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News and Events

Department of Medicine Hosts Second Successful Research in DEI Symposium

October 10, 2023

The Second Annual DOM Research in DEI & Healthcare Equity Symposium was held on September 29 and was a huge success! The event was hosted by Chunkit Fung, MD, associate chair for DEI, and Laura Stamm, PhD, director of DEI for the DOM. They welcomed over 150 attendees, who reflected a diverse array of roles: nurses, staff, APPs, social workers, chaplains, trainees, physicians, and community members.

This year’s theme was workplace climate and culture, which was present throughout the keynote, a panel session, and many of the posters. Other projects presented included research in health disparities, anti-racist clinical care, social determinants of health, community engagement, and workforce diversity.

The day kicked off with a keynote from Monica Vela, MD, FACP, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine, titled "Bias in Medicine: How Did We Get Here and Where Do We Go Now?" She addressed the impact of structural racism on bias and culture in medicine. You can view the event agenda here to learn about the panels and speakers. Speakers included several members of the DOM, as well as people from the School of Nursing, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Psychology, Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, a resident in General Surgery, and two students from the Health Humanities & Bioethics Pathway Program.

A special Lunch and Lecture offered "We Are What We Listen To, the Impact of Music on Individual and Social Health," by Patricia Caicedo, an artist-scholar who is the founder and director of the Barcelona Festival of Song. A Community Organization Panel invited speakers from local groups: Recovery Houses of Rochester, Willow Domestic Violence Center, Hillside Adult Health Homes, and EE Pathways.

You can view tweets from the event by following #ResearchInDEI23

Award Winners

Best Oral Presentation: Suzannah Iadarola, PhD
"Unequal Access to Professional Supporters: The Importance of Peer Navigators to Support Historically Marginalized and Minoritized Families Build Connections and Empowerment with Service Professionals" – View the best oral presentation slides

Best Project in Climate and Culture: Lavern Sleugh-Sharpe, MS, RN
"The Value of Mentor Training in Preparation of Black Nurses as Healthcare Leaders" – View the best project in climate and culture slides

Best Poster: Brooke Levandowski, PhD, MPA
"Why won't anyone talk? Assessing disinterest in focus group discussions about naming and addressing tokenism in the workplace" – View the best poster

Stamm Receives Grant for Humanities Project: COVID-19 in Rochester’s Black Communities

April 26, 2023

Laura Stamm, PhD, is the director of DEI for the department of Medicine. She recently earned a $10,000 grant from the Humanities Project for an oral histories project she is leading, titled “Making Public History: Oral Histories of COVID-19 and Rochester’s Black Communities.”

This project will provide a collection of audio clips that captures the impact of COVID-19 on Rochester’s Black communities. Using community-based participatory research methods (CBPR), Stamm will listen to, record, and preserve the experiences of those made most vulnerable by the pandemic. Charles White from Neurology is the project Community Co-Lead, and Christine Zizzi, MPA, from the Center for Health & Technology is the Project Manager.

It is a widely accepted fact that COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black communities, but there is little research available on how COVID-19 and the impact of the disproportional burden differently affects Black communities.Moreover, most research on COVID-19 in marginalized communities is told from the perspective of scientific researchers, rather than by individuals who experience the everyday impact of the pandemic.

Scholarship on vaccine hesitancy in the Black community, for example, typically cites survey data and theorizes about why Black people might not trust medical institutions without hearing directly from Black community members about why their experiences and understandings of history cause them to distrust medicine.

The proposed project will provide a collection of stories about COVID-19 directly from voices of Rochester’s Black communities that centers their experiences and provides a new narrative of life and health during a global pandemic. Preserving these Black oral histories in an archival collection and digitized open access website affirms their historical importance and assures their existence for future generations.

When completed, the website will be part of the Black History and Culture Special Collection in the University’s Rush Rhees Library.

New Diversity Leadership Announced

January 17, 2023

Chunkit Fung, MD, has been named associate chair for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) for the department of Medicine. He was previously involved as co-director of DEI for the division of Hematology & Oncology, where he worked with division faculty and leadership to develop a three-year strategic plan of DEI initiatives. 

He takes over the role from Marie Laryea, B.Sc., M.D.C.M. In her two years as associate chair, she and director of DEI Laura Stamm, PhD, developed the Take Action, Stand Up Toolkit, and coordinated the inaugural DOM DEI & Health Care Equity Symposium. Stamm says “I am excited for this next chapter of DEI in the department. Chunkit and I are very aligned in our vision of building collaboration and connection across the department and URMC. I look forward to creating infrastructure that allows us to capitalize on the diverse strengths and perspectives of the department's faculty, staff, and APP members.”

Fung is an associate professor at the medical school, and serves as a faculty advisor for two affinity medical student organizations, SPECTRUM (LGBTQ+ medical student organization) and the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. Here at URMC, he was a member of the LGBTQ+ faculty advisory committee, co-chair of the UR Faculty Senate, and a member of the Mentoring and Equity in Compensation and Support Working Group for the Commission on Women and Gender Equity in Academia of the UR. 

At the national level, Fung serves as a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Sexual and Gender Minorities Task Force and recently published a progress report on ASCO’s efforts in advancing health equity for LGBTQ+ people with cancer in ASCO Connection. He has volunteered for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ+ equality, with more than 3 million members nationwide, and became an HRC Board Governor in 2021. He has served as tri-chair for the HRC Western and Central NY Annual Dinner. HRC recognized his efforts with the HRC Leadership Award for Rising Star Gala Leaders in 2020. 

