A group of med students wearing their white coats smiles in a group. They are volunteering at the annual Chandler Park Health Fair and Taste Test.

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion 

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine is committed to building an environment where all students, faculty, staff, and invited visitors from varying backgrounds and life experiences, feel a sense of belonging, are engaged, and are valued and respected for their voices and contributions.

These differences include, but are not limited to, internal dimensions such as personality, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture, health, ability, learning, thinking and communication style; external dimensions such as geographical location, marital and family status, economic background, access to resources, educational background, work experience, religious, philosophical, and spiritual beliefs, and political views. We acknowledge that categories of differences are not always fixed but also can be fluid. We respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one identity is intrinsically superior to another.

Inclusion means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. The concept of inclusion encompasses acceptance and respect. Inclusion is a set of conscious actions that involve knowing how or learning to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own. It is through inclusion that our learning environment is enriched by the varied perspectives and experiences that each unique member brings to the community and through which we positively affect the healthcare of our world.

Contact Us

Office phone: (248) 370-2076

Tiffany Williams, Ph.D., Director
(She/Her/Hers)
elliottf@oakland.edu

Jean Brown, Office Assistant
(She/Her/Hers)
tbrown4@oakland.edu

Angie Freeman, M.S., D&I Coordinator
(They/Them/Theirs)
freeman6@oakland.edu

Anti-Racism and Diversity Resources

Below is a collection of links, recommended readings, and other resources to get general information and learn about anti-racism, anti-oppression, and injustice and privilege. 

Articles
Bailey ZD, Krieger N, Agénor M,Graves J, Linos N, Bassett MT.
Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions.
Lancet 2017; 389: 1453–63

Bonilla-Silva E.
Rethinking racism: toward a structural interpretation.
Am Sociol Rev 1996; 62: 465–80
 
Boyd RW.
The case for desegregation.
Lancet 2019; 393: 2484-5.5.
 
D’amico D, Pawlewicz RJ, Earley PM, McGeehan AP.
Where are all the black teachers? Discrimination in the teacher labor market.
Harvard Educat Rev 2017; 87: 26–49

Hardeman RR, Medina EM, Kozhiman-nil KB.
Structural racism and supporting black lives — the role of health professionals.
N Engl J Med 2016; 375: 2113-5

Tamorah Lewis, MD, PhD
Racism and Health I: pathways and scientific evidence.
Am Behav Sci 2013; 57: 1152–73
Books
Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

James Baldwin
The Fire Next Time

Edward Baptist
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Makings of American Capitalism

Robin J. DiAngelo
White Fragility:  Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race

Randall Kenan
The Fire This Time

Ibram X. Kendi
How To Be An Antiracist
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racism in America

Ijeoma Olou
So You Want To Talk About Race

Dorothy Roberts
How Science, Politics, and Big Business Recreate Race in the Twenty-First Century

Eli Saslow
Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

Annaliese A. Singh
The Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism & Engage in Collective Healing

Harriet A. Washington
Medical Apartheid

Alex Zamalin
Antiracism: An Introduction
Films and TV Series to Watch
  • 13th (Netflix)
  • American Son (Netflix)
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 (Rental)
  • Blindspotting (Hulu with Cinemax; Rental)
  • Clemency (Rental)
  • Dear White People (Netflix)
  • Fruitvale Station (Rental)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (Netflix)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
  • Just Mercy (Amazon Prime, Apple TV)
  • King In The Wilderness (HBO)
  • See You Yesterday (Netflix)
  • Selma (Rental)
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Rental)
  • The Hate U Give (Hulu with Cinemax)
  • Trial 4 (Remy Burkel) (Netflix)
  • When They See Us (Netflix)
Organizations to Follow on Social Media

Pathway Programs

Online Enrichment Programs
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has created an Online Enrichment Programs platform that occurs twice a year (Spring and Summer). This program was designed to virtually expose high school students to careers in medicine, prepare them for high-level scientific engagement, and give them a greater understanding of the social determinants of health and health inequality that impact all individuals from various backgrounds. Our five-day online programs are taught by OUWB Foundational Medical Studies faculty members. 

