Lecturer in Residence: Yewande Austin

Every human being is born with a blueprint that was uniquely designed for them. Society has conditioned us to see those inherent differences as flaws. But those 'differences' are as invaluable as the facets in a diamond. The deeper the cut, the brighter the shine.

– Yewande Austin, Founder of Global Institute for Diversity and Change

Lecturer in Residence: Yewande Austin



Schedule of Events

Town Hall Forum – Yewande Austin Keynote Address and Panel Discussion


MPC Commons Theater 4:30-6:30PM

"Blurred Lines: Race, Gender and Culture at VCU"

Join us for this open discussion about the roles that history, media and culture play in perpetuating harmful stereotypes, divisive behavior and unconscious bias in and outside of the classroom. “Blurred Lines” will engage students in critical dialogue about how to embrace our differences and foster inclusive environments in a world plagued by the "isms" that so often keep us apart. The keynote address, presented by Yewande Austin, will be followed by a panel discussion with a group of professionals that reflect a spectrum of our diversity.


Diversity Leadership Luncheon Series

MPC: FEBRUARY 4 Forum Room, 18 Richmond Salon III, 25 Forum Room; MARCH 4 Forum Room and 18 Richmond Salon III; APRIL 1 Forum Room and 15 Forum Room 12:00-1:00PM

MCV: FEBRUARY 3 in Larrick, Jackson Ward and MARCH 3 12:00-1:00PM in Kontos 104-105

"HumanCare: Humanity vs. Healthcare"

This lecture series is designed to prepare Pre-Health and Health Sciences students for academic and professional success. Factors such as discrimination and micro-aggression often interfere with student's academic experience, so how can they be expected to be socially and culturally competent professionals?  Each workshop will address a range of issues from conflict resolution and best ethical practices to gender and religious diversity. Health Diversity Certification will be offered to undergraduate students that attend a minimum of 5 out of 7 luncheons and health professional students that attend 2 out of 2 luncheons.

*Email Yewande at ykaustin@vcu.edu to RSVP and be guaranteed a lunch.


Interprofessional Education Lectures

Ongoing- Email Yewande at ykaustin@vcu.edu to request a guest lecture

"The Art of Change"

Many of today's students aspire to secure careers that are both socially rewarding and financially stable.  Interprofessional education is a growing trend in academia that is helping students to achieve both goals and Virginia Commonwealth University is leading the movement.  By teaching students how to collaborate across disciplines in the calssroom, IPE fosters more innovative and competitive professionals in the global health marketplace.  Lectures will be presented to classes that reflect a cross-section of studies from the arts and engineering to education and technology.  Professors- Please notify Yewande Austin at ykaustin@vcu.edu if you would like your class to participate.


Health Professional Guest Lecture Series

MPC: MARCH 2 in Harris 2108, MARCH 25 in Harris 2123, and APRIL 9 in Harris 2135 from 4:00-5:30PM

MCV: MARCH 2 & 25 and APRIL 9 in the Jackson Ward Room, Larrick Student Center from 12:00-1:00PM

The purpose of these luncheons is to bring speakers that represent a growing population of some of the very patients that are often victimized in healthcare because of their “differences.”

Dr. William Cooper, Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Dr. Cooper earned his medical degree at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, MO and completed his general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery residencies at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  He is a Lieutenant Colonel – Medical Corps in the United States Army Reserve.  He will share experiences working in cardiovascular surgery and discuss the importance of communication in the patient-doctor relationship.  Learn more about Dr. Cooper and his accomplishments here.

Kassey McClure, Sex trafficking survivor and founder of 4 Sarah

Sex trafficking has become a growing issue in Virginia. Hundreds of boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 18 are sexually exploited every day. If they're lucky enough to escape or to be rescued, healthcare workers are often their very first point of contact. Most, however, innocently re-victimize these patients because they simply aren't trained to know the facts about the industry, signs of abuse and kidnapping, nor the correct process to report these cases to authorities while providing survivors with quality healthcare.

Kristi Merriweather, Deaf Educator

Every day, patients that are deaf or hard of hearing die unnecessarily and even lose loved ones, because most hospitals aren't equipped with deaf interpreters or equipment to translate their healthcare needs. Kristi would share first hand accounts of the challenges that she and the deaf community experience fighting for quality healthcare in a world that all too often can't hear their cries. She would also give students a basic sign language lesson and teach effective techniques used to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing patients.


Closing Luncheon and Refletion

MPC:  APRIL 22 in the Student Commons, Forum Room 12:00-1:30PM

MCV:  APRIL 23 in Larrick Student Center, Jackson Ward Room 12:00-1:00PM

“Excellence in Diversity”

Join students, faculty and staff to honor participants during the closing event of our diversity residency. Students who earned a Health Diversity Certification will be awarded them at this time.


Virginia Commonwealth University
Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences
Division for Health Sciences Diversity
Contact us
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