Niki Delis ’22 DMSc, PA-C
DEI PA Medicine Faculty Committee Chair
Hello! My name is Niki Delis, and I am the chair of the University of Lynchburg PA Medicine program’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. Prior to becoming a PA, I worked as an intern with the Office for Inclusion and Diversity in my undergraduate career, and as the Diversity chair for my PA school’s student society. I also serve on the DEI Initiatives Task Force at the University level, and I serve as an Equity Advocate. In Spring 2022, I will serve as the committee chair for the University’s IEC College Action Plan committee, and I serve on the Virginia Academy of PAs DEI committee. During my career as a PA, I have seen firsthand the disparities in care and outcomes across different races, ethnicities, and social determinants of health, and this became a call to action.
Here at the University, the PA Program’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee works to foster and promote an inclusive environment for our students, and to train PAs who hold the tenet of providing inclusive and affirming care to all patients at the forefront of their practice. We also work to recruit students from a variety of different backgrounds. Representation matters in all things, and exponentially so in health care. If you are a prospective student, we hope you will join us and become the provider you had that made a difference to you in a time of frailty, fear, and need; and if that is not your experience, we hope you will join us and become that provider for your future patients.
DEI PA Medicine Student Committee Chair
Hello! My name is Dominique Tarrant, and I am the student chair of the University of Lynchburg PA Medicine program’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. I am a first-year student in the University of Lynchburg PA Medicine program, and what attracted me to this program was their unwavering commitment to recruit, educate, and mentor PAs from diverse backgrounds to become compassionate healthcare providers.
As a first-generation minority PA student in my family and accounting for the 3.25% of Black/African American PA students, I understand the importance of diversity, representation in the profession, and being an advocate for my future patients to help improve the quality of care and access to all. I am in a unique position as a first-year Diversity Committee Chair as I am getting to know the program’s students, faculty, and staff.
As the Diversity Committee Chair, I have been working with the committee over the past few months to brainstorm new diversity outreach ideas, create events, educate ourselves on the culture of various holidays and the history behind them, collaborate with outreach initiatives in the community, and continue the initiatives already established before me by educating ourselves about the historical and current issues regarding racism and diversity.
My main goals for this year are to have a career outreach fair for junior and senior high school students attending Lynchburg City Schools to educate them about the profession as well as recruit diverse students into the profession, create a safe space for difficult conversations as well as a space to grow and learn to become more aware of the issues surrounding the healthcare profession. Additionally, to continue to discover new ideas for including more diversity in our education, embracing, and honoring our differences, advocacy, committee bonding events, service events in our community, and always letting the promotion of diversity fuel us as students and in the PA profession when we become health care providers.
The committee for this year is just getting started! We have a virtual webinar that we will attend on anti-racism through the PAEA, collaborate with the Outreach Committee to participate in a Day in the Park with the Junior League of Lynchburg, host a Fall Potluck lunch for students, faculty, and staff in the fall at the PA Medicine building, and will continue to send out emails on holidays and observance days to students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to apply for grants through the University and other organizational grants and will be working to continue the tradition started by the previous student chair to plan a diversity conference for the Spring of 2024 for the PA Medicine program to have another opportunity for all three cohorts, faculty, and staff to become educated about racism, discrimination, the importance of advocacy and diversity, and to become aware of our own biases to improve in these areas.
The diversity committee has a steadfast commitment to becoming the utmost compassionate, considerate, empathetic, and all-inclusive human beings who will advocate for what is right not only for our future patients but in this world that is divisive at its core. This generation of healthcare providers, I believe will be catalysts for transformative change not only in our greater Lynchburg community but also in the places we will practice as PAs after graduation.
“Our glorious diversity – our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds – that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are.” – Michelle Obama