Dear Colleagues-Friends,

October marks Global Diversity Awareness Month, which serves as a time for us to recognize and celebrate the positive impact diverse voices have within our school, our community and our society as a whole. It also is a time to reflect on the obstacles and barriers that keep many from achieving true equity as well as the steps we can take, as an academic medical center and as individuals, to make real and lasting change.

Kevin Harris We are delighted to share that our colleague, Dr. Kevin Harris, who serves as our school’s inaugural senior associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, will present our second annual DEI lecture on Monday, Oct. 25 from noon – 1 p.m. All are welcome to attend this livestreamed event, which will be hosted at The lecture also will be recorded and posted on the same website.

This event is one way our School of Medicine community continues to engage in the pivotal conversation regarding the path forward in sustaining an inclusive and equitable work and learning environment. During his talk titled “Diversity Imperative: Establishing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as Drivers of Excellence,” Dr. Harris will reflect on the circumstances that led to the development of the inaugural senior associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion role; report on the many activities and foundational efforts in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion that have been accomplished over this past year; and provide a glimpse of what is yet to come as we marshal our collective ingenuity toward advancing our position in this space.

To learn more about our action plan and the steps we are taking to foster a welcoming community that supports and values people of all cultural backgrounds and life experiences, I encourage you to visit our School of Medicine’s DEI website.

We hope you will join us for this meaningful discussion on Oct. 25. There also are a number of other opportunities to recognize the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion taking place across our campus and health system this month. An overview of these events can be found on the VCU Health website. I hope you will take the opportunity to participate in these important sessions.

With all good wishes,

Pter F. Buckley, M.D.; Dean, VCU School of Medicine; Executive vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System