Diversity center for med school opens in Lane Library

The Diversity Center of Representation and Empowerment, or CORE, provides a space where any member of the Stanford Medicine community interested in issues of inclusion and diversity can hold meetings or just hang out and study.

Dean Lloyd Minor shakes hands with Tawaun Lucas at the Oct. 2 opening of the medical school's Diversity Center of Representation and Empowerment.
Steve Fisch

When Tawaun Lucas began his graduate studies in 2014 at the School of Medicine, he said he wished there had been a place where he and other minority students could congregate in times of need for support, a physical space for companionship and comfort.

On Oct. 2, the School of Medicine celebrated the opening of just such a place on the ground floor of Lane Library. The Diversity Center of Representation and Empowerment, or CORE, provides a location where any member of the Stanford Medicine community interested in issues of inclusion and diversity can hold meetings or support groups, or just hang out and study. It includes a space for prayer and meditation.

Promoting diversity and inclusion are essential for achieving the goals of Stanford as a world leader in medicine and the biosciences, Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, said in remarks at the center’s opening.

 “We know that in less than a decade, the minority populations in the United States will be the majority,” Minor said. “We have to represent the population we serve.”

Minor added he believes it’s part of his role to work toward these goals “to make us a better community, country and world.”   

Students listen to speakers at the opening of the diversity center.
Steve Fisch

The School of Medicine allocated $10,000 for renovation of the space where CORE is housed, said Mijiza Sanchez, EdD, associate dean for medical student affairs.

Lucas was one of five students who advocated for a diversity center and then worked to make it a reality after Minor committed funds for it.

Last summer, concerned about the climate in the country at a time when headlines were dominated by shootings of unarmed black men by police and protest rallies, Lucas said he and fellow students Dorothy Tovar, Shanique Martin, Gabriel Washington and Osama El-Gabalawy joined together to work toward more inclusivity on campus and to provide a welcoming environment for its underrepresented minorities.

In the fall of 2016, the five delivered a list of recommendations to the dean, Lucas said. The dean responded immediately to the recommendation to create a diversity center.

At CORE’s official opening, the dean and others spoke about the need to continue to work toward goals of diversity on campus and the fundamental rights of treating others with dignity, respect and compassion.

“We all struggle to make sense of the world today,” Minor said, noting the recent shootings in Las Vegas and hurricane damage in Puerto Rico. “This community represented by CORE will help us grapple with the issues of today.” He also thanked the organizing committee that brought the concept of the diversity center to him.

 “These principles are bigger than medicine,” said El-Gabalawy, a second-year medical student and one of the founders of the center. “But they are arguably the most important in medicine because we not only have to treat patients from every walk of life, but we are entrusted with the most sacred thing of all: their lives.”

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