Skip to main content
VCOM Students

Virginia Diversity Resources

Vision Statement

We will build bridges using education and respect as the foundation to foster lasting positive relationships within our VCOM community. We will create both educational and support initiatives to combat disparities and structural racism in the workplace, classroom and clinical settings. This will equip our future doctors and provide them with a voice to remove social injustice in the healthcare system and the communities they will serve.

Our Commitment

  1. Foster an environment that enables all students, faculty, and staff to feel valued, respected, and safe.
  2. Engage our faculty, staff and students in methods to recognize personal biases.
  3. Support advancement of curriculum to address culture specific medical situations.
  4. Seek to strengthen our existing recruitment practice and our commitment to foster opportunity for future students from all populations.
  5. Strengthen our commitment to address health disparities as they relate to diverse populations that become disadvantaged, be committed to a culture of inclusion in serving our communities and patients, engaging our faculty, students, and staff to recognize these needs and to advocate for equal access to quality healthcare.
  6. Promote multicultural/cross cultural events on our campuses that recognize our diverse student body, faculty, and staff.
  7. Provide a safe environment where faculty, staff, and students can engage in conversations that will lead to a positive impact to support diversity and inclusion.
  8. Support and host discussions that highlight educational opportunities and insight into diversity and inclusion to create a support system for all faculty, staff and students to learn and grow in a manner that all feel engaged, valued and respected.

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion

The Diversity Officer also meets with the Diversity Committee which includes various student minority organizations and representatives of a diverse student body to hear their concerns in a safe space, and assist with planning to address the concerns in a positive manner that supports both the students and the College as a whole. The Diversity Officers will be available to meet with students, faculty or staff to address concerns in confidence.

VCOM’s Diversity Officers serve as a conduit of information with the Campus Dean and higher administration on suggestions for positive change toward improving inclusion on campus and in the community, to promote equal access to health and healthcare and reduce healthcare disparities.

Upcoming Events

2024 Events

  • February 1, 2024- SNMA- Black History Month: Movie Night & Discussion, “ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
  • February  6, 2024- SNMA- William G Anderson, DO,  Black History Month Series: Blacks in Osteopathic Medicine: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.” Featuring Dr. Darnita Anderson Hill, DO
  • February 12-16, 2024- AMWA- Canned fruit drive for the Women’s Resource Center of the NRV
  • February 14, 2024- SOMA- American Hearth Month wear Red/Pink Day
  • February 20, 2024, participate at El Universities School Resource Fair
  • February 24, 2024- SNMA- Black History Month: Fieldtrip to the Harrison Museum of African American Culture
  • February 24, 2024- AMMSA-Health Fair at the Islamic Society of the New River Valley
  • March 1, 2024- HCMO- Zumba Fundraiser
  • March 13, 2024- AAMSA- Beyond the Medicine- Fasting Ramadan discussion with Mukarram Razvi, DO
  • March 21, 2024- LGBTQIA+ - VCOM Alumni Panel Discussion: What it’s like to be a physician as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and how that impacts professional life and patient care.
  • April 8, 2024- AMMSA- Chand Raat Henna Night- an evening of food, fun , henna and preparation for Eid.

Past Events

  • December 15, 2023 - Cultural Celebration - An event to learn about various holidays celebrated by our VCOM Family. Hosted by SGA

  • December 6, 2023 - The LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Healthcare BTM: Gender Affirming Care & Surgery with Sidhbh Gallagher, MD.

  • November 30, 2023 - MSV, SNMA, SOMA- Beyond the Medicine- A discussion on a physician’s role in organized medicine and the importance of physician leadership regarding national, state and local healthcare policy with Dr. Alice Coombs, MD, President of the Medical Society of Va.

  • November 16, 2023 - AMWA- Beyond the Medicine- Ask Me Anything, a discussion of gender disparities in medical leadership and planning for a family as a medical student and physician.

  • November 10, 2023- ACOFP- Beyond the Medicine- Caring for Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

  • November 8, 2023- ACOOG/ OBGYN- Beyond the Medicine- Awko Tacos. Dr. Champine and Dr. Hardee facilitate how to navigate awkward conversations with patients

  • November 1, 2023- HCMO – Zumba Fundraiser

  • October 31, 2023 – MMSA- Beyond the Medicine – Modesty in Medicine with Dr. Syed Haider, MD

  • October 16, 2023- VRHA- Beyond the Medicine- The Realities of Rural Medicine: Addressing Stereotypes Associated with Rural Practice with Wendy Welch, PhD and Tori Makal, PhD

  • October 2023- VRHA/ HCMO- Soccer Tournament Fundraiser for Relay for Life

  • October 15, 2023- HCMO -CPR/AED instruction and dental hygiene in Spanish at Iglesia Buen Pastor

  • October 10, 2023- World Mental Health Day with Dr. Magalhaes

  • October 9, 2023- SNMA Multicultural Showcase

  • September 6, 2023- Diversi-Tea Meet and Greet your committee members

  • August 17, 2023 – AMWA – Screening of Ms. Diagnosed The Movie

  • August 2, 2023- ACOS & MMSA American Red Cross Blood Drive

  • July 28, 2023- LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Health Tie Dyeing Event

  • July 26, 2023- SNMA, HCMO, LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Health & MMSA Welcome Mixer

  • June 19, 2023- SNMA Juneteenth Celebration Event on the Patio

  • June 14, 2023- SAAO Herb Talk- Dr. Williams discussing herbs for treatment of  hypertension.

