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Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Belonging

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is committed to diversity, equity, and belonging.

In our environment, diversity is valued, broadly defined, and pedagogically supported.

Our persistent attention to diversity, equity, and belonging is mission-driven. We believe that diversity, equity, and belonging stimulate cultural competencies that enhance clinical effectiveness, inform research, and guide effective interactions. Our goal is to make certain our graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge to cultivate ongoing cultural proficiency across the span of their careers. We are focused on diversifying the workforce and understanding disparities in access to care and medical outcomes for underserved populations.

Why do we focus on diversity, equity, and belonging?

In the United States, the widespread problem of inequity constitutes a public health crisis, as deeply ingrained, habitual, and often unconscious biases and behaviors contribute to and perpetuate disparities, adversely affecting the health of millions.

People and communities will eradicate systemic inequities by developing a critical understanding of the complex and pervasive ways discrimination and bias operate and the strategies and processes that foster equity in health and biomedical sciences.

How do we focus on diversity, equity, and belonging?

Diversity, equity, and belonging cannot be accomplished in a single standalone workshop or initiative. In addition, cultural proficiency requires ongoing development; therefore, the BMP incorporates DEIB throughout coursework and experiential learning. Revisiting our paradigm, our pedagogy, and our approaches aid us in solving complex issues and managing polarities well. Key aspects of the BMP’s commitment to diversity, equity, and belonging include


  • As the Assistant Director for Health Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Bee Schindler brings their knowledge, expertise, and facilitation skills to BMP orientation. Drawing on a background in urban education and more than a decade of experience in diversity and inclusion, Dr. Schindler is dedicated to constructing, overseeing, and executing diversity training programs, providing support for DEI initiatives, and utilizing lived experiences to actively address and disrupt health disparities. 


  • Scholarships cover part of tuition expenses. Prospective students are considered for scholarships primarily based on demonstrated financial need.

Community Building

  • Each year the BMP offers community-building events. Past events include a fall welcome potluck, coffee and donuts during finals, and a scavenger hunt to help students become acquainted with the Oakland campus. During COVID, the BMP offered virtual coffee chats.


  • The Student Leadership Excellence Award is given to a student who exemplifies the mission and core values of the BMP, positively influences the student experience, and demonstrates leadership both inside and outside of the classroom.

2024 Student Leadership Award Recipient : Thomas Walko, III

Previous Recipients:

  • 2023: Charis-Marie Vanderpuye & Chuka Onuh


DEIB is incorporated throughout the curriculum. Students can also enroll in the Spring elective, Diversity Awareness Exploration in the Biomedical Sciences.

Course Description

  • We critically examine and discuss overarching questions that focus on diversity within the biomedical sciences. We pose, examine, and discuss questions to help understand the relationship between health and other institutions and systems. Cultivating diversity awareness is a lifelong process. This course builds on existing knowledge and lays the groundwork for further exploration and action.

Coursework is intended to engage learners in:

  • Examining oneself (beliefs, actions, patterns), and critical questions related to health disparities, social medicine, and bias
  • Building critical questions about biomedicine and society through engagement with a wide range of readings and media
  • Developing analyses of course material, and applying that learning to further refine their questions
  • Deepening inquiry through an exploration of movements within and outside health systems and research institutions

Throughout the course, students identify their specific interests and undertake a capstone project that investigates a particular inequity or social or structural determinant of health that resonates with them. 

2023 Capstone Presentations

Joey Bhangdia, Food Insecurity

Matt Dain, HIV Prevention and LGBTQ Health

Christopher Fedor, Racial Disparities in Evaluation and Management of Patients with Non-Syndromic Craniosynostosis

Maxim Georgievsky, Barriers to Accessing Primary Care

Cailynn Gregory, Health Outcomes for Black Americans

Rami Homsi, Greening Pittsburgh

Reyna Jones, Social Support and Caregiving Roles

Hunter Martin, Gun Related Death and Injuries in the United States

Kate McKay, Sexual Health Inequities

Marjan Maragh, Housing Inequities

Chuka Onuh, Legal Landscape around Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States

Josh Parquet, The Impact of Language Barriers on Health Literacy

Kyle Simqu, Effective Use of Medical Interpreters

Vanessa Usoh, Applying a Health Equity Lens to Urinary Incontinence

Charis-Marie Vanderpuye, Social Support and Environmental Factors

Kaitlyn Willey, Barriers to Care for Patients with Disabilities

Jake Williams, Community Water Safety

Yuting Zhao, Addressing Health Disparities in Rural China

2022 Capstone Presentations

Kelly Barko, Culturally Competent Care for Patients with Cancer

Joseph Belfiore, Institutionalized Racism in American Healthcare

Meera Bhargava, Upstander Case Studies to Address Bias in Medicine

Aisha Bhutta, Upstander Case Studies to Address Racism in Medicine

Lauren Brown, Microaggressions and Applications of Upstander Practice

Lexi Campbell, Gender Dysphoria and Healthcare

Briana Jones, Affordable, At Home Dental Care

Karina Lockwood, Social Inequities and Tobacco Use

Rohan Mandavilli, Inequity in Cancer Care

Alyssa Miguelino, Chronic Disease Prevention in Allegheny County

Peter Prescott, Urban Healthcare

Danyall Saeed, Health Insurance and Health Disparities

Ashwin Srikanth, Social Determinants of Health Education Disparities in Medical School Curricula

Jessie Sun, Physician Migration and Health Worker Shortages

Kayla Warren, The Legacy of Reproductive Injustice on Health Outcomes for Black Women in the United States

Annual Diversity Forum

Students who participate in the Diversity Awareness course are invited to share their capstone during the annual diversity forum.

"2022-2023 Jake Williams, Joey Bhangdia, Charis-Marie Vanderpuye, Kyle Simqu"