Online Summer Enrichment Program will be offered July 11 - July 15, 2022. To register please click  here.
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Future Physicians Summer Enrichment Program
An OUWB student helps a high school student with a blood pressure device.Please check the Online Enrichment Program for our summer camp information. 
Beaumont Future Medical Scholars

BFMS students play with a model of the human head/torso.Beaumont Future Medical Scholars (BFMS) program is a collaboration between OUWB and Cranbrook Horizons Upward Bound. The program includes a summer in-residence experience on the Cranbrook campus and an academic year Saturday experience, with rigorous academic attention in English, mathematics, science and ACT preparation.

Summer Research Opportunity Program

A Beaumont faculty member assists a high school student in the lab.The Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP), co-sponsored by the Beaumont Research Institute, is an advanced, six-week, research-intensive program that teaches students about the mechanics of medical research. An important and beneficial component is when participants work side-by-side in laboratories with Beaumont research mentors assisting them with their current medical research.

Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program Medical Explorers

DAPCEP kids work together during one of their lab sessions.The Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) Medical Explorers camp introduces middle school students to science investigations that reveal the way the environment affects human health and genetic makeup. This program fosters awareness of the multiple pathways that might lead to a career in medicine and health care.

OUWB Student Events and Activities

The following are a few of the many Diversity & Inclusion events.

To organize our activities, we use OUWB MedSync: an interactive, online tool powered by OrgSync.com that fosters communication, cooperation, and creativity between students organizations and their members.

Diversity Lecture Series
The Diversity Lecture Series is designed to highlight health equity in medicine and health care, as well as critical challenges of diversity and the way we practice in our community. 
Lectures are consistent with OUWB Diversity & Inclusion's mission - to facilitate and promote OUWB's diverse and inclusive medical learning community through pipeline programs, student support and interest groups, educational programs, and community outreach events.
Dinner with a Doctor

Students attend a dinner with a doctor event. They're sitting at a table together.Dinner with a Doctor was created as a way to connect Beaumont physicians with our medical and pre-medical students through storytelling. The narrative-driven event allows medical and pre-medical students to ask participating speakers about their own journey to becoming a physician.

Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Drive

A few tables set up offering information about the Organ Donor driveBone Marrow and Organ Donation Drive occurs every October in conjunction with Gift of Life, the Medical Library, Student National Medical Association and the Minority Association of Premedical Students. The event addresses the dire need for more individuals to register as bone marrow and organ donors.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Fair and Taste Fest

An OUWB student takes someone's blood pressure at the annual Health Fair and Taste TestThis event will take place on January 21, 2022 via Zoom.

Health Equity Symposium

Health Equity Symposium is an annual program co-sponsored by the Oakland University School of Nursing and Beaumont Health System in honor of National Minority Health Month, which is supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It is observed every year in April to highlight the health disparities that persist among racial and ethnic minority populations and the ways in which legislation, policies and programs can help advance health equity.

Meet the Team

Diversity & Inclusion Team

Deirdre Pitts, Ph.D., SCP-IPMA (She/Her/Hers)
Associate Dean for Academic, Faculty Affairs and Diversity & Inclusion
Assistant Professor of Foundational Medical Studies

Deirdre PittsDeirdre G. Pitts, Ph.D., is the Associate Dean for Academic, Faculty Affairs and Diversity & Inclusion. She is also an Assistant Professor of Foundational Medical Studies. Her professional background includes more than 30 years of human resources and labor relations experience in the areas of retail management, health care administration, municipal government and higher education. Dr. Pitts joined Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in 2011 as the founding Director of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development.

Dr. Pitts provides leadership in the expanding areas of Faculty and Academic Affairs and supports the school's efforts to incorporate best practices in faculty governance, recruitment, search committee training, faculty orientation, mentorship programs, faculty outcomes research and evaluation. She plays a major role in the implementation of several goals and recommendations contained in the school's strategic plan and provides support to more than 1,400 faculty members.

Dr. Pitts earned a B.S.B.A. from Central Michigan University, a Masters in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University and her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Oakland University.