  • June 9, 202- LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Healthcare Food & Supply Drive for New River Community Action.

  • June 7, 2023- LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Healthcare, Via Wellness and PsychSign- Painting, Planting , & Pride. Paint and plant seeds to grow for a study break.

  • May 4, 2023- Diversity Reception for the Class of 2023 Special Guest Speaker Dr. Thadeus Dapash, DO, MSMEd, FACG, Class of 2015 VCOM-Virginia

  • March 31, 2023- Friday with the OMA at Tulane School of Medicine Residency Radiology

  • March 22, 2023- ACOFP Beyond the Medicine: Caring for Patients with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

  • March 18, 2023- Giles County Health Fair organized by Student Doctor Zachary Simmons and the Rural Health Association.

  • March 10, 2023- SNMA Discrimination in Medicine- Discussion on The Crown Act

  • March 8, 2023 – BAHM- Screening and Discussion of Bending the Arc, documentary about global health and the fight for the right to health for all.

  • March 3, 2023- Friday with the OMA at Tulane School of Medicine Residency Neurology

  • February 13, 2023 - William G. Anderson, DO, Black History Month Series: Blazing Your Trail in Medicine Dr. Barbara Ross- Lee

  • February 8, 2023 - ACOEP and LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Healthcare sponsored ER Medicine and LGBTQIA+ Experiences in Residency with Russell Dowell, DO and Melissa Edwards, DO

  • February 3, 2023 - SNMA Black History Month Series: Movie Night & Discussion, “Something the Lord Made.”

  • January 19, 2023 - ACOS-MSS Beyond the Medicine: Mentorship in Medicine

  • January 18, 2023 - ACOP & BAHM Beyond the Medicine: Pediatric Gun Violence

  • December 16, 2022 - SGA presents Celebrations of Cultural Diversity

  • October 17, 2022 - LGBTIA+ Inclusive Healthcare: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Healthcare Outcomes with Suzie Pease, M.ED

  • October 13, 2022 - LGBTIA+ Inclusive Healthcare: Beyond the Medicine: Reducing Healthcare Related Harm due to Stereotypes

  • October 10, 2022 - SNMA: Multicultural Showcase Event

  • September 26, 2022 - SAAO: Beyond the Medicine: Social Determinants of Health and COVID- 19 presented by Dr. Rebecca Hester

  • August 30, 2022 - HCMO: Beyond the Medicine: Community Health Clinics Serving Hispanic Populations

  • August 18, 2022 – AMWA: Unraveling Gender Disparities Within Medical Leadership

  • August 10, 2022 – SOMA Social Medicine The Gardners’ Tale ( allegory to illustrate racism and potential ways to address racism)

  • August 4, 2022 – HCMO Medical Spanish Workshop

  • August 4, 2022 – LGBTQI+ Inclusive Healthcare Town Hall

  • July 21, 2022 – SNMA, HCMO, MMSA Welcome Mixer

  • June 18, 2022 – NAACP Youth Juneteenth Event – Health Screening Prevention and Education

  • June 18, 2022 – Christiansburg Institute Juneteenth Event- Health Screening Prevention and Education

  • June 17, 2022 – SNMA : Juneteenth Cookout and Educational Event

  • May 27, 2022 – SOMA: Social Medicine Discussion

  • March 22, 2022- Healthcare for Gender Non-Conforming Individuals- Featuring patient stories and guidance for future providers

  • March 1, 2022 – William G. Anderson , DO, Black History Month Series: Making your Mark in Medicine
  • February 24, 2022- Medical School and Mental Health Conversation with Dr. Mona Massod
  • February 24, 2022 – Trauma Informed Support – Make a difference & combat sexual violence on campus
  • February 14, 2022- How to be Antiracist – Book Club Discussion
  • January 20, 2022  - What is LGBTQ+ and Safe Space?
  • January 19, 2022 – SNMA Presents: A Systems Perspective of Healthcare Disparities Facing Refugees During Resettlement
  • December 7, 2021 - How to Practice Modest Medicine hosted by MMSA
  • December 3-4, 2021 - Region VI Medical Education Conference: Bridging Global Healthcare Disparities
  • November 15, 2021 – The Look- Driving Change Through Conversations
  • September 15, 2021 - Medical Spanish Workshop with HCMO
  • August 27, 2021 - SNMA & HCMO Multicultural Showcase
  • March 8, 2021- Health Disparities Series: Breast Cancer
  • February 25, 2021 – William G. Anderson, DO, Black History Month Series: Undefeated: Defying the 4% hosted by SNMA.
  • February 3, 2021 – Cookies and Cocoa and poster display to recognize prominent African Americans who made advancements in Medicine hosted by SNMA.
  • Jan. 20, 2021 - What is LGBTQ+ and Safe Space?
  • Jan. 21, 2021 - Health Disparities Series: The ‘Other Variables’ Contributing to the COVID- 19 Pandemic
  • Jan. 18, 2021 - Black Docs Talk Shots Webinar by Eventbrite
  • Jan. 18, 2021 - Human Trafficking and the Medical Professional Webinar
  • Dec. 2, 2020 - Health Disparities Series: Maternal Fetal Health
  • Nov. 2020 - A Race & Medicine Webinar with Abraham Hardee, DO
  • Oct. 13,  2020 - Health Disparities Series: Colon Cancer in African Americans
  • August 12, 2020 - Conversations in Diversity in Medicine and Professionalism: Unconscious Bias with Barbara Ross-Lee, DO

