Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Our department is committed to creating, pursuing, supporting, and advancing initiatives and research to promote accessibility and representation in the field of biostatistics and beyond. Leena Choi serves as vice chair of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and Mario Davidson as associate vice chair. 

Ongoing programs/initiatives

The Vanderbilt Biostatistics Summer Internship Program for Underrepresented Undergraduates

The 2024 cohort page will be updated soon with photos from the students' June 14 presentations. Visit the 2023 and 2022 pages to read about the first two years of the program.


For this program, underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, statistics, and biomedical fields include individuals who identify as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander. These groups also include students from lower-income households and first-generation college students.

Ethical Responsibilities Regarding Race in Research – Study Group

Race, in the words of Dorothy Roberts, "is a political category that has staggering biological consequences because of the impact of social inequality on people's health." How, then, should we as biostatisticians use race and related constructs in our analyses? We meet monthly to discuss and learn. For more information, contact Laurie Samuels.

The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research (BMSF-AACR) Design and Implementation of Clinical Trials Workshop

Read about the 2021 workshop at its AACR page and its mentorship component in the January 28, 2022, issue of Cancer Letter. Professor and chair Yu Shyr is a course director, and associate professor Mario Davidson on the invited faculty roster; Shyr and Davidson are both Academy for Excellence in Education members.


Resources and Opportunities

CDC Guidance on Preferred Terms for Select Population Groups & Communities

Equitable Language in Pragmatic Trials Reference Sheet

Provost's Graduate Fellowships (PGF)

The Graduate School offers these fellowships to incoming U.S. citizens and permanent residents from diverse backgrounds who intend to pursue a PhD degree. Each award provides a $5,000 stipend awarded as a supplement to any other funding that is offered to the applicant and is made for a period of up to three years. At the end of the third year, with continued academic success, eligible PhD students with approval from their home department and the Graduate School will receive up to 2 additional years of support from Harold Stirling Vanderbilt funds in the Graduate School. The Provost's Graduate Fellowship carries the status of Russell G. Hamilton Scholar. Current PhD candidate Julia Thome is a recipient.

VUMC/VUSM (School of Medicine) Office for Diversity Affairs

VUMC Office of Diversity and Inclusion

VUMC Office of Health Equity (with the OHE Antiracism hub

The Institute for Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group

The purpose of this working group is to educate and inform the IMPH community on topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The group partners with the Office of Health Equity, Office for Diversity Affairs, and other groups across VUMC to synthesize and communicate scheduled events, speakers, and activities occurring across campus. The group hosts events and activities to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion and to raise awareness of organizational activities and discussions. 
To join this working group, complete the two-minute IMPH REDCap survey.  


Resources for Inclusive Excellence at Vanderbilt

This extensive directory of links is maintained by the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. The page also contains links to funding to promote and support diversity.


American Medicine and Our Racist Traditions

This lecture by Linda Rae Murray, MD, MPH, FACP, was delivered on December 16, 2021, as a Vanderbilt School of Medicine Grand Rounds presentation.


Past projects

The 2024 ICSA Applied Statistics Symposium

Chaired by professor Cindy Chen and associate professor Dandan Liu, the symposium welcomed nearly 500 participants from academia, government, and industry to Nashville in June 2024. A $20,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation Division of Mathematical Sciences supported the participation of graduate students, early-career researchers, and members of underrepresented groups (the association and symposium welcome participants from a variety of backgrounds). 

useR! 2022

Our department was heavily involved with organizing the 2022 global conference for R users. Working to make the conference both physically and economically accessible to participants around the world was a top priority for the team, as was encouraging a wider spectrum of contributors. Some of these efforts can be seen in the accessibility guidelines for prospective presenters and in the publication of updates in multiple languages, with gender-inclusive phrasing when feasible; the slate of tutorials included offerings in English, French, Spanish, Polish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. Registration featured pricing tiered according to country income.