Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The University of Minnesota Medical School, Department of Medicine, is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion as an essential strategy to support all members of our academic community: faculty, trainees, staff, and the patients and communities we serve. We strive for a culture of inclusive excellence in which our commitment to the core values of equity and diversity are reflected in all of our clinical care, research, education, and service activities.
Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Shahnaz Sultan, MD, MHSc is the Department's inaugural Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Sultan is an accomplished clinician, researcher, and educator in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (GI) and currently serves as the Program Director of the GI Fellowship Program. She brings to this role a breadth of leadership experience, accomplishment in health disparities research, an established record of increasing learner diversity, and a passion and vision for DEI work. Dr. Sultan will develop and oversee DEI efforts across the Department's education, clinical, research, and service missions for faculty, staff, and learners. Her initial priorities are focused on assessing the Department's ongoing DEI activities and creating strategies, policies, and best practices that will enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in all mission areas.
Shahnaz Sultan, MD, MHSc, AGAF
Associate Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Dr. Cuong Pham is a refugee from Viet Nam. He and his parents fled Viet Nam by boat. Through that journey, he ended up in Minnesota and has never left. The University of Minnesota has been an integral part of his training from beginning to end, including undergraduate, medical school, and Med/Peds residency. Dr. Pham is the Associate Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine in the Department of Medicine. He chairs the Graduate Medical Education Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee, facilitates talks on diversity and racism throughout the medical school, and integrates equity into his daily clinical practice. His clinical work at the Community-University Health Care Center focuses on the health of marginalized populations, particularly the indigenous and immigrant populations. Finally, his research in addiction care is rooted in collaborative work with the local community.
Cuong Pham, MD
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education Director
Dr. Adriana Dhawan is an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Hospitalist and inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education Director. A first-generation American with Slovenian and East Indian heritage who grew up in New Mexico, her first passion of global health brought her to the University of Minnesota for residency. In addition to her University clinical role, she spends time working in Rosebud SD in partnership with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and IHS, as Global Medicine Faculty, and in the development of curricula in topics spanning global medicine, health equity, and advocacy.
Adriana Dhawan, MD, FAAP, CTropMed
Health Equity Spotlight
Abbie Begnaud , MD
Dr. Abbie Begnaud is an Associate Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Sleep Medicine. She arrived at the University of Minnesota in 2013 passionate about lung cancer but unaware of the health inequities in this disease. She was fortunate enough to be invited to join theMinnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative in 2016 as lead of the lung cancer demonstration project. In doing this work Dr. Begnaud was part of a team who partnered with a Central Minnesota tribal health department to understand and improve health disparities related to commercial tobacco use in Indigenous Minnesotans. The outcome of this project was a retrospective analysis of precision treatments for Indigenous Minnesotans with lung cancer. More importantly, this project opened the door to greater partnership with and investment in the health of Indigenous Minnesotans.
In collaboration with the American Indian Cancer Foundation and the Native American Community Clinic, Dr. Begnaud continues to learn about Indigenous ways and how to integrate those with medical guidelines to reduce the burden of lung cancer. Together, they developed a culturally tailored lung cancer screening brochure that is publicly available. Recent projects include qualitative research and a lung cancer screening promotion project in the Native American Community Clinic and tailoring a commercial tobacco cessation mobile application with Dr. Dana Carroll from the School of Public Health. Next, we are planning community screening events to educate Indigenous Minnesotans about improved survival of lung cancer through early detection.
In 2019, Dr. Begnaud was selected as a Program in Health Disparities Research Health Equity Leadership and Mentoring (HELM) fellow and later that year participated in the Bias Reduction in Internal Medicine study, including training as a facilitator for the Department of Medicine. Dr. Begnaud has contributed to the efforts to improve diversity of the Medical School, Internal Medicine Residency and the Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care Division and through interviewing medical school, residency, fellowship and faculty candidates for each of these.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Faculty Spotlight: Taj Mustapha, MD
Dr. Taj Mustapha has been a leader in DEI work since coming to Minnesota as a Med/Peds resident and now as faculty in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Coming from a direct service background working with homeless youth, she understood the barriers of many of our patients and wanted to advance equity, particularly in marginalized populations. She has mentored and trained countless physicians previously as the Associate Program Director of the Med-Peds Residency Program and the Director of Clinical Coaching for the medical school. In this work, she has pushed our medical community with foresight and compassion to be more inclusive and thoughtful for our trainees, patients, and ourselves. For instance, her talk titled “Hardworking Hannah gets Honors, but Decisive David becomes Division Director: Gender Bias and Learner Evaluations” teaches us the impact of biases can affect our learners and ultimately our care for our patients.
After the murder of George Floyd, our health system recognized that Dr. Mustapha would be crucial to help transform our health instution and medical school under an anti-racist framework. She has since been leading the HOPE (Healing, Opportunity, People and Equity) Commission to help our communities heal through listening sessions and collaborations. Most recently she was charged as the inaugural Chief Equity Strategy Officer of M Health Fairview. Concurrently she also has the role of the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the University of Minnesota Medical School. Ultimately she is the “Collaborator in Chief” for our medical school, health system and community.
