Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at SLU Dermatology

Diversity Mission Statement

The Saint Louis University Department of Dermatology is committed to fostering an environment of equity and inclusion where all members feel valued and supported. We embrace all dimensions of diversity and welcome individuals from all backgrounds. We are dedicated to promoting equity in the care of our diverse patient populations, in the education of trainees and in research.

Diversity in Action at SLU Dermatology

Dermatology DEI Committee

Members of the Department of Dermatology's Diversity and Inclusion Committee gather at their fall 2022 meeting

Members of the Department of Dermatology's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee gather at their fall 2022 meeting. 

We created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in 2020 to support our diversity mission. Sofia Chaudhry, M.D., associate professor of Dermatology, has been the faculty lead in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within the department. Our current resident diversity champion is Laura Russel, M.D., and prior resident champions were Ashley McWilliams, M.D.; Sino Mehrmal, M.D.; and Daniel Tinker, M.D. The Department of Dermatology DEI committee comprises nurses, physician assistants, residents, faculty, and staff. This committee works to develop DEI initiatives to strengthen our department. We believe that progress is only possible if we include diverse experiences, perspectives and voices in everything we do.

Diversity Book and Movie Club

One exciting DEI initiative has been the creation of a Diversity Book and Movie Club that occurs twice a year. In our book clubs thus far, we have examined structural racism, gender inequality, discrimination against LGBTQ communities, how to be a better ally, the importance of cultural humility, and unconscious bias. These events have been an opportunity for open, thoughtful discussions that help us grow as healthcare providers. Residents, faculty, and staff have enjoyed dialogue and good food while developing ideas for better patient care.  

  • Fall 2020
    Book: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi 
    Film:  Selma (2014)
  • Spring 2021
    Book: Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces by Karen Catlin 
    Film: RBG (2018)
  • Fall 2021 
    Book: Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health by Adrian Shanker
    Film: Philadelphia (1993)
  • Spring 2022
    Book: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman
    Film: Welcome to Shelbyville (2009)
  • Fall 2022
    Book: Blind Spot – Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
    Film: Bias - If you're human, you're biased. Now what? (2018)

Free Dermatology Clinic – SLU Health Resource Center (HRC)

Faculty and students stand in front of the clinic window.

From left, Rylee Moody (M2), Associate Professor Sofia Chaudhry, M.D., and Isra Taha (M2), are ready to welcome dermatology patients at SLU's Health Resource Center. SLU Dermatology provides a monthly clinic at the HRC to serve patients who would otherwise lack access to dermatologists.

In August 2021, SLU Dermatology opened our free dermatology clinic for uninsured patients at the Saint Louis University Health Resource Center (HRC). This monthly clinic provides care, free of charge, for patients who need access to dermatologists. The clinic’s faculty lead is Sofia Chaudhry, M.D. Our first medical student leads were Rylee Moody and Isra Taha, and current leads are Julia Hughes and Brooke McCollum. 

The clinic is truly a team effort, with SLU Dermatology faculty volunteering to see patients for any general dermatology need. In addition, SLU Dermatopathology faculty provide free pathology services and histologic interpretation for patients who need a skin biopsy. In addition, our dermatology residents routinely volunteer at the clinic. The SLU HRC Dermatology clinic is one of the only clinics that offers free dermatology and dermatopathology services in the St. Louis area.  

We strive to provide excellent patient care while working to help address health care disparities. The clinic is framed around mitigating the marginalization of underserved patients and providing affordable medication pathways. Each patient at the HRC also meets with a social worker to assist them in applying for health insurance and to connect them with additional resources. The clinic is located at 1408 N. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, but will soon be moving to an exciting new location in Hyde Park in February 2023. 

Skin-of-Color Dermatology Education 

At SLU Dermatology, we believe it is crucial to prepare our trainees to provide excellent patient care for diverse patients of all skin colors. We routinely care for patients with skin of color in our clinics. In addition, we focus on skin-of-color education throughout our didactic teaching sessions. We also have a dedicated skin-of-color educational initiative in which we continually compile clinical images of dermatologic conditions on skin of color for resident education, with patient consent. Residents also participate in a Skin of Color and Hair Loss clinic run by Kimberly Brown, PA. Residents receive ongoing training on health care disparities affecting people of color and participate in efforts to help address them. 

Community Service at SLU Dermatology 

Here at SLU Dermatology, we are committed to working together as a department to help those in need beyond our clinics. Our SLU Dermatology DEI Committee has led our community service initiatives. 

Spring 2022 - SLU Campus Kitchen

A group of volunteers stand in the kitchen at Campus Kitchen
Dermatology faculty, residents and staff volunteer to prepare meals for those in need in our St. Louis community.

In March 2022, 22 SLU Dermatology residents, faculty, nurses, and staff volunteered their time to cook and prepare over 100 meals for those in need. The meals went to individuals living in emergency shelters, as well as to seniors with disabilities living in our local community.  The food used to prepare the meals was salvaged from nearby grocery stores. By working together as a team, we were able to help make a positive impact on the lives of those in our community. Everyone had such a great time volunteering that we plan to make this a regular event.  

Fall 2022 - Feed My Starving Children Charity

Volunteers wearing hairnets and gloves stand around a counter packing items for meals.

Volunteers from the SLU Department of Dermatology pack meals during the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee's shift at Feed My Starving Children. The group packed 936 meals for shipment to Haiti. from left to right: Jane Romano, RN; Dr. Monica Hessler-Waning (research fellow); Rhonda Lebbing, APRN-BC (research coordinator); Barbara Underwood (medical assistant).

In September 2022, we volunteered to prepare meals for children in poverty around the world during a food-packing event hosted by the charity Feed My Starving Children. SLU Dermatology residents, faculty, and staff came together with members of our St. Louis community to pack meals consisting of rice, soy, vegetables and a vitamin mix. In just one morning, our SLU Dermatology team packed an amazing 936 meals for children in need! The total number of meals prepared that morning by all the teams was 70,632, and the total number of meals packed during the entire multi-day event was 1.1 million meals! The meals we packed that morning were being shipped directly to Haiti, where over 2 million children are in need of emergency relief. Our dermatology volunteers felt fortunate to be able to help in this important humanitarian effort.