Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives

SMPH Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UW SMPH) is focusing on one goal: to create a community where all learners, staff and faculty feel valued, included and empowered. The UW SMPH is a diverse, inclusive academic community committed to excellence and equity in health, and wellness through teaching and learning, clinical service, advocacy, and research in all forms of biological science, population health science, and health care.

Building Community is at the heart of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s vision of modeling its core values as we train the next generation of healthcare professionals and researchers.

The goal is to improve the learning and working environment at the School of Medicine and Public Health, one in which diversity and inclusion are valued in all aspects of our work. We will create a culture that rewards skillful behavior that exemplifies professionalism, respect, altruism and empathy as we work and learn together. We also are refining and clarifying expectations about accountability for inappropriate behavior.

To learn more about the Building Community project and UW SMPH’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, please visit the Building Community website .

Women in Medicine

The BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine is dedicated to the advancement of women faculty, residents, students and trainees. We are committed to providing exceptional mentoring and professional development opportunities, building a community of women leaders in emergency medicine, and developing resources to support women in medicine and science at all levels.

Azita Hamedani

The Department was first founded in 2007 as a division within the UW Department of Medicine by Dr. Azita Hamedani, and in 2014, after seven years of monumental expansion in its clinical, educational, and research enterprises, the division became a full academic department within the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (UW SMPH) chaired by Dr. Hamedani. Our faculty are passionately engaged in supporting equity for women in medicine and serve in leadership roles to this end, both at the local and national levels. Women faculty from the Department of Emergency Medicine have founded and served as president of the AAMC Chapter of the Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) at UW SMPH, chaired the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEM) and awarded its National Outstanding Mentor Award, and been named a Midwest Woman Leader in Global Health.

And all three of our Vice Chairs—who oversee our Clinical, Education and Research missions—are women faculty.

In addition to ensuring ample clinical, academic, and career advancement opportunities for women physicians, the Department fosters connections through the following initiatives:

Physicians pose for a group photo at the annual Women's Dinner, 2022.Women in Emergency Medicine Interest Group

Women in the field of Emergency Medicine face a unique set of challenges. This informal group within the Department of Emergency Medicine meets every other month to discuss gender bias in emergency medicine, foster gender equity, and develop strategies for both personal and professional success.

Annual Faculty & Resident Women’s Dinner

At the start of each academic year, our women faculty and residents join together to celebrate friendship, mentorship, and the strides that each and every female physician has made throughout their careers.

Annual Women in Medicine and Science Symposium

Dr. Azita Hamedani (center) leads a panel discussion at the inaugural Women in Medicine and Science Symposium, 2019.
Dr. Azita Hamedani (center) leads a panel discussion at the inaugural Women in Medicine and Science Symposium, 2019.

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) successfully held its inaugural Women in Medicine and Science Symposium in November 2019. The program highlighted thought leaders exploring topics in leadership and professional development for women in medicine and science, followed by a networking reception.

The Symposium was set in motion and led by the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Vice Chair of Education, Dr. Mary Westergaard, who also moderated the one-hour panel discussion with women leaders at SMPH. Department Chair Dr. Azita Hamedani served as a panelist focusing on mentorship and sponsorship in academic medicine.

This event was supported by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Office of Faculty Affairs and Development and SMPH Building Community initiative.


LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality

Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index 2022 LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality LeaderUW Health is proud to have been designated as a “Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality” in the in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

The HEI evaluates and scores healthcare facilities on detailed criteria under four pillars:

  • Foundational Policies and Training in LGBTQ+ Patient-Centered Care

  • LGBTQ+ Patient Services and Support

  • Employee Benefits and Policies

  • Patient and Community Engagement

UW Health is amongst only 496 healthcare facilities in the United States, and the only one in south-central Wisconsin, to have earned the 2022 “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation. University Hospital, the American Family Children’s Hospital, and East Madison Hospital were all designated “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” facilities.

SMPH MEDiC Program

Established in 1990, MEDiC is a student-led organization that runs six free health clinics throughout the Madison area. MEDiC aims to improve the health of the underserved in the Madison area while also enhancing the education of University of Wisconsin-Madison health professions students.

