We want you to know that we see you, we stand by you, and the College of Medicine and the Aggie community will always be there for you.

A task force of the ODI is currently developing other measures to reach out to you. These include our weekly Check-In Meetings and the development of an appropriate curriculum. At the TAMU level, policy changes that will affect how we do things are currently being developed.

Additional Information:

The Office of the President has already sent out a condolence message to the family of George Floyd, who was a student at Texas A&M in Kingsville.

Helpful coping resources can be found in these links, the last of which was packaged by a group of concerned Texas A&M College of Medicine students:

Statement against Anti-Asian Sentiments

03/17/2021

About this time last year, our world woke up to the gruesome reality of the early beginnings of a global COVID-19 pandemic. With a globalized world, it soon spread to all corners of the planet thus calling for a concerted global intervention for the good of all of humanity. As the US started to address the social ramifications of the pandemic, what could have been an opportune moment to support the communities especially in need turned into a divisive and racist denigration of Asians and Asian Americans as the ostensible source of the pandemic. This despicable behavior has escalated more recently prompting President Joe Biden to address the issue just this past week, and details are still emerging of the murder of innocent Asians in Atlanta only last night.

At a time like this when we all are struggling with the stress of COVID, it is unfortunate to think that some of our fellow citizens are adding to the pain that others bear. Such behaviors are not consistent with our Aggie core value of RESPECT for our fellow human beings. As a COMmunity, we are called to do no harm, and that should also be applied when combatting the Anti-Asian racism and xenophobia that has emerged within the past year. May I, therefore, call on all of us in the COMmunity to seize this opportunity to live out our Aggie core value of LEADERSHIP by standing up for our Asian-American colleagues, upholding what is right at all times so that by our deeds they may know we are Aggies. And to our Asian-American colleagues, we want you to know that the COM leadership is always there for you. Our faculty, staff, and students are there to support you always as we all together navigate through these trying times. Remember that the regular COVID-19 Check-In meetings is a “You Said, We Did” platform where you can express your wishes/concerns including sharing any experiences and/or making requests/ suggestions that can help improve the learning environment. Dean Dr. Amy Waer continues to strongly encourage you and all our students to use this or any other platform you feel comfortable with to make your voices heard. We rely on your voices for our progress.

The following are some online resources that you may find useful:

  1. A comprehensive resource explaining Anti-Asian racism and the events that have transpired: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DKLjh26g5vkuCVDnLeS5X4ElgT7Q1uT8ihlqQefP-no/mobilebasic
  2. A list of AAPI therapists (with contact information) separated by state organized by the Asian American Mental Health Collective: https://www.asianmhc.org/apisaa#texas

Regards,
Francis I Achike, MD, PhD, MEd, FCP
Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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