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Sealy named to VUSM diversity leadership role

Jan. 26, 2017, 9:28 AM

Linda Sealy, Ph.D., has been named associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Basic Sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Linda Sealy, Ph.D.
Linda Sealy, Ph.D.

Sealy, who has been on faculty since 1986, is associate professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Cell and Developmental Biology and Cancer Biology.

Since 2007, she has served as co-director, then director, of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD), a National Institutes of Health-sponsored grant for the graduate training of underrepresented minorities (URM). Under her leadership, the IMSD program has propelled Vanderbilt to the top echelon of institutions training minority Ph.D.’s. Over the past dozen years through the IMSD program and her own research lab, she has taught and/or mentored nearly 150 URM students at all phases of their pre-graduate/graduate training.

With her guidance the IMSD program at Vanderbilt has become multi-faceted, offering a supportive student community, leadership training, science outreach, academic support, career development and extensive, careful mentoring at all stages.

Vanderbilt was recently identified as the top producer of African-American Ph.D.s in the U.S. in biological and biomedical sciences. Her advocacy for holistic admission in graduate recruiting has been recognized nationally as a critical advance in expanding the pipeline of graduate students to include underrepresented minorities.

“Linda has done a tremendous amount to enhance diversity and inclusion at Vanderbilt. Her use of holistic approaches for graduate admission has helped propel Vanderbilt to a leading position in the training of underrepresented minorities. She has worked tirelessly to make this a welcoming and supportive environment for graduate training,” said Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., dean of Basic Sciences and Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research.

“Linda has many exciting ideas and a lot of energy so she is a great addition to our leadership team. I’m really looking forward to working with her.”

Sealy has won numerous awards for her contributions to diversity in graduate education, including the Levi Watkins Jr. Faculty Award for Promoting Diversity and the inaugural Bishop Joseph A. Johnson Jr. Distinguished Leadership Professor Award, named for the first African-American to be admitted to and graduate from Vanderbilt University.

“I am excited about this opportunity because we can expand our efforts to create an inclusive community not only for our graduate students but also for our faculty and for our post-doctoral trainees, making it a much broader, all-encompassing effort at many levels,” Sealy said.

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