By Wendy Sarubbi | May 27, 2016 7:00 am

Two M.D. students talked about how a session on generational differences helped them communicate better with patients during their rotations. A staff member discussed how to move past “us vs. them” thinking. The presentations were part of this year’s College of Medicine Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Diversity Champions program, designed to help faculty, staff and students better engage in an increasingly diverse world.

CDI recognized seven colleagues May 10 as 2016 Diversity Champions. Honorees participate in bimonthly Lunch and Learns on topics including from gender identity, diversity in thinking and cross-cultural mentoring and then made presentations to the CDI on what they learned from the experience. Recently, the council expanded the program with even more programs.

“We want the College of Medicine to be a place where everyone can grow, learn and thrive,” said Dr. Lisa Barkley, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, who began the initiative. “We want to be a place that celebrates our differences, learns from our diversity and is stronger because of our inclusive culture.”

The college hosts the Central Florida Diversity Learning Series, where nationally known experts speak about diversity in the workforce. Businesses from around Central Florida send employees to the half-day interactive presentations. The medical school then holds Lunch and Learns where the series speakers present shortened versions of their presentations to faculty, staff and students. In addition to these events, new ways to earn the Diversity Champion designation are:

■ Service – Participation in community service programs – such as health screenings at the Zora Neale Hurston festival, the Caribbean Health Summit and other programs that care for those in need.

■ UCF and AAMC diversity efforts – Training offered by the university, the Association of American Medical Colleges and other organizations that help individuals grow in inclusive leadership, education, research and patient care.

■ Other efforts individuals believe increase their capacity for inclusion and engagement. Please contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at least a week before a specific event or webinar at

Here are the college’s 2016 Diversity Champions:

Maha Bano

Margaret Capobianco

Tiffanie Do

Brittany Hofmann

Lauren Kendall

Ellaine Leodones

Eva Reina

Fariha Siddiqui

Melanie Weinstein

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