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Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Saint Louis University School of Medicine is committed to the importance of diversity. We seek to immerse SLU's medical students and graduate medical residents in a training atmosphere that prepares them for the practice of medicine in a multicultural America.

Four medical students stand behind a classmate who is seated and working at a computer. Students are smiling.

The mission of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) is to raise awareness, inspire action, and support equitable education and employment while cultivating a culture of diversity and inclusion at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. 

Our focus areas include:

  • Strengthen diversity recruitment and retention efforts
  • Develop and promote internal talent
  • Create and support mentoring programs
  • Offer diversity education and training opportunities
  • Increase collaboration between Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the St. Louis community
  • Foster the Jesuit tradition - agents of change who work to bring about a more just, humane world

For more information, contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 314-977-9904 or

About Us

Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI)

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) was established as a part of an institutional improvement plan. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion oversees the School of Medicine’s efforts to promote inclusion for the medical school community. Programs, events and initiatives are designed to raise awareness, inspire action, support equitable employment and cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Welcome from the Chief Diversity Officer

When matters of diversity, equity and inclusion are nurtured throughout the entire institution, everyone benefits. It is a social and medical imperative that our health care systems, including academic/training settings, be diverse and inclusive for people from all backgrounds. There are many of us here at Saint Louis University’s School of Medicine working hard to ensure that every person in every community receives high-quality, equitable and safe care. To do that, we must work hard to eliminate health care disparities that continue to exist for far too many racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse individuals. This goal can be achieved in part by recruiting and supporting a highly qualified and diverse student/trainee body and workforce. My office is here to help encourage a campus climate that lends itself to the aforementioned aspirations. 

Our goal is to serve the entire Saint Louis University School of Medicine community with a special focus on populations that have been identified as underrepresented in medicine. We do this by proactively championing the importance and value of a diverse and inclusive campus climate and by working with institutional stakeholders to assess potential barriers to recruiting and retaining a diverse student/trainee body and workforce.

The work of diversity, equity, and inclusion will reach its full potential when it can be seen and felt at all levels of the institution; it must be a part of the fabric of the place. That takes all of us working together toward a common goal: diversity, equity and inclusion.

Together, we can!

Meet the Team 

The barriers that impact underrepresented populations are real. The solutions that mitigate those barriers must also be real, tangible and sustainable. As a medical community, we have a responsibility to proactively confront the barriers that have been associated with healthcare disparities. A part of the solution is to train and support underrepresented healthcare providers. My office exists, in part, to facilitate the recruitment and successful matriculation of those who are underrepresented in medicine.

Katrina Wade, M.D.
Headshot of Katrina Wade

Interim Dean for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Katrina Wade, M.D., has served Saint Louis University for more than 24 years as an emergency medicine physician, faculty member and mentor. She is a professor of emergency medicine in the Department of Surgery and an associate professor of pediatrics. She has trained countless students, residents, paramedics and firefighters. While working as an attending physician, she also volunteered at the Health Resource Center, which served the underserved population of St. Louis. 

Wade’s list of accomplishments is long and includes awards such as The John H. Gladney, M.D. Diversity Award, the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians R.R. Hannas Emergency Physician of the Year Award, Faculty Choice for Outstanding Preceptor Award, and the list continues. 

Wade is a passionate advocate and looks forward to furthering the DEI work in the School of Medicine. 

Michael T. Railey, M.D.
Headshot of Michael Railey, M.D.

Associate Professor Emeritus

Michael Railey, M.D., is a native St. Louisan who graduated from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1972 and completed his medical school training in 1976 at the University of Missouri. 

He began his academic teaching career with the St. Louis Family Residency Program at Forest Park Hospital. He was the first family medicine clerkship director at Saint Louis University and has also been the chief medical officer for St. Louis County. 

Railey served as the dean of diversity and student affairs for 10 years and continues his work with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at SLU School of Medicine as a professor emeritus in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He has written book chapters, magazine articles and journal publications in the areas of obesity, stress management without drugs, and health disparities in the St. Louis area. He remains committed to community service and is currently involved in collaborations with the St. Louis Board of Education, the African American Aldermanic Health Foundation, and other community outreach organizations. 

W. Maurice Redden, M.D.
Dr. Redden

Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Maurice Redden, M.D., received his undergraduate degree in biology from Winston-Salem State University, in North Carolina. He then went to Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University for his medical degree. Following medical school, he completed his adult psychiatry residency at Wake Forest University. Finally, he moved to St. Louis to pursue his geriatric psychiatry fellowship training at Saint Louis University.

