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At the UNC Department of Surgery, “diversity” and “inclusion” are not jargon; they are essential parts of our culture, here at the largest medical school in North Carolina and within the Department of Surgery. We use these terms to foster a sense of belonging among our students, trainees, staff, faculty, and the patients we care for in Chapel Hill and around the state.

Because we are part of an academic medical center, we know it is our responsibility to train and mentor future doctors, physician assistants, clinical researchers, and basic scientists to appreciate diversity and understand its importance to our education, research, and clinical missions, not to mention to the very fabric of our state and country. We are committed to attracting a diverse pool of outstanding students, trainees, and expertly trained faculty. We do this because the school of medicine is committed to valuing all people, regardless of background, lifestyle, or culture. We know that a diverse and inclusive work environment for staff, students, trainees, and faculty helps foster appropriate care for patients. And this is essential to the fulfillment of our vision to improve the health of all North Carolinians.

Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Luigi Pascarella

“We believe in priming an environment that fosters positive relationships and creative thinking while abiding to our clinical and academic missions. At UNC, we strive to create a community of belonging that reflects our multicultural nation. We endeavor to build a community of inclusion, cultural competence, and awareness where all voices are heard and cheered in their differences.”
-Luigi Pascarella, MD, FACS, (He/His/Him)
Office Phone: (919) 966-3392

Chair, Department of Surgery

Dr. Melina Kibbe UNC Surgery

“We are committed to creating a community that encompasses the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  We strive to respect differences and diverse perspectives, as we truly believe this leads to the best clinical care, fosters creativity, innovation, unique problem solving, and creates a robust and safe learning culture.  We seek to understand each other and ensure all voices are heard.  We also aim to eliminate barriers to success and leadership.  By following diverse and inclusive practices with a goal toward equity, we believe that we can achieve the greatest employee and patient satisfaction.”
-Melina R. Kibbe, MD (She/Her/Hers)
Chair, Department of Surgery
Colin G. Thomas Jr. Distinguished Professor

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The Numbers

*AAMC = Association of American Medical Colleges

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Diversity Committee

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School of Medicine Office of Inclusive Excellence

DEI Resources
The Office of Inclusive Excellence provides coordination, oversight, and leadership of the UNC SOM’s diversity and inclusion programs and leads the school efforts to maintain and continue to build upon a diverse faculty and inclusive environment that values and respects the contributions of all members of the community. Check out their full list of resources and organizations.

Educational Recordings

Finding My Voice from Behind the Mask
May 5, 2021. Kimberley Nichols, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Member, Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Council discusses “Finding My Voice from Behind the Mask.”
Understanding Unconscious Bias for Healthcare Professionals
July 8, 2020. Ashalla Freeman, PhD, Director of Diversity Affairs and Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, Office of Graduate Education and Diversity Consultant, Office of Inclusive Excellence and Brenda Mitchell, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Department of Allied Health Sciences Office of Student Services and AHEC Operations discuss “Understanding Unconscious Bias for Healthcare Professionals.”
COVID-19 and Making Culturally Relevant Decisions
April 29, 2020. Nathan Thomas, PhD, Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry discusses “COVID-19 and Making Culturally Relevant Decisions”.
Health Disparities and UNC Health Care
October 23, 2019. James Barron, MA, Director, HCS Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion discusses “Health Disparities and UNC Health Care”.
Health Disparities in Minorities and in the LGBT Community: The role of implicit bias
June 12, 2019. Luigi Pascarella, MD, Associate Professor, Division of Vascular Surgery discusses “Health Disparities in Minorities and in the LGBT Community: The role of implicit bias.”
Implicit Bias
March 20, 2019. Keith Payne, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience discusses “Implicit Bias”.

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July 2021

The information below comes from Diversity Resources.

July 2: Thurgood Marshall's Birthday
Thurgood Marshall was a civil rights activist and the first Black American to serve on the Supreme Court. One of his most famous quotes is, “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” Celebrate Marshall’s achievements by promoting the Black Lives Matter Movement in the Workplace.
July 6: 14th Dalai Lama’s Birthday
 The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama and the highest spiritual leader of Tibet. After a failed uprising, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959. He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
July 6: Frida Kahlo’s Birthday
Our July multicultural holidays include the birthday of Frida Kahlo, the beloved Mexican painter. One of the best-known artists of the 20th century, her exploration of diverse topics leaves a lasting legacy. On this day, take time to explore Frida’s life and art.
July 17: The Hajj
 July diversity celebrations include the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. A pillar of Islam, this pilgrimage is required of all Muslims once in their lifetime. Muslims believe that it offers a chance to wipe away their past sins and start new in the eyes of God. You can create a more inclusive workplace for Muslims and others with online diversity training.
July 18: Nelson Mandela’s Birthday
 July diversity days include the birthday of Nelson Mandela, a civil rights leader and South Africa’s first black president. In 2009, the UN declared this day “Nelson Mandela International Day.” Here is a famous quote by the man himself, “I never lose. I either win or learn.”
July 26: Americans with Disabilities Act
Our July diversity month commemorates this day in 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and requires that certain access and amenities are provided in public places.

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