Diversity Officer Duties

  1. Convene and Chair the Diversity Committee each block, facilitating their success in meeting the goals of the Committee.
  2. Serve as a conduit for the representatives of a diverse student body to meet, hear their concerns in a safe space, and assist with planning to address the concerns in a positive manner that supports both the students and the College as a whole.
  3. Serve as a conduit of information with the Campus Dean and higher administration on suggestions for positive change toward improving inclusion on campus and in the community.
  4. Provide educational documents to employees, students, and staff on an ongoing basis that support positive change to promote equal access to health and healthcare and to reduce healthcare disparities.
  5. Meet with representatives from SNMA, HCMO, VRHA, and other VCOM student professional committees that support improved healthcare for all to assist in planning of events and education; and to hear concerns or recommendations for improvement.
  6. Assist the Dean and administration in resolving any issues that occur on campus or in the community at large that will negatively impact students, faculty, or staff from a specific population as it relates to diversity and social injustice.
  7. Serve as a positive leader for students, faculty, and staff in solving problems and resolving issues that arise from time to time as related to diversity and injustice.
  8. Meet with the Diversity Officers on each campus (via zoom) one time per block so to plan College-wide events, education, and to discuss items of concern across campuses.
  9. The Diversity Officers from each campus will also meet two to four times per year to recommend positive change for the institution as a whole to create positive change for Diversity and Inclusion across campuses.

2023-2024 Diversity Committee – VCOM Virginia

Position Name
Chair Kim Gittings, RN, BSN, CCM, Virginia Campus Diversity Officer
Member Sofia Abraham-Hardee, DO PhD, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
Member Mary-Karla Ballen, Staff Accountant
Member Michelle Barrett - Director for Student Affairs
Member Terry Hrubec, DVM, PhD, Professor for Anatomical Sciences
Member Katherine Jamison, PharmD, BCPS, Associate Dean for Pre-Clinical Medical Education
Member Lisa Leichner, Director for Admissions
Member Emily Dietzenbach, Coordinator for Student Affairs
Member Edward Magalhaes, PhD, LPC, Counselor and Associate Professor for Psychiatry
Member Louann Morrow, Director for the Southwestern Virginia Rural AHEC
Member Whitney Stokes, Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Member Robin Varghese, PhD, Assistant Professor for Biomedical Sciences
Member Angela Simpson - President of the Student National Medical Association VCOM-VA Chapter
Member Fernanda Robles - President of the Hispanic Community Medical Outreach VCOM-VA Chapter
Member Marissa Braito - President of the Christian Medical and Dental Association VCOM-VA Chapter
Member Jack Massie - President of the Virginia Rural Health Association VCOM-VA Chapter
Member Saiqa Warriach - President of the American Muslim Medical Student Association VCOM-VA Chapter
Member Helena Wang - Co-Chair of LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Healthcare
Member Jean Reagan - Co-Chair of LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Healthcare
Member Ayotemi Adewale - Student Representative Third Year Class and former SNMA President
Member Nicole Stephens – Student Representative Fourth Year Class


The Diversity Committee VCOM Virginia is available to meet with students, faculty or staff to address concerns in confidence. If you have an issue that you would like to address, feel free to email

We in the Diversity Office want to be an advocate for students and staff at VCOM. One of our goals is to allow for persons to express themselves in a manner that makes everyone feel heard and appreciated. Messages sent to the Diversity Office email will be discussed initially by Diversity Committee members only. There are times that matters brought to our attention will need to be referred to the proper department for resolution.  If your desire is to maintain anonymity please understand this may limit our ability to completely address and make aware to administration, HR or student services the need for change. Racial discrimination, Harassment and Violence  issues should be referred to the Title IX officer. Please refer to the Employee and Student Handbooks for further explanation.

Student Organizations

There are numerous student organizations at VCOM whose mission is to promote cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion, as well as to provide outreach for medically underserved communities or populations or in socio-economically reduced areas.  Visit the Student Organizations page for more information on how you can be involved.