Release Date: July 13, 2012
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, chair of the University at Buffalo's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has been named the inaugural senior associate dean for inclusion and cultural enhancement in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She will continue to serve as chair of the UB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.
In making the announcement, Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the medical school, said: "In addition to being an outstanding scientist in molecular pharmacology and drug discovery, Dr. Dubocovich has the expertise, administrative leadership and visionary skills needed to develop and implement through the new Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement innovative programs that insure the school and the university are enriched through cultural enhancement."
Cain explains that the new post was established in line with the school's diversity policy, which seeks inclusion and cultural enhancement as a means toward achieving excellence for students and faculty, enriching the learning environment, strengthening the school's ties to nearby communities and contributing in measurable ways to improving the health of the community.
"Diversity within medical school classes enhances the educational environment," he said, "by helping students to break down stereotypes and racial biases and challenge assumptions; broadening students' understanding of how language and culture affect medical care; teaching how embracing differences in race, ethnicity and other cultural experiences can enhance interactions between doctors, patients and their families; increasing students' awareness of health and health care disparities in nearby populations; and increasing students' interest in service to underserved communities and overall civic commitment."
In 2008, Dubocovich was recruited to UB from Northwestern University, where she had founded and directed a highly successful professional development program for a diverse group of doctoral students in the biosciences.
In her first full year in Buffalo, she established a similar series of programs at UB, called Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences (CLIMB), which provides mentoring experiences for biosciences students at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels. The goal is to provide students from diverse populations the support they need to adapt and thrive in the biosciences, in college, graduate school and beyond.
This year, the program for graduate students, led by Dubocovich, was awarded a $1.9 million National Institutes of Health Initiative for Maximizing Student Development grant.
Cain said that the CLIMB programs complement the medical school's other innovative Post-Baccalaureate Program and Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) initiatives.