Department of Medicine

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is committed to enhancing and fostering a culture that promotes the engagement, growth and retention of diverse faculty, scientist, staff and trainees.

The department has aligned its efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion with those of VUMC’s Racial Equity Task Force and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM). These initiatives include the establishment of an active Department of Medicine Diversity Liaison Committee, participation in Second Look weekends for medical students and residents, and support for various pipeline programs such as the AspirnautTM, Vanderbilt-Meharry James Puckette Carter Summer Scholarship, and Undergraduate Clinical Research Internship programs. Working with Kim Vinson, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs in VUSM, our department provides financial support for underrepresented in medicine (URiM) medical students who desire to enroll in away rotations in medicine.

Established in 2021, the Diversity Liaison Committee membership includes one or more representatives from each of the department’s 13 clinical divisions. There are also staff and nursing representatives. The diversity liaisons are responsible for diversity and anti-racism activities in various settings that make up our department. They are encouraged to attend meetings sponsored by VUMC and the VUSM Office of Diversity Affairs, and to coordinate or sponsor area- and division-specific events such as diversity grand rounds, journal clubs and unconscious bias training. The diversity liaisons work with division directors and fellowship program directors to develop strategies to enhance and support diversity and inclusion. As the recommendations of the Racial Equity Task Force are implemented, the diversity liaisons will ensure that our department is fully engaged in anti-racism training and development of a racial equity climate survey.

Recruitment of a diverse resident and fellow population continues to be a top priority for the department. The resident class recruited in the 2023 NRMP Match is 22% self-identified as URiM, and 60% women. This is the most diverse cohort of residents in the department’s 98-year history.

Making Diversity and Inclusion Intentional

Learn more about what action the Department of Medicine has taken to build a culture that recognizes and values the importance of diversity, eqiuty and inclusion in our clinics, labs and classrooms. 

Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion
Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Department of Medicine

Dr. Walter Clair is Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Medicine, and Professor of Medicine at VUSM. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at Meharry Medical College, and previously served as the Executive Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute.

He has received several service awards and distinctions because of his work in the community over the years. He has chaired the Social Action Committee of Chi Boule. Additionally, he has served in several leadership roles with the 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee. In 2012, he received the Levi Watkins Faculty Award for Commitment to Diversity at Vanderbilt School of Medicine. In 2013, he was a national medical spokesperson for the Heart Rhythm Society’s “Arrest the Risk” campaign to increase awareness of sudden death risk factors among minority patients.