College of Medicine Appoints Diversity Officer | News from the FIU

Cheryl Holder, MD, has been appointed Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Initiatives (ODEICI) at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM).

“In his new role, Dr Holder will lead HWCOM in creating new pipeline programs and advocating for inclusion and social justice in all aspects of HWCOM operations,” said Dr Robert Sackstein, Dean of HWCOM and Senior Vice President of Health Affairs.

Holder is a certified internist and HIV specialist who has dedicated her career to serving vulnerable populations. She was one of the first doctors to sound the alarm bells about the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on the African American community and the lack of testing sites in black neighborhoods. She had been acting dean since last year as the college conducted national research.

“I am thrilled to continue the mission of ensuring our communities receive the care they need to achieve optimal health from a diverse and caring workforce,” she said.

In addition to her academic and clinical roles, Holder is president of the Florida State Medical Association, a regional arm of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. She also co-chairs Florida Clinicians for Climate Action.

The ODEICI is also expanded to include a coordinator for career development in biomedical sciences. HWCOM researcher Andrea Raymond has been selected for the newly created position. Raymond, Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology and Nanomedicine, is recognized for her research in the pathogenesis of HIV and has extensive experience in mentoring and training biomedical scientists.

“Together, Dr. Holder and Dr. Raymond will advance the unyielding commitment of the medical school and the FIU to diversity and equity,” said Sackstein.

Earlier this year, US News & World Report ranked HWCOM as the third most diverse medical school in the country. Alpha Omega Medical Company Alpha Honor also honored HWCOM with its 2020 Award of Excellence for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Medical Education and Patient Care.

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