George Floyd: Three Years Later, NCCU Career Day Update, Our First EDI Chief Resident

By Andrew Spector


Good afternoon!

Here is your May 2023 D&I update.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month along with Jewish American Heritage Month, and Older Americans Month, so I want to give recognition to all of our department members who identify with any of these groups. We find strength in our diversity.

Coming in June will be Caribbean American Heritage Month and Pride Month (LGBTQ+).


Last week was the third anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. While this event will forever be marked in American history, we must not think of this in the past tense. The violence against Black Americans persists, and in many cases, continues to be perpetrated by the police who are sworn to protect them.  

If you missed this story, an 11-year-old boy was shot by police after he called them to help protect his mother from an angry ex-partner. They shot the 11-year-old boy calling for help. As the father of an 11-year-old Black child, myself, I am having a very difficult time with this one. If you are under the impression that George Floyd’s murder was anomalous or the now ex-officer convicted of his murder was unique, you are mistaken. The problem is widespread. The problem is systemic. None of us should have to live with the threat that when our children call for help, they’re placing themselves at even greater risk. It doesn’t matter if this is rare, the impact is that these events are forever scarred in our children’s brains, and now they will always have to wonder what might happen if they have to call for help. No one should be forced to risk their life to ask for help or decide if the threat from the police is greater than the threat they're facing at home.


On April 29, the department co-hosted, along with the Departments of Neurobiology and Neurosurgery, the first NCCU-Duke Careers in Neurology and Neuroscience Day. We ended up expanding this to include students from other local HBCUs and had an excellent turnout. Students heard talks about clinical and nonclinical careers that involved neurology and neurosciences, along with panel discussions on life in med or grad school and applying to med school. They participated in research opportunity speed dating, CV reviews, and had the opportunity to practice their interviewing skills. About 40 volunteers from the 3 departments came out to support the event, for which I am extremely grateful! The event received very positive feedback, and planning has already begun for next year. It was even covered on the local news, ABC11. Check out the photos and news clip here, or read a short article about the event here.

If you are interested in taking a leadership position in planning future community-oriented events, stay tuned. We are developing a new departmental job title for this!


I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Deborah Rose, current 3rd year resident, will be assuming the new role of Chief Resident for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion on July 1. Dr. Rose’s position will include the following activities: 

  • Work with the Education Chief on EDI-themed educational sessions 
  • Work with the Recruitment Chief to ensure best EDI recruitment practices are followed 
  • Engage with applicants from underrepresented backgrounds 
  • Attend Residency fairs at HBCUs 
  • Represent residents and fellows on the Department D&I Committee 
  • Work with the Department Vice Chair for EDI on GME-related policies and procedures 


Congratulations to Dr. Len White for winning the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program of the Year Award from Duke Housing and Residential Life for his seminar and walking tour of Duke!