News Equity Champions

Department of Anesthesiology 2022 Equity Champions

Washington University School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) recently completed its third cohort of Equity Champions training across the WashU campus. During this training, the Department of Anesthesiology was represented by three amazing members who will serve a pivotal role to develop and sustain a fair, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming culture in Anesthesiology.

Congratulations to Amira, Waliah, and Shawn for their commitment to the department in this manner! They just completed 40 hours of intense, comprehensive training in key and salient topics in diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are thrilled to have them working with the ODEI as well as our departments own POWER office (Professional Development, Opportunity, Wellness, Equity, and Relatable Diversity) with Scott Markowitz, Enyo Ablordeppey, and Erin Herrera.

These Equity Champions will join the mission of

  1. Providing professional development regarding diversity, equity & inclusion
  2. Informing the tailoring and delivery of the novel Understanding Systemic Racism (USR) curriculum to our 930+ members

A little bit about your new equity champions…

Amira Hodzic is a fellowship coordinator in the Department of Anesthesiology. She grew up in upstate New York but has been in the St. Louis area for the past eight years. She is an alumna of SLU’s College for Public Health and Social Justice, and is currently working on obtaining her Master’s in Health Leadership from WGU. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with family and friends, thrifting, writing poetry, and playing with her dog Julie. Some of Amira’s favorite things include the Cardinals, all things Marvel, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which she says is arguably the best Christmas movie of all time).

As an equity champion, Amira is looking forward to building lasting and meaningful connections across campus. “We all thrive on human connection, but often get too caught up in our busy lives to really take the time to build them. By building these connections, we can begin to see the fundamental human element we all share. With this, we can work together towards a more inclusive and equitable campus,” says Amira.


Waliah RaKhem is the Senior Research Administrator in the Research Division of the Department of Anesthesiology. She has been in this role since 2020 and has worked in similar roles within the Department of Pediatrics, Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS), and Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) in her 20 years with the university.  A native St. Louisan, Waliah currently resides in University City. An avid movie watcher, she enjoys being a mom to her 22-year-old son Temitayo, exercising, cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends. 

Waliah is looking forward to being able to provide the Anesthesiology staff and faculty with the tools to accomplish the university’s goal of anti-racism. In her opinion, it is imperative that the entire Washington University community is aware and actively working, in their own way, to make all campuses free from disenfranchisement and aggression, making it a more welcoming place for people from marginalized groups. 


Shawn Reynolds (he/his/Him) is one of the Critical Care APP Leads for the SICU. Shawn is happily married and has two beautiful daughters and a German Shephard. He completed his Undergraduate degree at Sacred Heart University in Athletic Training and received his Masters in Exercise Physiology and Rehab Science from Oklahoma State University. He returned to school for a second master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from DeSales University and has been a physician assistant for over 14 years. Shawn previously worked in Emergency Medicine and Neurocritical Care in Pennsylvania before moving to St Louis. In the ICU, Shawn focuses on process improvement, POCUS US, and APP onboarding. He currently serves as the chief physician assistant in the Missouri Army National Guard MEDREDDET. Outside of work, Shawn loves spending time with his wife and children, working out, and relaxing at the lake.  

Shawn wanted to become an Equity Champion because “I felt that as a leader and a father we/I need to do better,” he says. “Becoming an Equity Champion was one way that I can help truly change the minds and culture of the department in a positive way.”