by Kathy Whitney
Lourdes Estrada, PhD, associate professor of Biochemistry, has been named assistant dean for Health Equity Education, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, effective Feb. 1.
In this role, she will work to develop and expand initiatives that integrate core principles of health equity into VUSM’s health sciences educational programs, with an initial primary focus on the MD education program.
“We are excited to have Dr. Estrada assume the role as our first assistant dean for Health Equity Education. Her passion for and dedication to issues related to health equity, as demonstrated by her work within our Medical Scientist Training Program, make her an ideal fit for this new role,” said Donald Brady, MD, executive vice dean for Academic Affairs.
Estrada will work to advance VUSM’s reputation as a national leader in threading core principles of health equity into the medical school curriculum.
“Health inequities have become intractable; thus, we must better prepare physicians and physician-scientists to address the social and structural factors that contribute to these inequities. In this new role, Dr. Estrada will lead efforts to embed health equity competencies and content throughout the medical school curriculum, which is an essential component of our VUMC Racial Equity Plan,” said Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, Senior Vice President and senior associate dean for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Estrada will contribute to the intellectual expansion of curricular and programmatic efforts focused on social determinants of health, antiracism, antibias, and intersecting systems of oppression. Specific efforts will include:
- Integrating health equity, anti-racism and anti-bias throughout the undergraduate medical education (UME) curriculum.
- Co-leading the Graduate Certificate in Health Equity.
- Working with VUSM leaders to increase the capacity of faculty to discuss social determinants of health, structural racism, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and the origins of health inequities while teaching in non-clinical and clinical settings.
- Reviewing reports of racism, discrimination and bias in educational materials and developing programs in response.
- Serving as an active member of appropriate UME curricular committees and serving in a consulting role and sharing content expertise with standing curriculum groups.
- Serving as an active member of the Office of Health Equity (OHE) leadership team, participating in monthly OHE meetings, the annual OHE retreat, and strategic planning as needed.
“Lourdes is an outstanding medical educator and leader. Her impact on the VUSM Curriculum 2.0 is immeasurable. Over the last 10-plus years, she has worked tirelessly to help guide the design and implementation of our post-clerkship two-year Immersion Phase. Her keen insights, listening skills, and ability to always ask the necessary questions set her apart from other leaders and allow her to be extraordinarily effective,” said Bill Cutrer, MD, MEd, associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Estrada said. “It is essential that we prepare our future leader physicians and physician-scientists with the knowledge and skills to address and dismantle systems of oppression that perpetuate health inequities and lead to negative health outcomes for historically marginalized populations. I look forward to learning and partnering with our faculty and students to make a tangible difference.”