“People’s hearts and eyes were opened,” program facilitator Elizabeth Levine, MA, the assistant director of the organizational development and leadership program at PCOM Georgia, said. “Participants had to have a willingness to let that happen.
In some cases, it required putting aside momentarily or letting go of some long-held
beliefs. I really admire folks who are willing to be a bit uncomfortable while learning
She added, “They felt that professionally it was something they needed to do, and
many came to realize it was beneficial overall. Based on what participants reported,
I believe everyone left feeling more comfortable in supporting and working with members
of the LGBTQIA community. That’s great news. That’s exactly what Aisha (DeBerry, the
director of diversity and community partnerships) and I were hoping for.”
The program’s mission is to promote acceptance and awareness of the diversity of gender
identity and sexual orientation on campus, to provide a community of allies for lesbian,
gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual/allied (LGBTQIA)
people, and to provide evidence of and visibility for the support of LGBTQIA people
and their allies within the PCOM community.
At the final ceremony and luncheon, program participant Shafik Habal, MD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, said, “I am positive students
feel more comfortable talking to me now because I work harder to accommodate them.”
The goals of the program include providing participants with a common foundation for
the understanding of developmental, social and emotional experiences of LGBTQIA persons
and promoting a common understanding of the language associated with persons who identify
In addition, one of the goals is to clarify the role of an ally in general and at
PCOM, and facilitate discussion of the “coming out” process and stages of development.
The program also works to provide opportunities for self-reflection of personal issues
regarding the topic of LGBTQIA people.
Administrative Services and Events Manager Kim Lucier said, “It was great being part
of the first graduating class of this program. I found it to be a very safe, comfortable
environment where you could ask questions to learn more about this topic. I feel like
I received top notch training on this very important issue.”
Bridget Bexho, experiential education credentialing coordinator at the PCOM School of Pharmacy, said, “We created several ground rules for our class such as being respectful, honoring
confidentiality, keeping an open mind, not passing judgment, staying curious and being
empathetic. I am glad to have gone through this program as I gained valuable information
through our discussions and lessons. I am also very proud to be an ally and happy
to provide a safe place for whomever I cross paths with both here and outside of PCOM.”
DeBerry, a co-facilitator of the program, credited PCOM’s Chief Diversity Officer
Marcine Pickron-Davis’ leadership with moving the course forward. “It was something she was very committed
to,” DeBerry said.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
For more information, contact: Barbara Myers Senior Public Relations Manager Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: