Towards a Culture of Inclusion
The Diversity Office at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
by Lisa M. McBride, PhD, chief diversity officer
The Diversity Office at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine was established in March 2013. The
service-oriented office is dedicated to:
- Providing the PCOM community with the leadership necessary to advance the College’s commitment to fostering a learning environment in which the rights of all are respected;
- Encouraging the PCOM community to become personally involved with enriching the College’s campuses and building the College’s intellectual strength through the support of enhanced diversity and pluralism;
- Reaffirming the College’s commitment to equity and social justice through the promotion of understanding, tolerance and respect for others; and
- Ensuring that the practices and policies of the College are equitable and afford all members of the community an opportunity for full participation.
- Since its inception, the Diversity Office has launched several initiatives to increase diversity awareness in the PCOM community, including:
- Obtaining Board of Trustee approval of the Policy Statements and Compliance Procedures on Equal Education and Employment Opportunity and Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) policies;
- Implementing the President’s Diversity Council at PCOM and hosting its inaugural meetings on both the Philadelphia and Georgia campuses;
- Attending the Southern Regional Education Board’s Compact for Faculty Diversity Conference in Arlington, Virginia, to recruit potential students and faculty members;
- Being featured in Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine (October 2013);
- Creating a Cultural Competency Five-Part Lecture Series for first- and second-year DO students in Georgia, and hosting a world-renowned gynecologic surgeon (gender surgery) Marci Bowers, MD, for a College lecture;
- Creating a Campus Climate Survey Work Group that will assist with assessing the needs of the campus community; and
- Conducting training sessions on the Americans with Disabilities Act, unlawful harassment and discrimination awareness and prevention, sexual harassment awareness and prevention, Title IX and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
The creation of the Diversity Office is the first step in modernizing and enhancing PCOM’s diversity and equal opportunity programs. While the College will continue to build a strong and independent compliance system that ensures that employees and students are free from discrimination, the new approach also will promote efforts that build connections among people that enriches the educational experience and strengthens the workplace.
The Diversity Office is staffed by Lisa M. McBride, PhD, chief diversity officer, and Alisha L. Carter, MS, program coordinator.
Dr. McBride, a St. Louis native, was sought by PCOM for her extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity. She previously served as special assistant to the president for equity and diversity and university ombudsperson at California University of Pennsylvania. Dr. McBride began her career as a police officer with the St. Louis Police Department in Missouri, and then transitioned to a federal criminal investigator, including work as an overseas undercover operative in several countries. She is experienced as an impartial dispute resolution practitioner. Dr. McBride earned her doctor of philosophy degree in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University and her master of science and bachelor of science degrees in criminology from Indiana State University. Her goals for PCOM are to work to enhance cultural competency skills for students, assess how the College provides care to diverse populations in culturally competent ways and seek means to increase the number of underrepresented students.
In July 2013, Dr. McBride was joined by Ms. Carter, who arrived from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education where she served in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Compliance in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Ms. Carter is experienced with institutional compliance, faculty and student recruitment efforts, employment training programs, multicultural programming and employment grievance investigations. She holds certifications as a Title IX investigator and grant writer fellow and in HIPAA compliance. Ms. Carter has a bachelor of science degree in justice studies and a master of science degree in legal studies from California University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Carter will be responsible for coordinating PCOM’s Title IX and the Campus SaVE Act program, working with student government organizations in planning diversity/cultural awareness events, and coordinating compliance efforts.