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DEI Committee

Meet the members of the Program in Cancer Biology DEI Committee. Our goal is to foster an inclusive, equitable learning environment, to encourage diverse ideas and opinions in the field of cancer biology, and to promote cancer-related career trajectories both within and outside of academia. We condemn racism and expressions of hate, bias and discrimination in all forms.
If any member of our community has experienced harassment or bias, we want to know as part of our efforts to create and sustain an inclusive community. The University Counseling Center is here to help all students who are experiencing high levels of stress during these unprecedented times. For more information about on campus resources and reporting acts of discrimination please reach out to the resources here. Equal Opportunity and Access Office, or visit Vanderbilt University’s website  Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.



What Comes Next? Simple Practices to Improve Diversity in Science, by Steven Townsend


White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack


Making all Black Lives Matter – Barbara Ransby

The History of White People – Nell Painter

The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin

How to be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi

So You Want to Talk about Race – Ijeoma Oluo

White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

Racism without Racists – Edurardo Bonilla-Silva

Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson

The Color of Law – Richard Rothstein

Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad

Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics – George Lipsitz


13th – Netflix

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race

Race Forward – What is Systemic Racism?

How to Be an Antiracist Educator?

We’re in a moment of collective trauma. But there are glimmers of hope – Berkeley Blog

Avoiding Racial Equity Detours – Paul Gorski

Inside Higher Ed – Evidence-Based Action is Required

Inside Higher Ed – Channel Outrage and Disillusionment into Action

Inside Higher Ed – Making Sense of the Senseless

Inside Higher Ed – A Call to Action

Teaching Tolerance – How Can We Build Anti-Racist White Educators?

Colours of Us – 37 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination

Michelle Alexander NYT OpEd


National Equity Project

Teaching Tolerance

Facing History and Ourselves

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (Vanderbilt University Access)

Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (Vanderbilt University Access)

EAB (Vanderbilt University Access)

National Museum of African American History & Culture – Talking About Race



Rachelle Johnson PhD, led the development of two sponsored lecture series featuring URM faculty:
1)  Avery D. Posey PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, Perelman School of Medicine.
2) Dineo Khabele MD, Professor and Chair of the OB/GYN Department at the University of Kansas.
3) Stacey D. Finley, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Quantitative and Computational Biology, and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science from the University of Southern California.

The DEI Committee sent out a survey to evaluate faculty and trainee interest in various activities that would promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dana Brantley-Sieders PhD, Brenda Rios BS and Courtney Edwards BS, are developing more opportunities around alternative career training. They plan to have a seminar series featuring former Vanderbilt trainees, from diverse backgrounds, with student-led informal discussions on the speaker’s personal and professional path to their current position.

Julie Rhoades PhD and Marjan Rafat PhD are working on developing and distributing ongoing DEI training opportunities.

The DEI is planning and developing more volunteer opportunities and mentoring networks, please reach out and join our team.  Also, if you would like more information about the DEI library that has been established, please contact Or we invite you to stop by 1165 C Light Hall anytime to pick up a book from the Library; just leave your name and the book title on one of the index cards on the shelf.



Vanderbilt International Researchers Alliance (VIRAL). International researchers make up a large portion of trainees and scientists in the Biomedical Sciences at Vanderbilt. Despite constituting half the post-docs and a sizeable portion of the graduate students and faculty, our community lacks an integrating body to represent our interests. With this in mind, a group of students and post-docs, with Dr. Vivian Gama and Dr. Marija Zanic, have taken significant steps to create such an organization. We envision providing four main “pillars” of support to the international community here at Vanderbilt:

1) Lobby for the interests of international researchers in a unified fashion across the Biomedical Sciences and other graduate programs. 2) Foster a community where international researchers can find support and interact with others from dispersed labs and departments. 3) Provide transition support for incoming international researchers. 4) Create a more tangible environment where domestic researchers can engage with the international community and understand our unique circumstances as researchers in the US.

Please join the VIRAL community here on Slack.