“I am truly honored to serve in my new role,” said Fung. “I want to thank Dr. Marie Laryea for her vision and efforts in building a strong foundation for us to continue this important work. I am excited to collaborate with Laura Stamm, Audrey Clements, our Community Outreach and Engagement Liaison, department leadership, and all stakeholders in our community to implement the URMC Equity and Anti-Racism Plan for our department. Over the next few months, we will be reaching out to stakeholders in the department and our community to learn about your vision for what we can do together in the DEI space. We will also host weekly walk-in office hours at the department of Medicine DEI office in the hope to meet you and hear your stories. As Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked in the Oberlin College commencement speech in 1965 ‘The time is always right to do what is right.’  We look forward to working with all of you to do what is right.”

Expressing Health Equity Through Art

December 14, 2022

Local K-12 students showed our Office of Health Equity Research what health equity – or the lack of it—looks like to them in a recent art contest. Contest entrants and winners were honored at a ceremony on December 14. Members of the DOM served as judges for the art entries, helped coordinate families' attendance at the awards ceremony, and participated in the ceremony set up.

Read more about the Health Equity Through Art Contest.

Department of Medicine Hosts Successful DEI & Healthcare Equity Symposium

June 9, 2022

The inaugural department of Medicine DEI & Healthcare Equity Symposium was hosted by Marie Laryea, B.Sc., M.D.C.M. and Laura Stamm, Ph.D., on May 24, 2022. The symposium had over 170 attendees, from medical students to faculty belonging to different departments across URMC, including Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Public Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Surgery, and Medical Humanities. The diversity of participants attests to the widespread growing interest in DEI and healthcare equity research across the institution.

This year’s symposium featured a special spotlight on LGBTQ+ healthcare with a panel, posters, and keynote devoted to the topic. The inclusive care panel (Deanne Fuller, M.S., R.N., TramAnh Phan, M.D.Susan Miller, B.A.Davy Ran, M.Sc., M.P.H., and Catherine Cerulli, J.D., Ph.D.) took an intersectional perspective on LGBTQ+ health with a range of approaches to sex, gender, race, and disability. Hil Malatino, Ph.D., from Penn State University, delivered a keynote on trans care titled “Trans Care Within and Beyond the Healthcare Industry.” Lastly, Allison Ogawa, MS4 won the prize for Best LGBTQ+ Project with their poster titled “Pandemic Narratives of LGBTQ+ Older Adults: Community, Resilience and Grief” (see below).

The symposium also included research on healthcare equity in the Rochester community with a panel, workshop, and posters demonstrating the excellent work being done to better serve everyone in Rochester. The Healthcare Equity in Rochester panel (Wilhelmina Sizer, D.N.P., R.N., Diane Morse, M.D.Mahala Schlagman, M.D., Andrea Gero, M.D., Allison Ogawa, MS4, and Jessica Meyer, M.D.) featured novel care approaches to working with underserved community members. This panel included the prize winners for Best Oral Presentation, Al Ogawa and Jessica Meyer, with their presentation titled “Addressing the Use of Law Enforcement Restraints on Incarcerated Pregnant Individuals” (see below). The workshop on getting started with community engaged research workshopped an initiative to increase home dialysis utilization (Eliot Sachsenmeier, MS4, Veronica Yu, MS4, Sai Reddy, M.D.TramAnh Phan, M.D., and Catherine Moore, M.D.) with a panel of experts (Liz Miller, M.D., Candice Lucas, Ed.D., M.B.A., and Nancy Bennett, M.D., M.S.). Liz Miller, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, gave the keynote “Centering Community Voices to Promote Thriving and Health Equity” that provided inspiration for furthering URMC’s engagement with the Rochester community. Finally, Jessica Oribabor, M.D., M.S., won the prize for Best Poster for her project titled “Ramadan Dietary Order Quality Improvement Initiative” (see below).

The symposium highlighted research on DEI in medical education with a roundtable discussion and posters. The DEI in medical education roundtable (Melissa Mroz, M.D.Emily Salib, M.D.Erica Miller, M.D.Alec O’Connor, M.D., M.P.H., and Nikesha Gilmore, Ph.D.) allowed researchers to showcase their individual projects before engaging in a discussion about the future of DEI in medical education.

Award Winners

Best Oral Presentation

Allison Ogawa, MS4 and Jessica Meyer, M.D.

“Addressing the Use of Law Enforcement Restraints on Incarcerated Pregnant Individuals”

“SMH Policy 9.10: Once a patient who is incarcerated or in custody is in labor, is admitted to the hospital for delivery including termination of pregnancy and pregnancy loss, regardless of gestational age, or is recovering after these events, no law enforcement restraints (such as handcuffs or shackles) shall be used. Now law enforcement officers shall be present in the delivery room during birth, unless requested by the medical team or by the patient themselves.”

View the poster

Best Poster

Jessica Oribabor, M.D., M.S.

“Ramadan Dietary Order Quality Improvement Initiative”

“With this new meal ordering system in place, URMC now has the ability to offer culturally sensitive dietary options to Muslim patients during Ramadan. This initiative demonstrates how multidisciplinary QI collaborations can create institutional change to advocate for patients and improve inpatient experiences within our hospital system.”

View the poster

Best LGBTQ+ Project:

Allison Ogawa, MS4

“Pandemic Narratives of LGBTQ+ Older Adults: Community, Resilience and Grief”

“In addition to looking for risk factors, we must employ resilience-based models by listening to patients’ stories and setting aside expectations of how grit, community and survival ‘should’ appear. In doing so, we can affirm queer and trans patients’ values and provide better historically informed and culturally connected healthcare.”

View the poster

Tweets from the Symposium