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Advisory Board

Linda Sealy

Dr. Linda Sealy

Dr. Linda Sealy has been actively involved in addressing the disparities in Ph.D. degrees in biomedical sciences awarded to underrepresented minorities for over 20 years. As a biomedical researcher, she has had a long standing interest in Cancer Biology and Ras signaling, dating back to when she first characterized the ErbB oncogene as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Nobel laureate, Mike Bishop. Her laboratory at Vanderbilt focused on the study of transcription factors, particularly C/EBPbeta and its role in controlling senescence or growth and metastasis of breast cancer cells. Through her own students, including both African American and Hispanic women who obtained their Ph.Ds with Dr. Sealy, she learned first hand of the difficulties URM students face in preparing for and persevering toward a Ph.D. degree. Dr. Sealy has been part of the IMSD program since its inception at Vanderbilt as a postbac program in 2000. In 2007, when the Vanderbilt IMSD program transitioned to a graduate program, Dr. Sealy served as co-director and most recently, director. Over the past dozen years through the IMSD program and her own research lab, she has taught and/or mentored nearly 100 URM students at all phases of their pre-graduate/graduate training. She is particularly proud of the effort began in 2007 to transform graduate admissions from a numbers-based process to a holistic one. Under her guidance the IMSD program at Vanderbilt has become multi-faceted, offering offering academic support, leadership training, career development, and extensive, careful mentoring at all stages.

André Churchwell

Dr. André Churchwell, Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) for Vanderbilt University and Chief Diversity Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. André L. Churchwell is a renowned cardiologist and health care leader who has advanced equity, diversity and inclusion at both Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He stepped down as vice chancellor for outreach, inclusion and belonging and chief diversity officer at the university effective June 30, 2023, and transitioned to a new role within the Office of the Chancellor as senior advisor on inclusion and community outreach. In this new role, Churchwell will draw on his deep experience and personal commitment to diversity and inclusion to advise the chancellor and engage on a range of issues affecting the Vanderbilt and broader Nashville communities.

Churchwell, who holds the Levi Watkins Jr., M.D., Chair and is a professor of medicine, biomedical engineering and radiology and radiological sciences, will continue in his role as a faculty member. He also will continue his responsibilities on the Medical Center’s clinical staff, caring for patients of the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, as well as his roles on numerous boards and committees both on the Vanderbilt campus and across the nation.

Dr. Churchwell is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Churchwell graduated magna cum laude from the Vanderbilt School of Engineering, and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He was the first African American Chief Medical Resident at Grady Memorial Hospital from 1984-1985. He completed his internship, residency and cardiology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine.

In 1991 Dr. Churchwell joined the faculty at Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine. Currently he is professor in medicine, radiology, biomedical engineering, and cardiology. He previously served as VU’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, and served in various leadership roles rising to the Chief Diversity Officer for VUMC and Senior Associate Dean for the School of Medicine. His current role is Senior Advisor to the Chancellor on Inclusion and Community Outreach.

His awards include the Walter R. Murray, Jr. Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Association of Black Alumni, the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award for the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering, and the 2023 Diamond Award from the Not Alone Foundation. Modern Healthcare named him one of its Top 25 Diversity Leaders, 2023, and he was named Associate Editor, Circulation.

Dr. Churchwell was named to “The Best Doctors in America” 2010-2013, awarded the Professional Research Consultants’ Five-Star Excellence Award—top 10% nationally for “excellent” responses for medical services. In 2014 was named among the Top 15 Most Influential African American Health Educators by Black Health magazine, and in 2022-2023 he was named one of Becker Healthcare’s “Black Health Care Leaders to Know.” He was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2016.