He began his career in academic medicine, where he is now an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where he also specializes in geriatric psychiatry.

He remains enthusiastic and extremely passionate to decrease the negative mental health stigma and disparities, in all patient populations but especially aging minorities.

Tim Murrell, Ed.D.
Headshot of Dr. Timothy Murrell

Program Director, Pipeline Development and Student Engagement

Tim Murrell, Ed.D., is the program director for pipeline development and student engagement at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. In this role, Murrell develops programs to increase our pipeline by creating and maintaining relationships with various historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-servicing institutions. Murrell also focuses on developing relationships with local high schools to increase awareness of the medical field and opportunities for underrepresented-in-medicine students to explore. He supports current students, oversees our mentoring program, and provides emotional and academic support.

Prior to joining Saint Louis University, Murrell served as the inaugural principal of The Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers and as the Topeka Public School District’s Coordinator for Career and Technical Education (CTE). In addition, he worked for several years as a teacher and administrator for the St. Louis Public Schools. Included in his work over the years, Murrell has collaborated with postsecondary partners to provide learning opportunities that promote inclusion for high school and college students, as well as staff. Murrell holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies, a master’s degree in the administration of justice and human relations, a master's degree in educational leadership from SLU School of Education and a doctoral degree in educational leadership. A former U.S. Army Military Police company commander, he has taught criminal justice at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

Esmeralda Aharon, M.A. 
Esmeralda Aharon

Program Director, Staff and Community Engagement

Esmeralda Aharon is the program director of staff and community engagement for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. In this role, she collaborates with hiring managers to attract and retain underrepresented individuals. She supports the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by developing and maintaining recruitment pipelines and retention programs for underrepresented minorities, focusing on senior-level staff and managers. Additionally, she connects and engages SLUSOM with the St. Louis community to mitigate health care disparities. She supports the Institute for Vaccine Science and Policy with consultation germane to their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Most recently, she led the efforts that resulted in several English and Spanish webinars about COVID-19 vaccines.

Prior to joining SLU, Aharon served as the director of plans and programs for the Office of the Command Chaplain, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Illinois. Aharon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Workforce Education and Development and a Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education. She is a decorated combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Aharon is experienced in community outreach, religious accommodation, and resilience training. She collaborated with the Community Action Teams and Suicide Prevention, helping agencies with programs regarding accommodation, diversity, equity, and inclusion for 136,000 employees in Air Mobility Command.

Valerie Lovelock
Headsot of Valerie Lovelock

Executive Assistant to Katrina Wade, M.D. 
Interim Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer

Valerie Lovelock is the executive assistant to the vice dean and chief diversity officer at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. In this role, she plans and directs all administrative, financial, and operational activities for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She manages the department's diversity training program, supports recruitment and retention programs, and provides oversight and guidance to various committees at the School of Medicine. In addition, she works closely with the chief diversity officer to develop and implement new initiatives for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Prior to joining our team, Lovelock devoted her time to her family, homeschooling all three of their children. She also worked in various roles as a volunteer for her church, serving as the children’s ministry director, teacher, church administration, youth team, community engagement, and many other church-related projects. She serves as the education director for her home church. Lovelock served as the volunteer coordinator for the SLU virtual visit site in Old North St. Louis and continues to serve the community as a board member for the Old North Restoration Group. She served many years on a local homeschool group board as their membership and programming leader. Before leaning into full-time homeschooling, she studied and worked at Barnes Jewish Hospital as a registered medical assistant caring for post-surgical patients and as a phlebotomy technician. She is a full-time student pursuing her master’s degree in organizational leadership. She lives in St. Louis City and her passion for this community is evident through her dedication over the last 25 years of serving the community alongside her husband and children. 

Breanna Wright
Headshot of Breanna Wright

Administrative Assistant  

Breanna Wright is an administrative assistant for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As an administrative assistant, she supports the team's general office efficiency, supports the program directors, assists with programs run by the office, and provides guidance to various committees. Also in this role, she leads in creating marketing items, an overview of the Canvas page and website for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.    

Prior to joining the team, she attended Lindenwood University where she received her bachelor's degree in elementary education. After graduating she taught third grade for one year in St. Charles School District. While teaching, she also served on numerous committees dedicated to school improvement. Wright actively served in various volunteer roles in her church community including the youth team, children's ministry and creative arts. She is thrilled to be involved in the bettering of DEI at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.