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Embrace Diversity and Inclusion

MUSC is a national model for a diverse & inclusive community.


Our Recent Strides in Diversity and Inclusion

Forbes Recognizes MUSC As National Leader In Employer Diversity

Business powerhouse, Forbes, has named the Medical University of South Carolina to its list of America’s 2018 Best Employers for Diversity. MUSC is ranked #53 out of 250 organizations on the list and is in the company of brand giants such as Google, Starbucks, Walt Disney, The Smithsonian Institute, Harvard University and Procter & Gamble among many others. In fact, MUSC ranked above top national brands such as Nestle, General Electric, IBM, Verizon, Boeing, Johns Hopkins and The Gap, to name a few. You can see the full, ranked list at Forbes partnered with the research firm Statista to “compile the definitive list of the best employers for diversity in America,” according to the magazine’s website. More than 30,000 U.S. employees took part in the survey answering questions related to diversity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability ethnicity. Responses from minorities, women and people over 50 were given additional weight. You can read more about the methodology of the survey at This important recognition is perfectly aligned with, and a true testament to, our commitment to our Imagine MUSC 2020 goal of embrace diversity and inclusion. We can all be proud knowing that we are part of an organization making real progress toward meaningful culture change and that we are indeed, becoming a national model for what living D&I looks like.

Other Recent Highlights

In December, 2017, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce named MUSC recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award in the category for medium and large businesses.

In 2017 MUSC was awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from Insight into Diversity, it’s the only national diversity award for higher education.

The American Association of Medical Colleges ranks MUSC in the 97th percentile among medical schools with the most African-American graduates.

MUSC ranks in the 95th percentile for medical schools preparing physicians to care for patients of different backgrounds. 

In 2016, MUSC Health was named a leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

All new employee orientations includes an introduction to our diversity goals and values.

All leaders are required to complete diversity education and training annually.

Every college has a designated faculty liaison for diversity

Over the past two years, MUSC invested in one of the most well-respected, totally anonymous employee engagement surveys available. The annual survey compiles the collective thoughts and feelings of more than 9,500 university and hospital team members. Selected results from the 2017 survey are an accurate and reliable reflection of what the MUSC workforce thinks.

  • 93 percent of employees agreed with the statement that MUSC is respected in the community.
  • 92 percent of MUSC team members said they are proud to tell people they work for this organization.
  • 91 percent of employees said they would recommend MUSC to family and friends who need care.
  • 89 percent of team members said MUSC values employees from different backgrounds.
  • 82 percent of employees would recommend MUSC as a good place to work.
  • 81 percent of team members said they would like to be working at MUSC three years from now.
  • 80 percent of MUSC employees said the person they report to cares about their job satisfaction.
  • 79 percent of MUSC team members said overall, they are satisfied employees.  
  • 78 percent of employees agreed that there is a climate of trust within their specific work unit.

MUSC is on track to spend $52 million with small- women- and minority-owned businesses during construction on the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion and will spend $13 million with African-American-owned businesses in phases 1 and 2 of construction. Read more:

MUSC Health has increased the percentage of African-American nurses by 7 percent to 11.2 percent in less than two years.

Enterprise-wide, there is a 4-hour diversity training requirement for students, administrators, and other faculty and hospital leaders. First-year students in all six colleges participate in a seminar during the first several weeks of the fall semester to satisfy this requirement.

MUSC has increased the number of diversity and inclusion education opportunities, in-person/classroom, and webinars by 54 percent and the number of program participants by 36 percent.

The Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program in MUSC’s College of Graduate Studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health, recruits diverse students to the biomedical sciences to better address and reduce health disparities.

The Minorities in Medicine program is a partnership with College of Charleston Admissions bringing mentors and other resources to prospective underrepresented minority medical students.

In 2016, MUSC supported 23 projects to help recruit underrepresented minorities into health professions and science, technology, engineering and math careers.

MUSC Health was named in 2016 a leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization. 

The DIAL program allows patients who speak Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Portuguese, or French to order meals in their native language.

Kids Eat Free at MUSC has served 10,000 meals to children at risk for hunger during the summer since the program began in 2015.

MUSC hosted the Inclusion to Innovation Summit: Diverse Pathways to Organizational Excellence in November 2017.