Vonda K. Douglas-Nikitin, M.D. (She/Her/Hers)
Assistant Dean, Diversity & Inclusion
Associate Professor, Pathology

Vonda Douglas-NikitinVonda K. Douglas-Nikitin, M.D., is an assistant dean for Diversity and Inclusion and associate professor of Pathology. Dr. Douglas-Nikitin has served as the medical director of the Flow Cytometry Laboratory since she joined Beaumont Hospital in 2004. She is also the Program Director for the Hematopathology Fellowship and co-chair of the Beaumont Graduate Medical Education Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council.  Dr. Douglas-Nikitin served as the founding Assistant Dean for D & I at the inception of the OUWB from 2010-2015, and she accepted a reappointment as Assistant Dean for D & I in July 2021 with the goal of further developing diversity, equity and inclusion resources and support for medical students, resident and fellows on the Beaumont campuses. 

Dr. Douglas-Nikitin received her undergraduate training at Johns Hopkins University and Andrews University. She received her M.D. degree from the University of Michigan, where she also completed a residency Anatomic and Clinical Pathology.  She is subspecialized in hematopathologist having completed her fellowship training at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University. 

Prior to her positions at OUWBSOM and Beaumont Hospital, Dr. Douglas-Nikitin was at the University of Florida where she served as Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Tracey Taylor, Ph.D. (She/Her/Hers)
Assistant Dean, Diversity & Inclusion
Associate Professor of Microbiology

Taylor, Tracey, 2019Dr. Taylor joined Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in August 2014 as Associate Professor of Microbiology. She teaches microbiology and infectious diseases to M1 and M2 students. Dr. Taylor served as Vice Chair of the OUWB Department of Foundational Medical Studies from January 2018 until August 2019. She has served as an Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion since August 2019. 

Prior to joining OUWB, Dr. Taylor was an Assistant, and then Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Microbiology at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, where she taught microbiology to M1 and M2 osteopathic medical students.

Dr. Taylor received a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology from the University of Calgary, Alberta, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Western Ontario, London.

In 2014, the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners appointed her to its National Faculty in the Foundational Biomedical Sciences in the Division of Microbiology and Immunology. She served as vice president for the American Society for Microbiology, Missouri branch, and is a member of the International Association of Medical Science Educators and the National American Society for Microbiology.

Dr. Taylor’s main research areas are medical education research, and microbiology and pathogenesis. She is specifically interested in the use of online learning modules for microbiology laboratory teaching, medical student peer assessment, investigation of the quality of life of Polio survivors; how the aquatic bacteria Plesiomonas shigelloides cause diarrhea and other infections in humans, and infections (including the antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or (MRSA) among populations that are experiencing homelessness.

Tiffany Williams, Ed.M., Ph.D. (She/Her/Hers)
Director, Diversity & Inclusion

An image of Tiffany Williams.

Tiffany Williams, Ph.D., is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion. Currently, she oversees the diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and initiatives for the entire OUWB community. In addition, her role manages the outreach programs that include pipeline programs and community outreach initiatives.

Dr. Williams came to the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine after serving for seven years as Assistant Director for Pre-College Programs at Oakland University where she worked to inspire both pre-college aged and college-level students to continuously pursue post-secondary opportunities and graduate programs. She has more than 10 years of experience in administrative management roles related to student programming and student affairs with a focus on improving preparation, access, success and retention for diverse student populations. Her research interests include college readiness, social justice and equity issues, retention and student sense of belonging among underrepresented student populations. 

Dr. Williams earned her Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University, a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Administration from the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and her post-Master's Graduate Certification in Higher Education and Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Oakland University.

Angie Freeman, M.S. (They/Them/Theirs)
Coordinator, Diversity & Inclusion

Angie FreemanAngie currently serves as the Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. They are a proud alum of OU where they earned a Bachelor's of Science in Marketing. Angie continued their education by earning a Master's of Science in College Student Affairs from Nova Southeastern University. 

