History

The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODMA) has a rich history and many people, both past and present, have been involved in this very important work of diversity and inclusion

Established in 1976 as the Office of Minority Affairs, upon the recommendation of the division-wide Committee on Minority Affairs, the office got its start under the (part-time) direction of Mr. Levi Adams, former associate provost of Biology and Medicine

In 1977, Mr. John McLain was appointed as the first minority affairs officer and during his tenure from 1977 – 1980 Brown awarded 13 MD degrees to underrepresented minority (URM) students which constituted 7% of all MD degrees awarded at Brown during that time period

In 1981, Mr. A. James Powell was appointed as the first full-time minority affairs officer and after an administrative reorganization in 1985, the officer position became a coordinator role

In 1988, James “Jim” Wyche, PhD was appointed associate dean for minority affairs in the Division with the charge of overseeing minority faculty hiring and graduate program development

Under Dean Wyche’s direction the Summer Research Early-Identification Program (SRE-IP) was established along with the Minority Faculty Fellowship Program in 1989

The SRE-IP gave URM undergraduate students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) an opportunity to conduct summer research at Brown; this effort later evolved into The Leadership Alliance whose Executive Office has been housed at Brown since its inception in 1992

From 1989-91, Leslie Rawlings-Pona served as coordinator for minority affairs and later as officer from 1991-1996

In 1996, the Division revised the officer role and added the responsibility of providing support for URM students in the Program for Liberal Medical Education (PLME) and appointed Alicia Monroe, MD as associate dean for minority medical affairs who served until 2008

In 2008, Emma Simmons, MD, MPH was selected as assistant dean for minority medical affairs with responsibility for overseeing the URM medical student population and served in this capacity until her departure in 2011

In 2011, Jabbar R. Bennett, PhD was selected associate dean for diversity, and director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in the Division of Biology and Medicine, and charged to lead and coordinate diversity initiatives for medical and graduate students, faculty and trainees within the Division including the Program in Biology and The Warren Alpert Medical School