MUSC students donate about 16,000 hours of volunteer service to our community annually. Since 1993, more than 9,500 MUSC students have donated 330,000 hours to about 125 local organizations. At today’s value of $23.07 for every volunteer hour, that’s more than $7.6 million that MUSC students have given back to Charleston.   

MUSC scientists such as Ann-Marie Broome are training researchers of the future, including a large contingent from Burke High School, through an extensive internship program.

An MUSC faculty member launched the first Charleston chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, which is the first professional chapter of the group in the U.S. The chapter is the first to incorporate multiple organizations and institutions located throughout a professional community.

Services Coming

Every day, we continue to explore ways to provide care to our patients in a more effective and efficient manner, striving to meet or exceed regulatory guidelines and always treat our patients and their families with respect. Given the increasing demand for interpretation services for our patients with limited English proficiency (LEP), patients who are deaf or hard of hearing or those who are visually impaired, we have secured a tool that will help members of the care team provide immediate access to interpretation services via a cart-on-wheels (COWS) and through an application on an iPad or laptop for off-site clinics.

This resource will be in addition to our existing in-house team medical interpretation team for our patients on the main campus.

Fifty (50) COWS will be distributed to areas with a history of high utilization of interpretation services.Over the coming weeks, we will work with nurse leaders to coordinate deployment, education and training. We expect to complete the roll of these resources by early fall.

Exploring Unconcious Bias - January 6, 2017 

A message from Anton Gunn, chief diversity officer, MUSC Health

Several studies confirm that people harbor unconscious biases even when they explicitly believe that prejudice and discrimination are wrong. So how does this happen? Our brains are bombarded with over 11 million pieces of information per second but we are only able to process 40 pieces of information per second. The rest of this information is stored in our subconscious and is used to help us make snap judgments, whether good or bad, or whether we like it or not.

Unconscious bias impacts how we feel about everything from gender, race, age, weight and religion and it serves as a survival mechanism that help us make decisions based on instinct rather than logic. Unconscious bias also may allow us to form stereotypes and assumptions about certain groups of people or encourage us to seek information that confirms pre-existing beliefs or assumptions about certain groups of people.  

Learn more at


MUSC Celebrates Black History Month and Recognizes Our Many Employees Who Are Changing What’s Possible and Leading Health Innovation for the Lives We Touch

Gwendolyn Fleming

Clinical Information Desk Supervisor, Patient Transport

Who are your role models?
Former First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama. I admired both of them for their service to others.

What do you enjoy about your role at MUSC?
Being of service. I love people. I actually extend, "Welcome to the Medical University" to families at Rutledge Tower who travel in for services. I enjoy providing comfort to families, a shoulder, a hug and tissue if needed, words of encouragement. I love it when patients and families tell me, "It’s good to see you,” “You are very kind," or "Thank you for your help." That's very satisfying.

What are your interests or pursuits outside of work?
I am studying Public Administration - graduate work. When I am not working or studying, I love taking day trips, as close as Myrtle Beach or just a bit farther to Jacksonville Beach.

What are your plans or hopes for the future?
I have worked more than 10 years in the hospitality industry in Charleston, South Carolina. Someday I would like to be a Tour Guide.

Tell us about your family life and upbringing
We are a Retired Air Force Family - Raised in Georgia. I’ve lived in Charleston more than 30 years. It’s home. My parents have always been my inspiration-hard workers. They taught me how to love myself first and then share your blessings with others. My mother insisted that her children focus on higher education - part of my summers were spent in summer school, Vacation Bible School, and my home was filled with books and magazines. She meant it!


Marvella E. Ford, PhD

Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences
Associate Director, Population Sciences & Cancer Disparities, Hollings Cancer Center
SmartState Endowed Chair, Cancer Disparities Research

What is your Hometown? 
I grew up in Plattsburgh, NY in the Adirondack Mountains, about one hour from Burlington, VT and Montreal, Quebec. Plattsburgh is a very rural, dairy-farming region, with a population of 31,859.
I grew up on the peninsula of Cumberland Head near Lake Champlain and developed a great appreciation for the calming benefits of living near the water.

