Diversity at Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Uploaded by VanderbiltSOM on 12.08.2010

When you think about Vanderbilt,
I think about excellence.
Vanderbilt has a great reputation across the country
for training great doctors,
and I wanted to be part of that tradition.
There's a lot of enthusiasm at Vanderbilt,
and I feel like that makes us as a medical school,
probably very different from other places.
One of the really extraordinary things about Vanderbilt
is it has this vibrant energy to it.
It's like there's a culture here that's very special
about how people feel about one another in the workplace.
And I actually think diversity at Vanderbilt
reflects a broader commitment to that culture.
You can't walk the walk without talking the talk.
If you don't have students and you don't have faculty
who reflect the diversity of the population,
you can't understand it.
I've been at other institutions,
and they're really smart people
but they're not necessarily nice,
or they're really nice people,
but they're not necessarily smart.
And so I feel like Vandy has the highest percentage of both.
They're really nice people
that love to collaborate.
They're stars in their field.
It's as close to a professional family as you're going to get.
You know, and I love that.
And that's why I'm still here.
I think if we look across the nation,
we see it's a diverse place.
It's not homogeneous.
People have different home lives,
different cultural backgrounds.
And, if we want to be a physician that is competent
in dealing with a number of different patient populations
it's important that we experience that
sometime in our educational path.
I think diversity's huge.
For me, personally, that was one of the factors
when I looked at a school.
And actually, Vanderbilt was the only medical school
that I saw really had that kind of commitment.
And, from day one it allowed me to be a leader,
because they valued my experience,
and they've shown a commitment
to not only respecting my experience
but sort of looking at well how can we do better as a medical center
to improve our patient care.
Once I got here,
I think there was more than enough support for academics,
for extracurriculars, for research,
anything that I really wanted to do.
I like that.
And I think that's one of the biggest reasons why I stayed.
Vanderbilt is now one of the leading institutions in the country
when it comes to trying to understand
why there are disparities in populations.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the African American community,
African American women have a lower incidence of breast cancer, but
they die at a higher rate.
And we're really doing research
in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
to try to understand why that is.
The Shade Tree clinic started as the result of a dream,
actually, of two students.
They had an idea that we needed a student-run free clinic.
And so they came in and had this idea and said, "What do you think?"
And I said, "I think it's a great idae, go do it."
And it's been a remarkable achievement.
The patient population,
30% doesn't speak english,
and all of them are uninsured.
My dream is to be a doctor that works in underserved communities,
working with those who are just tossed aside,
that society doesn't care about.
And I think Shade Tree returns the dignity and respect to people.
We all deserve quality healthcare,
and, you know, at Shade Tree people can get that.
I feel like people have a perception of Nashville,
that, oh you know,
it's in the middle of the South
and it's not necessarily very diverse,
but it actually really is.
I've had to overcome a lot of things when I talk to people about Nashville
You have to recognize
that this is a truly diverse community.
We have one of the largest Kurdish populations,
one of the largest Sudanese populations
in the country, here.
And then we have a lot of diversity
with respect to African Americans and also Hispanics.
We have Tennessee State, Meharry,
a whole bunch of schools that have a large African American population.
And we have to actually educate people
about the breadth of this town.
And this town is becoming one of the coming
international cities of the south.
I think that what is unique about Vanderbilt is
an appreciation of common elements of humanity.
We may come from different cultures,
different backgrounds,
have different life experiences,
we all experience the same emotions.
We experience love and sorrow, and hope and joy.
And these are the attributes that unite us all as humans.
"Frank Zhao."
Match day is the best day of the year for me, personally.
It's just an incredibly exciting day,
because it represents sort of the culmination
of everything they've been working towards.
And they open that letter not knowing where they will land.
"So I'm doing General Surgery
at the University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas." (loud cheers)
There's really nothing that compares.
"I'm going to University of Iowa!" (loud cheers)
"Johns Hopkins!" (loud cheers)
"Mass Gen!" (loud cheers)
"Northwestern!" (loud cheers)
I know exactly what they've done to get there,
and it just feels really good
when you open the letter and see the result of
all of those years of training, all of that hard work,
the dreams they've had.
What I hope the students will do
is accomplish things that are meaningful,
not just for them, but for other people.
I want those students to go out into the world
and not be afraid to be the beacons of change.
And, if our students are doing that,
and if they're pushing the envelope
in a way that's accomplishing meaningful change,
I'll be happy because I know
they'll be fulfilled by that experience.
And I think that is our highest calling.