Faculty Spotlight: Beth Rogers, MD, MAS
Dr. Elizabeth Rogers, board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, is an Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and is a faculty member in the Program in Health Disparities Research. After finishing her residency training at the Harvard Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Boston Children’s Hospital program, she completed a Primary Care Research Fellowship at UCSF. Her Master of Applied Science in clinical research included an emphasis in implementation and dissemination science. Her research focus is to design, implement, and evaluate patient-centered intervention strategies based in safety net primary care settings to improve care quality and health outcomes. Dr. Rogers was named the UMN CTSI’s 2018 Junior Mentor of the Year, and she received the 2019 UMN Department of Medicine Women’s Early Research Career Award.
Current projects focus on understanding barriers and facilitators to a pilot intervention to improve diabetes care quality for patients with low-income receiving care in safety net primary care clinics. She also examines how patients perceive treatment burden when managing diabetes and comorbid conditions, and how this is linked to health-related social needs, language concordance with providers, glycemic control, and engagement in care. This work aims to identify potential future interventions that may improve patients’ sense of treatment burden and quality of life, and diabetes outcomes including minimizing disparities in groups disproportionately affected by health inequities.
Dr. Rogers provides primary care at the Community University Health Care Center in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. She is a founding board member of Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity, a state-wide non-profit with a mission of educating health professionals to work toward health equity. Though Dr. Rogers’ current passions lie in striving for health equity locally, she has spent extensive time working and learning in international settings mostly in Latin America, including Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Ecuador. She served for a decade as a board member for Doctors for Global Health (DGH), a non-profit organization that builds long-term relationships between people and communities around the world to find effective solutions to improving health and social justice issues. She credits her time living in and volunteering with DGH in a rural El Salvador community as a medical student for 6 months as shaping her perspective on health equity, including the idea of community accompaniment, human rights, and community-oriented primary care.
Faculty Spotlight: Jose Debes, MD
Jose Debes, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. He also has an adjunct appointment in the School of Public Health at UMN, and in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. During his clinical training (both in Medicine and Gastroenterology at UMN) he became interested in the intersection of translational research and global health, specifically in the impact of local factors in different regions of the world on viral hepatitis-related liver cancer. Currently, Dr. Debes leads research projects in the field of hepatology in a number of countries including the Netherlands, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Argentina, Ecuador, and Brazil.
In South America, he founded and leads the South American Liver Research Network, a research system that includes six South American countries and that has been instrumental in defining the epidemiology of liver cancer in the region, as well as in identifying biomarkers for the early detection of this tumor. He founded and leads the African Hepatitis B Network, a system that includes a dozen countries in the continent, stimulating research and promoting awareness about the prevention of viral hepatitis.
The networks provide a platform for academic and research development in resource-limited countries. Most of the work is funded by the NIH, the European Union, and several private foundations. In Africa, the Hepatitis B Network gives a voice to a large number of healthcare workers to reflect and learn about issues pertaining to hepatitis B awareness and vaccination. Dr. Debes has also established hepatitis B programs in Ethiopia and Tanzania. These programs aim to educate individuals living with hepatitis B so to maximize the prevention of complications, provide access to screening for liver cancer, and implement early treatment when appropriate. These programs also allow for the mentoring and training of local junior faculty who otherwise would not be able to develop a research career and foster collaborations between the University of Minnesota and health centers across the globe.
Imam Sharif Mohammed answers questions about the COVID-19 vaccine
When we heard that Somali and East African community members in the Twin Cities had questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, we asked local Imam Sharif Mohamed for help sharing information.
“I want the community to feel confident and to turn to the experts and scientists,” said Mohamed. “You are saving yourself and your community when you vaccinate yourself.”
- Resources for Alumni to Support Their Communities: Information recommended by the University of MN Alumni Association, Black Alumni Network, and Multicultural Alumni Network that focuses on the University’s response to the death of George Floyd, supporting communities impacted by this tragedy, anti-racism tools, and learning about Black History at the University.
- UMN Office of Equity and Diversity: Offers resources to support the recruitment and retention of diverse students, staff, and faculty; creates programs and initiatives that contribute to a welcoming campus environment; and works with University and community partners to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the University system.
- UMN Affinity Groups: Provide opportunities for diverse faculty, staff, and students to build community and make the University of Minnesota a more welcoming and inclusive place to work and learn. Faculty and staff can connect with a group to join their mailing lists, learn about upcoming events, programs, and meetings, and get involved.
- Medical School Diversity and Inclusion: Learn about the Medical School’s commitment to fostering a work and learning environment where institutional diversity fuels the advancement of knowledge, promotes improved patient care, and fosters excellence.
- Bias Response Referral Network (BRRN): Responds to reports of bias incidents on the Twin Cities campus to support the University’s commitment to equity and diversity, free speech, and academic freedom.