The Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus is an established partner in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within our academic and campus communities. As a group, we are committed to respectful relationships, ethical research and service partnerships with all, including our Indigenous and rural Minnesota neighbors. We strive to maintain a culture of inclusivity for all students, faculty, staff and community partners as we conduct research, teach courses and collaborate across disciplines to support the mission of the University of Minnesota Medical School. As a department, we are committed to expanding our knowledge and understanding of how social, economic and racial disparities affect the delivery of medicine and the conduct of biomedical research. We recognize we have opportunities for growth with every new day and are working on strategies to learn and grow from each new experience. We are committed to confronting our biases and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in our actions.

We, the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Duluth is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of the Ojibwe people, before them the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne people, and other Native peoples from time immemorial. Ceded by the Ojibwe/Anishinaabeg/Chippewa nation in an 1854 treaty, this land holds great historical, spiritual, and personal significance to this day. As part of a land-grant institution, it is our responsibility to affirm tribal sovereignty, acknowledge the colonialist history of our region, and hold the University of Minnesota Medical School accountable to American Indian peoples and nations, as our mission supports.

Department of Biomedical Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Committee Charge: 
The overall goal of this departmental committee is to provide a forum and focal point for department activities and discussions that engage everyone in the department in the collective work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our research and education missions. Opportunities to celebrate our diversity through cultural experiences and continuing education is encouraged. Developing a habit of promoting and raising awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of training and job performance is essential. The general goal would be to work towards monthly or bimonthly events/discussions/activities that engage at all levels

Committee Members: 
Natasha Adams, Melissa Cedars, Hina Durrani,  Jon Holy, Sharon Kuo, Sarah Lacher (Chair), Austin Petersen, Allie Zachwieja  

BMS DEI Committee Recent Activities (2022-2023 academic year)

  • Established “Immigrant Safety Bulletin Boards” (on each floor) 
  • Established “Biomedical Sciences Trainee Association” 
  • Arranged for a visit from the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to present “Implicit Bias and Bystander Training” for faculty, staff, and trainees (Fall 2022) 
  • Arranged for a follow up visit from ODEI to present “Bystander Training Intervention” for faculty, staff, and trainees (Spring 2023) 
  • Hosted BMS Community Potluck (Spring 2023) 
  • Assisted with an NAACP-associated event involving Denfeld High School students visiting the Medical School Duluth campus (Spring 2023) 
  • Hosted a book club to discuss: "Gender-Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say, and What to Do in the New Gender Culture" by Dr. Lee Airton (Summer, 2023) 

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BMS DEI report for Academic Year 2021/2022


08/01/21- Established BMS DEI Committee

09/27/21-- AHC Benchtalk “Breaking the Ice on Conversations Focused on Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion”

01/19/22- Invited Dr. Katie Lingras to speak on “Sustaining a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee within an Academic Health Center Department: A Two-Year Follow-Up”

02/14/22- AHC Benchtalk “Implicit Bias and Microaggressions”

03/01/22- BMS DEI began hosting bi-weekly meetings

  • Established BMS-DEI Events of Interest Google Calendar
  • Distributed inclusivity signage to all faculty and staff
  • Worked through Kirwan Institue’s Implicit Bias Training
  • Developing a trainee-only discussion space hosted by BMS
  • Advised Women's Mentoring Program on appropriate language “female identifying vs women”
  • Developing Immigrant Safety Bulletin Board to be displayed publicly
  • Established a Summer Book Club→ Compiled a list of relevant books to choose and decided upon “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” for 2022

05/12/22 Support and Advertise Duluth Chapter of Medical Students for Choice Rally May 14th

06/02/22 Assisted in hosting and planning event hosted by NAACP, Denfeld HS, and UMN Medical School Duluth campus visit for HS to come to campus

  • Offer students a set of Experimental or Medical activities to expose them to careers opportunities in biomedical sciences or healthcare
  • Students will work to: DNA isolation, Microscopy, Model Organisms, Cell Culture, Anatomy and Pathology, and Physical Examinations
  • Hosted two discussions for the Duluth Campus Medical and Pharmacy Schools: 
    • "Breaking the Ice on Conversations Focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" and “Implicit Bias and Microaggressions”
  • Invited Dr. Katie Lingras to speak on “Sustaining a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee within an Academic Health Center Department: A Two-Year Follow-Up”
  • Summer book club
  • Supporting Duluth Chapter of Medical Students for Choice Rally
  • Partnered with Duluth NAACP to host Denfeld HS Students for hands on science day

Ongoing Initiatives

Faculty members in the Department of Biomedical Sciences have a long-standing tradition of advancing programs that facilitate education and advancement of Native American and underrepresented minorities in research or STEM careers. In addition, programs to advance the health of African Americans in the community as well as the career development of women faculty are ongoing and provide further evidence of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Bridges to the Baccalaureate Degree

Dr. Benjamin Clarke has directed Bridges programs for more than twenty years at the University of Minnesota Medical School with the program focused on Native Americans and Underrepresented minorities. The goal of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority community college students entering the biomedical science field who obtain a biomedical/biobehavioral science-related baccalaureate degree.  

Kina (Together)

Dr. Anna Wirta Kosobuski has spent more than 20 years focused on improving Native American science education in Minnesota. In her latest projects, she has teamed up with other Biomedical Sciences faculty to develop informational material for children for healthy living and COVID-19 education with translations into Somali, Hmong, and Spanish. Her long term work with Native American youth at Bois Forte is strengthening health education in the community as well.

Native American Mentoring Program

The Native American Mentoring Program aims to increase opportunities for Biomedical Sciences faculty and students to support our mission with a focus on Native American Health by increasing opportunities for research-based collaboration. This may include but is not limited to promoting science experiences for Native American graduate students. The objective is to expand the pool of current and future Native American scientists who may consider faculty or leadership positions in higher education or medical professions. This program is a viable way to demonstrate our commitment to Native communities in the state of Minnesota.

For more information, contact Lynne Bemis,

AHC Women's Mentoring Program

The goal of the Women's Mentoring Program is to promote a supportive and positive environment for the career development of women faculty in Medical School, Duluth Campus. Regularly scheduled events over lunch address topics requested by women faculty and provide an opportunity for networking and sharing research initiatives and ideas. Programs may involve discussions with guest scientific speakers, panels, or skill development workshops and are open to all who are interested. Events also partner with the Center for Women in Medicine and Science of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Trainee Association

The goal of the BMS Trainee Association is to provide a framework for postdoctoral and graduate students of faculty in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS), Family Medicine and Behavioral Health (FMBH), and the College of Pharmacy at the Medical School, Duluth Campus, to create learning opportunities to enhance the career development of trainees, and to promote an inclusive and welcoming community for all trainees.