Commitment to Diversity

“Brown Dermatology: Celebrating the beauty of diversity and welcoming people of all backgrounds”

Mission Statement

Brown Dermatology is dedicated to establishing and upholding diversity, equity, and inclusivity within not only our community of healthcare professionals, but also our patient population and the world beyond. Our vision is of a welcoming and supportive environment in which caregivers, learners, and patients of all backgrounds and identities can thrive. Our mission is intentionally and actively to promote a culture of accepting, respecting, and valuing differences, with the concrete goals of 1) attracting, retaining, and promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce, 2) providing optimal dermatologic care to all members of our community, including those who have historically been underserved, and 3) training culturally sensitive providers not only skilled in the treatment of skin of color patients, but also invested in outreach to improve health disparities. 

In support of its mission, Brown Dermatology is engaged in: 

  • Launching specific educational programs for faculty, staff, and trainees to raise knowledge and awareness of issues surrounding diversity and inclusivity 
  • Initiating recruitment measures aimed at establishing and sustaining diversity at all levels 

  • Working with faculty and staff on outreach measures for underserved patient populations, including the development of specialty clinics devoted to such groups 

  • Identifying, encouraging, and supporting scholarly activities that advance the field of research in diversity and inclusivity 

Our Commitment to Diversity

The Brown Department of Dermatology has a history steeped in inclusivity and diversity. Charles J. McDonald, M.D., the founder of the department, was among the first African-Americans to chair a dermatology department in the US. He began his dermatology journey in Rhode Island in 1969 and remained committed to training minority students for over 40 years.

The dermatology residency training program continues to serve a culturally and socioeconomically rich community and to advance diversity and inclusion within the healthcare field. The program warmly welcomes applicants from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, including sexual and gender minorities. 

Residents play a critical role alongside attendings in the department’s Diversity CommitteeThe committee works together to launch or enhance diversity initiatives within the department, including: 

  • Holistic residency application review 

  • Dedicated diversity segments of departmental meetings 

  • Skin of Color (SOC) lecture series and emerging SOC clinic 

  • Diversity in Medicine Visiting Student Scholarship

  • Monthly Diversity Happy Hour

At Brown, other groups working on diversity initiatives include: 

Visiting Medical Students Scholarship 

Brown Dermatology and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODMA) are proud to sponsor the Diversity in Medicine Visiting Student Scholarship. Qualified underrepresented minority (URM) students are selected to receive this scholarship to do an away rotation with the Brown University Department of Dermatology. To learn more, please visit our linked webpage. 

Monthly Diversity Happy Hours 

This is intended to serve as a safe space for discussion and is co-hosted by BMHA/BSGMA with separate breakout sessions for URM and LGBTQ+ applicants. Both applicants and current residents/fellows are invited to participate. Meetings are at 7pm on the first Friday of the month with current schedule as follows: 10/2, 11/6, 12/4, and 1/1. Please email Program Director, John Kawaoka, MD, at [email protected] for more information. 

Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODMA) 

The Warren Alpert Medical Schools Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODMA) provides support for diversity in residency programs affiliated with Brown University. Joe Diaz, MD, serves as the Associate Dean for Diversity and has been instrumental at providing training and educational programs to residents and faculty. 

Brown Minority Housestaff Association (BMHA) 

The Brown Minority Housestaff Association (BMHA) is a resident/fellow-run organization that helps promote diversity and inclusion within the hospital and graduate medical education communities. Every year, the organization sponsors lectureships and community outreach opportunities in which housestaff can participate. Residents can serve as mentors to rising medical students as they navigate choosing a specialty and applying for the match. BMHA works closely with the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.  

BMHA Contact: Matt Anderson PGY5 ([email protected])  

Email: [email protected]  

Instagram: bmhabrownuniversity  

Brown Sexual and Gender Minority Alliance (BSGMA) 

The Brown Sexual and Gender Minority Alliance (BSGMA) is an organization devoted to education, advocacy, and support for sexual and gender minority trainees and faculty affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Membership is open to any and all trainees, faculty, and students regardless of identity or orientation.  

BSGMA contact: Erin Baroni, MP PGY4 ([email protected]) 

Email: [email protected]  

Facebook: facebook.com/brownSGMA  

Instagram: brownsgma 


Brown Dermatology Diversity Committee Members

Elnaz Firoz, MD, Co-Chair 

Su-jean Seo, MD, Co-Chair 

Lionel Bercovitch, MD 

Renata Dalla-Costa, MD (resident) 

John Kawaoka, MD 

Shadi Koroush, MD 

Helena Kuhn, MD 

Regine Mathieu, MD (resident) 

Nicole Negbenebor, MD (resident) 

Abrar Qureshi, MD 

Leslie Robinson-Bostom, MD 

Mahroo Tajalli, MD (clinical research fellow)