Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Department of Physiology shares in the grief, distress, and outrage over the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and many others who have been targeted by violence. We stand with the protests against these horrific acts. Sadly, these are not the only examples of systemic injustice we have witnessed in recent years. The current state of affairs is unacceptable. The Physiology Department stands strong in our commitment to students, staff, and faculty. Everyone is welcome and will be treated equitably irrespective of nationality, race, gender, or beliefs.

A Message from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion

The Department of Physiology at the University of Arizona welcomes diversity of its student, faculty and staff, and strives to provide physical and intellectual spaces where everyone can enter the dialogue and feel included, heard, appreciated and supported. Such an environment is fundamental to the academic success of students and to the further development of the department as an establishment of higher learning. It is also critically important for human life. 

Physiology, the science of function, teaches that life is more than the simple sum of its parts, and emerges from the organization cohesion and cooperation of many dissimilar elements. A physiologist knows the need and benefits of diversity and inclusion, and recognizes the harmful effects that the lack of equity inflicts on an organism. 

Our bodies are made of trillions of cells of varied type and unique forms and functions. Side by side, cells from muscle, brain, skin, kidney, lung, liver or blood – just to name a few – look very different. They display common cell routines, but also perform specific jobs that are linked to their structural features that constitute their contributions to the whole. 

Thus, several cell types combine to form tissues, organs and systems. Within these organizations, every cell provides something important. Various levels of electrical and chemical communication, from cell-to-cell to long-range signals, exist to assure that cells convey their needs, and receive from the organism they build together the equitable resources to support their daily living and their eventual renewal. Survival, growth and performance of our bodies depend on this complex, uninterrupted, precise and strong dialogue between our disparate myriad units. 

The collective work of our “societies of cells” allows us to breath, see, hear, move, swim, run, 

smell, taste, eat, drink, digest, 

secrete, excrete, sweat, pee, 

feel, dream, think, learn, talk, write, 

get together, procreate, care for each other, 

communicate, create culture and, ultimately, build civilizations. 

When groups of cells do not receive the supplies needed for their function and survival, or succumb to the stresses of disease and structural dissolution, the body deteriorates and dies. 

Interventions, such as medical treatments, designed to support and improve the function of vulnerable or injured parts, are at times needed to restore the health of a failing organism. 

Society at large should aspire to the level of cellular collaboration and coordination that we demonstrate by our very existence. It is a matter of life.

José Ek-Vitorín, MD, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Physiology Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Champion


Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group:

  • Miranda Schubert, Academic Advisor II, Chair
  • Jane Comden, Academic Advisor
  • Davina Dobbins, Instructional Specialist, Senior
  • José Ek-Vitorín, MD, PhD, Diversity Champion
  • Jennifer Koehmstedt, Academic Advisor II
  • Stephanie Nguyen, Lab Coordinator, Senior
  • Maggie Ramirez, BS, Student Success and Retention Specialist
  • Claudia Stanescu PhD, Director, Physiology Undergraduate Program
  • Kate Quinlan, Program Coordinator, Physiological Sciences GIDP



We encourage you to find meaningful ways to show solidarity and stand against racism and hate in all its forms. As a team, we will be exploring and learning from many of these resources and we welcome you to do so as well.

University of Arizona Equity, Inclusion & Title IX

University of Arizona Health Sciences Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion-Focused General Education and General Elective Course Offerings


Reporting Discrimination

Anyone who experiences or is aware of discriminatory conduct is urged to report the concern without delay. The Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy strictly prohibits retaliation of any kind against an individual based on reporting a discrimination concern or participating in a resulting investigation.

Office of Institutional Equity