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.
We have always been committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for our students, and in the wake of recent events, we have been engaging in new and needed conversations about anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion within our department. We are committed to intentionally cultivating a department environment that is unequivocally anti-racist, where all of our students feel welcome to share, learn, and grow during their experience at the University of Arizona and in the Physiology and Medical Sciences program. Many of our students have dreams to continue into careers in research, teaching, medicine, and many other helping professions. As such, we recognize that we have a responsibility to lead by example and encourage our students to build or strengthen their commitment to being anti-racist and foster an environment of inclusion and diversity.
We join our colleagues in the College of Medicine in encouraging all members of our community to learn about the history of racism and its appearance within the research and medical fields. We encourage you to find meaningful ways to show solidarity and stand against racism and hate in all its forms.
The Physiology Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Collective
The PSIO DEI Action Collective has been meeting regularly this semester and are continuing to refine & actualize our goals. Using SMART goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound), our objectives include reviewing all PSIO materials, presentations, practices for accessibility; developing recommendations for making DEI involvement/training core expectations for staff and faculty; developing and providing a list of opportunities, resources, and training offered through UA and community organizations; examining existing data related to staff and faculty diversity in order to develop recommendations for updating recruitment practices; and many more.
- As of Fall 2020, Safe zone training will now be required for Physiology TA’s
- As of Fall 2020, the DEI work group has Increased awareness of use of pronouns among our department and TA’s.
- In Fall the DEI work group helped to lead the development of content for the new Physiology DEI Webpage on the Physiology website. New content on this page includes a statement from our Diversity champion, links to DEI resources from the COM, and a new DEI events calendar that will have content managed by members of our DEI working group.
- Development of a new course list for general education and elective undergraduate courses related to current events, social justice, and anti-racism. The first list was shared with undergraduate students before the start of the Fall 2020 semester. We will recreate this list each term to share with Physiology students as they register for courses.
- DEI working group meetings and professional development has allowed the advising team to be proactive in inserting critical information to students in weekly advising communications and website (including links to the student emergency fund, campus pantry etc.)
- Plans are underway for professional development and training related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and anti-racism to be considered and expected for faculty and staff in review, tenure, promotion, and professional goal setting situations.
- A list of recommendations was sent to the Physiology Undergraduate Program Director that included DRC content that teaching faculty should review to prepare their course sites, materials and presentations in an equitable and accessible way. Link to recording of the related webinar: Re/Framing Disability
- Through the DEI working group members we have collaborations now that cross over through the undergraduate program, the PS GIDP grad Diversity & Inclusion team, and ODEI and COM through our Diversity Champion.
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 (DEI) Action Collective:
- 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, MA, Student Success and Retention Specialist
- Claudia Stanescu PhD, Director, Physiology Undergraduate Program
- Kate Quinlan, Program Coordinator, Physiological Sciences GIDP
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.
The University of Arizona is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our Wildcat community. We understand that members of our community may experience bias that makes them feel unsafe or unwelcome. When this happens, our institutional values call us to respond with integrity and compassion.
The University of Arizona is also committed to the freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution. While we may not always agree with the ideas and opinions of others, we must honor their right to express them.
Questions about BEST? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who experiences or is aware of discriminatory conduct is urged to report the concern without delay.
There are several ways to submit a report and receive related information, help and resources. 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.
Our Physiology Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Collective created this calendar in order to highlight events that promote inclusion and understanding at the University of Arizona and beyond. If you have any upcoming opportunities you'd like to have listed on our calendar, please reach out to Miranda at email@example.com.
The majority of events are free and open to the public. Check it out!
Recordings of Past Webinars & Other Educational Opportunities
- At the Heart of the Matter: Unmasking the Invisibility of COVID-19 in Diverse Populations
- Pulling at the Heart: Faces of COVID-19 Survival & Ongoing Disparities in Diverse Populations
- Corona-Talks: On the Front Lines of Your Health
- I Can't Breathe: Reflections on Racism, Anti-Blackness and a Path Forward Globally and In Cardiovascular Medicine
- Optimizing the Practice of Cardiovascular Medicine in the COVID-19 Era: Telehealth and More
- Avoiding Heartbreak: COVID-19 Complications and Risk Mitigation in Diverse Populations