Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Message from our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Champion

The University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine is committed to creating and sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our educational, research, and clinical missions. Diversity and inclusivity are critical to the practice of emergency medicine as we care for and collaborate with people who have various intersections of identity from race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, and many other dimensions. We recognize the value and richness added to our education and patient care when our teams consist of individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. We continually strive to be leaders in our equity and inclusion efforts and to ensure that our environment is one in which our faculty, fellows, residents, students, staff, and patients feel safe, empowered, and supported to reach their full potential.

We are privileged to care for the Tucson community and serve the diverse population of Southern Arizona.

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee is working on the development and implementation of many initiatives for our department. Please check back for updates on our faculty and staff spotlights, resources, and programs as they develop.

Josie G. Acuña, MD
Department of Emergency Medicine Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Champion
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine

Sam Keim, MD

"I am very proud that Dr. Acuña is leading this effort for the Department of Emergency Medicine!  Our missions and objectives will all be stronger if we embrace Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. We must be especially concerned about differences in all aspects of emergency care, including access to care, based on racial, ethnic and socioeconomic factors."
- Sam Keim, MD, Department Head

Natalia Nakajima, DO

"I was an immigrant who felt shame for being different when I was growing up. I was desperately trying to be someone I wasn’t, to be accepted rather than standing out for my curly hair, my dark skin or my language barrier. As female seeking out a career in medicine, I tried to be a bolder person and struggled to be perceived as a future doctor. Today as a physician, I still am in a daily battle to have that profession perceived of me. I also am someone working on addressing my inherent biases as well.

Emergency medicine can actually be a conduit to social change and I think people underestimate that. But in order to cause social change I think we need to be able to empathize with people of all socio-economic backgrounds and I think we can begin by being a diverse group of individuals working in the emergency department."
- Natalia Nakajima, DO

More Testimonials


EM DEI Highlights

  • Dr. Josie Acuña leads the DEI initiatives at the College level as Co-Chair of the COM-T Faculty Diversity Advisory Committee.
  • Dr. Rakesh Chopde serves as Media/Communications Director of the Housestaff Diversity Advisory Committee.

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Members

Josie Acuña, MD -Department Champion

Alice Min Simpkins, MD

Albert Fiorello, MD

Anna Waterbrook, MD

Bradley Dreifuss, MD

Benjamin Co, DO (Fellow)

Jad Dandashi, MD

Haedan Doty, DO (Resident)

Shadd Cabalatungan, MD (Resident)

Danial Gebreili, MD (Resident)

Ashneet Dhillon, MD (Resident)

Holly Tallman, MD (Resident) Champion

Laura Cantu, MD (Resident) Champion

Lindsey Vandergrift, MD (Resident) Champion

Francis Torres, MD (Resident)

Molly Curtiss, DO (Resident)

Veronica Cheng, MD (Resident) 

Samuel Kaplan, MD (Resident) 


Upcoming Events and Past Recordings

FLEXcast/Faculty Affairs podcast

Reporting Discrimination

Anyone who experiences or is aware of discriminatory conduct is urged to report the concern without delay. The Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy strictly prohibits retaliation of any kind against an individual based on reporting a discrimination concern or participating in a resulting investigation.

Institutional Equity Link;  https://equity.arizona.edu/title-ix