Prior to returning to OU, Angie served as a Senior Transition Advisor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas as well as Success Coach & Retention Specialist at Nevada State College. With Angie's experience as an adjunct instructor for the Black Male Movement, a presenter at various diversity conferences and being certified in Safe Zone 101, they are excited to serve the OUWB community with endless diversity and inclusion opportunities. Angie continues on a mission to share their experience and knowledge around social justice, privilege, and inclusion to the greater student, faculty, and staff community within higher education. 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC) is a working group that serves as a mechanism to address concerns regarding diversity, equity and inclusion for the entire OUWB community. The council was established to ensure a cross section of representatives and consists of more than 25 members from the student, faculty, and staff populations.

The group looks for ways to facilitate opportunities for successes of underrepresented populations, to identify strategies to enhance the OUWB environment with respect to inclusiveness with medical students, faculty and staff, advises administration on current issues and actions pertaining to DEI, and provides a collective, coherent voice and serves as a resource for all stakeholders on issues related to diversity.

All members of the OUWB community are invited to attend the monthly meetings, third Thursday, 12 – 1 p.m.

Current DEIC Members
Students: Kimberly Anyadike, Kerrin Bersani, James Blumline, Varneet Brar, Melanie Ermler, Rachel Harvey, Anisah Hashmi, Mahmoud (Moe) Hijazi, Charlene Hsia, Eric James, Rachel Kalthoff, Min Young Kim, Nathan Lwo, Kevin Pullukat, Kevin Roby, Abiba Salahou, Sukhmani Singh, Asia Susko, Kevin Van, Monique Waltman, and Katie Wheeler. 
Faculty: Abram Brummett, Claudio Cortes, Vonda Douglas-Nikitin, Suzan ElSayed, Douglas Gould, Sheala Jafry, Riya Kalra, Trini Mathew, Changiz Mohiyeddini, Akshata Naik, Arthur Rosner, Manveen Saluja, Payal Shah, Lori Stec, Varna Taranikanti, Tracey Taylor, Rennard Tucker, Sherry Viola, and Jason Wasserman.
Staff: Jean Brown, Berkley Browne, Patricia Cole, Angie Freeman, Trixy Hall, Julie Jagmin, Maurice Kavanagh, Deirdre Pitts, Robin Rivest, Janail Silver, Ann Voorheis-Sargent, Katie Weyand, and Tiffany Williams

Learn more about the council

Diversity Champions

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC) kicked off the Diversity Champions program in early 2021, with a second cohort graduating from the program in February 2022. The second cohort of champions are: Jean Brown (staff), Angie Freeman (staff), Trixy Hall (staff), Rachel Harvey (student), Sarah Lerchenfeldt (faculty), Brianne Lewis (faculty), ThanhThu Nguyen (student), Rebecca Pratt (faculty), Rafey Rehman (student), Christina Riley (staff), Kara Sawarynski (faculty), Erin Shirey (staff), Urvashi Singh (student), Varna Taranikanti (faculty), and Tiffany Williams (staff).

The inaugural cohort (found below) consists of nearly 30 graduates representing various aspects of the OUWB community. More information about the program can be found by clicking here.

NameRole
Kimberly AnyadikeM2
Kerrin BersaniM2
Vaneet BrarM3
Berkley Browne, Ph.D.Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Abram Brummett, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies
Heidi DonnellyStaff
Suzan ElSayed, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies
Douglas Gould, Ph.D.Professor of Neuroscience and Chair, Department of Foundational Medical Studies
Mahmoud (Moe) HijaziM2
Charlene HsiaM2
Rachel KalthoffM3
Riya Kalra, M.D.Instructor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Trini Mathew, M.D., MPHProfessor, Department of Internal Medicine
Sandra OskaM4
Mallory PetersM4
Robin Rivest, M.Ed., MBADirector of Curriculum Data Management
Kevin RobyM3
Arthur Rosner, M.D.Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Manveen Saluja, M.D.Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Manraj SekhonM4
Sukhmani SinghM2
Julie StrongStaff
Tracey Taylor, Ph.D.Assistant Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, Associate Professor of Microbiology
Ann Voorheis-Sargent, Ph.D.Director, Center for Excellence in Medical Education (CEME)
Monique WaltmanM3
Katie WeyandStaff
Katie WheelerM2