Dr. Berbee and residents volunteering at the Southside MEDiC Clinic
Dr. Berbee and residents volunteering at the Southside MEDiC Clinic

SMPH MEDiC Program
EM faculty and residents volunteer four times each year at the Southside MEDiC Clinic. The Southside MEDiC Clinic was established in November of 1992 under the direction of Cindy Haq, MD, in response to medical student interest in expanding clinical volunteer opportunities.

In early 2014, the clinic moved to its new location at 2202 S. Park St, Madison, WI, where it operates out of the Joyce and Marshall Erdman Clinic, a space generously donated by Access Community Health Centers.

The Southside MEDiC Clinic is currently the only clinic that sees walk-in patients. Most of the patients seen at Southside are adults without medical insurance who come from a wide geographic area. Many are undocumented immigrants with limited options for health care. An increasing percentage of the patients seen at the clinic speak only Spanish, although patients come from a variety of backgrounds.

Civic Health

Our emergency departments offer patients, visitors, and staff the opportunity to register to vote on-site in our ED waiting rooms through a nonpartisan, noninterruptive ED-based voter registration initiative called VotER.

The VotER program plays an important role in addressing the social determinants of health by meeting potential voters where they are and by supporting the 51 million citizens who aren’t registered to become more civically engaged.

We are proud to be among the first emergency departments in the nation to offer such a service and help lead a growing number of EDs across the country who are joining this critical public health initiative. COVID-19 has taught us that it’s never been more urgent to connect the dots between civic engagement and healthcare because not doing so misses the opportunity to use this moment to create a better healthcare system post-COVID19 that will stand strong in the face of the next crisis.

Unlike previous hospital-based voter registration programs, VotER is fully online via iPad kiosks and QR code-enabled “healthy democracy kits”, and it does not require direct staff involvement in voter registration. The program is entirely voluntary and nonpartisan, and interested patients can be directed to the kiosk if they have questions. Providers and staff are educated on VotER talking points and Wisconsin’s voter registration requirements so they can feel empowered to answer patients’ questions.

Centennial Scholars Program

The goal of the Centennial Scholars Program is to develop faculty whose diversity enhances the quality of education and research at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and who may serve as visible and available role models for students and trainees, especially those from underrepresented minority backgrounds.

The BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine wholeheartedly supports this program and works with faculty & administrators to fully support participating faculty for work on Centennial Scholar-related activities.

The Department is honored to have one current and two alumni of the Centennial Scholars Program:

Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi

Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN (2022)

Dr. Gilmore-Bykovskyi, associate professor of emergency medicine, is a mission-driven health services researcher committed to promoting effective, meaningful, and equitable care and research for people living with and at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). Her goal is to identify and effectively intervene on structural and health system barriers to optimal ADRD-specific care and patient/caregiver-centered outcomes.

Much of Dr. Gilmore-Bykovskyi’s research has focused on addressing these priorities among vulnerable populations at high-risk points in the health and care continuum, such as during and after emergency department care and hospitalization and in advanced disease stages. She has led advances in ADRD health services research that have stewarded new areas of investigation surrounding ADRD-specific care delivery patterns and outcomes and established frameworks to advance research equity and inclusion.

Dr. Gilmore-Bykovskyi also serves as Associate Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine and founding Deputy Director of the UW-Madison Center for Health Disparities Research.

Michael Mancera, MD (2015)

Dr. Michael Mancera received his medical degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2009. He completed an emergency medicine residency at Grand Rapids/Michigan State University, then undertook a fellowship in emergency medical services at Indiana University.

Mancera joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2013, and became a Centennial Scholar in July 2015. As a Centennial Scholar, Mancera created an educational program focused on prehospital medicine for all levels of learners and later went on to establish the first accredited EMS fellowship program at the University of Wisconsin.

Vanessa Tamas, MD (2015)

Dr. Vanessa Tamas received her medical degree from the University of California in San Diego in 2006. Following medical school, she completed a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

As a Centennial Scholar, Tamas worked to create a pediatric EMS curriculum for the EMS system of Dane County. Tamas joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2013 and became a Centennial Scholar in July 2015. She is now an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of California San Diego and an attending physician at Rady Children’s Hospital.