Tell us about your role at MUSC and how long you have been here.
I have been on the faculty of MUSC since May 2005 (about 13 years). 
I am currently: Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences
Associate Director, Population Sciences and Cancer Disparities, Hollings Cancer Center
SmartState Endowed Chair, Prostate Cancer Disparities, South Carolina State University

What do you love about what you do?
I grew up without any grandparents. They had all passed away by the time I was born. Their absence in my life was a great loss. I love conducting applied cancer research and disseminating cancer prevention, screening, and treatment information that could help people to live longer, healthier lives, and to have more time with their families.

What inspires you?
My mother passed away in August of 2000. She was the smartest person I have ever met. Several people in my family have IQs in the “genius” range. Even though my mother was never tested, I believe she also had a very high IQ. Thinking of my mother inspires me to work harder because I know that if she had been given the same opportunities that I have, she would have soared professionally, and she would have used her position to help others. Instead, she helped to lay the foundation for me to achieve some measure of success in helping others through applied research, which I do in her honor.

What are some of your Interests in the community or outside of work?
I teach Sunday School to 12-17 year olds at my church, the Charity Missionary Baptist Church, where the Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III is the Pastor. I was a former trustee, and am now becoming a deacon at the church.
I also enjoy working out at the MUSC Wellness Center, where I take Zumba, ballet barre, strength and conditioning training, and Pilates classes.

What are your plans for the future?
Through my work at the Hollings Cancer Center, I plan to:>

  • Continue to develop strategies to increase rates of HPV vaccination and smoking cessation in South Carolina.
  • Expand cancer research training programs for underrepresented students, starting with high school students
  • Continue disseminating cancer information to medically underserved communities across the state
  • Continue working with South Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities to develop and implement programs to enhance their students’ entry to graduate and professional schools
  • Through a recently-awarded NIH/NCI U54 grant titled “South Carolina Cancer Disparities Research Center,” expand work with South Carolina State University to increase the diversity of participants in cancer clinical trials, and to conduct translational research

Natalie G. Johnson, MA

Assistant Dean for Diversity Affairs, College of Medicine

What is your hometown?
Charleston, SC

Tell us about your role at MUSC and how long you’ve been here.
I am the Assistant Dean for Diversity Affairs within the MUSC College of Medicine and I have spent 10 years with the COM Dean’s Office and 18 years all together at MUSC.

What do you love about what you do?
Working with others to enhance Diversity within the College of Medicine, beginning with the pipeline all the way to faculty. I love having the pleasure of being in the lives of medical students, observing their accomplishments throughout medical school and observing them become physicians.

What inspires you?
Seeing the passion in others to succeed truly inspires me. This inspires me to go above and beyond to help others reach their goals and obtain success.

What are some of your interests outside of work?
Spending time with my family, preparing Lowcountry cuisines along with cake decorating and working with youth.


Dante L. Pelzer, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Student Diversity - Student Programs & Student Diversity

What is your hometown?
I’m a native of Charleston, SC

Tell us about your role here at MUSC and how long you have been here.
I have been with MUSC for seven months. I work in the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity as the Assistant Director for Student Diversity

What you love about what you do?
I love the opportunities I have to connect and engage with our students. I enjoy the open and honest dialogue I am able to have with students about their academic and personal journeys and how I can assist them with future aspirations.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the resiliency our underrepresented students demonstrate each day has they continue to break down walls and change the narrative about what is possible.

What are some of your interests in the community or outside of work?
Currently, my main interest outside work is being the best husband and father I can be. It's important that my daughter sees Black love and know that she is loved unconditionally.

What are your plans for the future:
As I look to the future, my plan is to continue working for what's right and just.


Chris Powers, MSM

Manager of Recruitment and Diversity Education, College of Medicine

What is your hometown?
My hometown is Kansas City

Tell us about your role at MUSC and how long you have been here.
I’m Manager of Recruitment and Diversity Education in the College of Medicine and I have been at MUSC slightly over a year.

What you love about what you do?
I love mentoring and coaching prospective medical students to the point of achieving careers in medicine.

What inspires you?
Seeing someone who has beaten all the odds and still fulfilled his/her dreams.

What are your Interests in the community or outside of work?
I love public speaking and empowering people to reach their full potential.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to use whatever talents, skills and abilities I may have to create positive change and motivate others around me.

Who are some of your Black History Role Models?
Martin Luther King Jr, Dr. Charles R Drew, Dr. Ernest E Just, Professor Frank Coleman, Dr. Oscar J Cooper, Bishop Edgar A Love


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