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 SOC clinic 

  • Diversity in Medicine Visiting Student Scholarship

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. 

Diversity Happy Hours 

This is intended to serve as a safe space for discussion. Both applicants and current residents/fellows are invited to participate. Please see the Diversity Happy Hour flyer below or 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.  

Email: [email protected]  

Instagram: bmhabrownuniversity 

The Brown Minority Housestaff Association would like to invite all self-identified underrepresented in medicine (URiM) applicants to our recruitment Happy Hours! These events will take place via Zoom at 7PM on the following dates: 
November 4, 2022
January 23, 2023
For this year's Happy Hours, we would like program directors to invite all of ther applicants who are self-identified as ethnically underrepresented in medicine.
During these Happy Hours, the emphasis will be placed on life in Rhode Island as a person of color and show how BMHA can support PoC residents and fellows at Brown. We do not intend for these meetings to focus on the specifics of any given specialty; so we do encourage programs to host their own resident-specific diversity forums.

Meeting ID: 666 166 3099

Passcode: brown1968
We are happy to answer any questions that programs may have! Please direct them to [email protected] 
Brown Minority Housestaff Executive Board 

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.  

Email: [email protected]  


Instagram: brownsgma 

Brown Dermatology Diversity Committee Members

Su-jean Seo, MD, PhD, Co-Chair Diversity Committee, Vice Chair of Education
Elnaz F. Firoz, MD, Co-Chair Diversity Committee, Medical Director, Miriam Hospital Dermatology, Director Skin of Color Clinic
John Kawaoka, MD, Dermatology Residency Program Director 
Abrar Qureshi, MD, MPH, Chairman Department of Dermatology
Leslie Robinson-Bostom, MD, Director of Medical Student Education, Director of Dermatopathology
Lionel Bercovitch, MD, Director of Pediatric Dermatology
Steve Glinick, MD, Director of Contact Dermatology
Asha Gowda, MD, Chief Resident
Thinh Chau, MD, PGY4 resident
Alexandra Leonard, MD, PGY4 resident
Mayra Maymone, MD, PGY3 resident
Leila Shayegan, MD, PGY3 resident
Sara Yumeen, MD, PGY3 resident
Laura Burns, MD, PGY2 resident
Esther Henebeng, MD, PGY2 resident
Fatima Mirza, MD, MPH PGY2 resident
Eunice Arias, Lead Medical Secretary
Jaime Longval, MS, Manager, Academic and Research Affairs

Resources links:

Implicit bias:

Implicit Association Test

Implicit Bias Module Series from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity


See below for documents


Skin of Color Society

Brown Minority Housestaff Association

Brown Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

New MedEdPORTAL collection of anti-racism resources for educators

MedEdPORTAL,the open-access journal of the AAMC, has created a collection of resources to provide educators with practice-based, peer-reviewed content to teach anti-racist knowledge and clinical skills and elevate the educational scholarship of anti-racist curricula. The new resources will support a community of collaborators dedicated to the elimination of racism in medical education

Faculty Professional Development on Diversity and Inclusion from Brown