Our department strives to reflect the rich diversity of the world around us. We are proactive in creating a welcoming environment inclusive of individual views, gender identity, ethnicity, and racial background.

As part of our quadripartite mission, we are committed to the principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Specifically, we aim to create and foster an environment that values and recognizes everyone’s unique attributes, and one in which all members of our department and institution feel welcomed, included, and are treated with respect. 

Below are some ways in which we are putting our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion into action:

Department Initiatives & Programs

Raising Anesthesiology Diversity & Anti-Racism (RADAR)
A partnership with the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. RADAR will focus on attracting college and medical students to the field, providing mentorship and networking opportunities for emerging scholars, and developing resources for department leaders interested in building inclusive and anti-racist communities for learners, faculty, and staff. Launched March 2021.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
The department has implemented a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force comprised of staff, faculty, clinical and non-clinical personnel, and trainees in the department. This task force is responsible for:

  • facilitating ongoing DEI opportunities for public discussion;
  • developing meaningful and actionable recommendations;
  • advising the department head on topics and issues surrounding DEI;
  • advancing educational programs to reflect departmental and university goals and values.

Anesthesiology Summer Research Fellowship (ASSURE) Program
The ASSURE fellowship program provides underrepresented minority college students from the St. Louis metro area an opportunity to engage in basic, clinical, and/or translational research projects. In support of the department’s goal to build a pipeline of bright and undiscovered talents, the ASSURE fellowship will welcome its first cohort of students in the summer of 2021 with the hope of being able to better attract, train, mentor, and provide long term career support for students from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the field.

University Initiatives & Resources

University-wide programs and initiatives empower community members to drive change and foster an environment that is more equitable and welcoming to all. Explore the values, actions, and commitments of our institution and leadership below.

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the School of Medicine
This office provides leadership, expertise, and advocacy on all diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within the School of Medicine.

Diversity and Inclusion at Washington University
The website of the university’s Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Diversity.

About diversity, equity, and inclusion at the School of Medicine
Learn more about our core values and how we are laying the foundation for a stronger, more equitable campus and community where everyone is welcomed, respected, and supported.

Habif Health and Wellness Center
Support and resources for the mental and physical well-being of all WashU students, first-year through post-graduate.

Program for Underrepresented in Medicine for Equity and Diversity (PROUD-MED) 
PROUD-MED is an initiative supported by the ICTS and the Washington University School of Medicine (SOM) to enhance underrepresented in medicine (URiM) faculty development by providing mentored clinical research training, dedicated Research Development Program (RDP) resources, senior faculty support, and group mentorship as a community to integrate with institutional programs.

A student-run interest group at the School of Medicine dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) identity and health.

OUTmed is an organization for LGBTQIA-identified faculty, residents, fellows, and staff at Washington University School of Medicine. OUTmed is supported by the Department of Medicine, and is open to members of the entire School of Medicine, regardless of departmental affiliation.

Center for Diversity and Inclusion
The center supports and advocates for undergraduate, graduate and professional students from underrepresented and/or marginalized populations, creates collaborative partnerships with campus and community partners, and promotes dialogue and social change among all students.

Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Created as the university’s primary forum for changing climate and culture. Houses diversity and inclusion resources, including training resources, support for campus affinity groups, and annual events and recognition ceremonies.

External Resources
  • Mosaic in Medicine, an online peer-reviewed publication for underrepresented voices in medicine, is looking for aspiring medical and healthcare professionals to share their first-hand insight and unique experiences in health care education. They accept all forms of writing/artistry related to healthcare: scholarly articles, opinion pieces, poems, personal stories, essays, or even art pieces that represent experiences within the field of medicine or medical education that are important to you. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Ending Structural Racism — NIH.gov
  • Racism and Health — CDC.gov
  • AAMC IDEAS Learning Series — this series is designed to help busy professionals improve inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism efforts in their academic medicine community.

Additional resources will be added soon.

Department of Anesthesiology 2022 Equity Champions

Enyo Ama Ablordeppey, MD, MPH, FACEP, FCCM

Associate Professor, Anesthesiology & Emergency Medicine
Erin Herrera, CRNA

Associate Vice Chair for Well-Being; Assistant Director for CRNA Activities
Amira Hodzic

Fellowship Coordinator
Scott Markowitz, MD

Vice Chair for Professional Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Waliah RaKhem

Senior Research Administrator
Shawn Reynolds, MSPA PA-C

Physician Assistant, Critical Care

Recent News

Department of Anesthesiology 2022 Equity Champions

Department of Anesthesiology 2022 Equity Champions
Shawn Reynolds, MSPA PA-C, Waliah S. RaKhem, CRA, and Amira Hodzic completed Washington University School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) Equity Champions training and will now serve the Department of Anesthesiology as Equity Champions alongside Scott Markowitz, MD, Enyo Ablordeppey, MD, MPH, FACEP, FCCM, and Erin Herrera, CRNA.

Understanding Systemic Racism

In partnership with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the Understanding Systemic Racism curriculum is an anti-racism professional development program.

The first series of curriculum content is Diversity Modules 1-4. Dates listed below.

Upcoming DEI Events

A message from our Chair

“Systemic racism in our institutions and racial inequality in our society are strong social determinants of poor health and inferior healthcare, and also negatively impact the ability of Black people to train in medicine, generally, and in Anesthesiology specifically. Other social and institutional prejudices, based on factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, health conditions or impairments, gender, and sexual preference, have also had major implications for health and higher educational prospects. Many of these structural inequities have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. In our Anesthesiology Department, and at Washington University School of Medicine more broadly, we are deeply committed to anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. It is hard to challenge deeply ingrained social injustices, and discriminatory institutional cultures have profound inertia. But, today, momentum is building, and many are recognizing that in diversity, there is both strength and beauty. In our department, we strongly reject prejudice, and we embrace diversity; whoever you are and wherever you come from, you are welcome here.”

Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, FCASA, Head of the Department of Anesthesiology

A statement from School of Medicine leadership: Speaking out against institutional racism »