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It’s my great pleasure to take on the post of Assistant Dean for Diversity and Learning Environment here at Chicago Medical School. It feels like a good fit. CMS is where I went to medical school, and where I have held academic positions in the department of ophthalmology since 1993. Through the years I have served on many local and national commissions and tasks forces addressing healthcare disparities. Now it feels like time for me to be giving back by helping to make CMS an even better place than before.

All of us who go into medicine are motivated by wanting to make the world better. An important place to start is by addressing the gap in the kind of health care that exists for far too many people. Ours is a diverse population, and the rate of change is accelerating. However, culture and language affect people’s beliefs about health, healing and wellness, as well as how they perceive illness, diseases and their causes. These differences impact the behaviors of people needing medical care and their attitudes toward health care providers. The providers themselves may be hampered in delivering care by their own cultural assumptions and limited experience with people of different backgrounds. Such things compromise patients’ access to care. To address the challenge, today’s medical schools must prepare new physicians to meet the future needs of our patients and communities.