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School of Medicine names new leader for diversity and inclusion

Sherree Wilson noted for bringing people together around issues of diversity

by Diane Duke WilliamsJuly 11, 2018

Susan McClellen/University of Iowa Health Care

Sherree Wilson, PhD, a highly regarded administrator at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, has been named associate vice chancellor and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The appointment is the second at the university in recent weeks aimed at improving diversity and inclusion. Nicole Hudson – most recently the deputy mayor for racial equity and priority initiatives for the city of St. Louis – was named the inaugural leader of the newly created Academy for Diversity and Inclusion.

Wilson has been lauded for her efforts to foster a diverse, inclusive culture in academic medicine. Her appointment, which begins Oct. 1, was announced by David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine.

“I am excited to welcome Sherree Wilson to Washington University School of Medicine,” Perlmutter said. “Sherree is a national leader in diversity and inclusion, with an outstanding track record at the University of Iowa. She is very talented at bringing people together around issues of building a welcoming culture where everyone is valued and in which everyone can excel. I am confident that she will accelerate the School of Medicine’s diversity and inclusion efforts and enhance and improve upon our current initiatives. We are deeply committed to these issues.”

The School of Medicine’s Senior Leadership Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, chaired by Diana Gray, MD, associate dean for faculty affairs, and Regis O’Keefe, MD, PhD, the Fred C. Reynolds Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, recommended the creation of the new position to lead the school in its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. In her new role, Wilson will join the senior levels of campus leadership and bring focus and direction to diversity and inclusion initiatives. She also will identify best practices among medical school peers and from outside industries and other sources.

“Diversity and inclusion are embedded in the mission of the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis,” Wilson said. “That, combined with the extraordinary time and effort that members of the Dean’s Senior Leadership Committee have dedicated to the design of an effective framework for improving diversity and promoting inclusion, is further evidence of the school’s commitment. I look forward to joining colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as we work together to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Sarah England, PhD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Medicine, co-led the search committee that selected Wilson. “Dr. Sherree Wilson was selected after a competitive nationwide search,” England said. “While on campus, she met with a large number of constituents, including faculty members, staff and students. Having served at multiple institutions, Dr. Wilson will be able to use her experience to serve as a coach and facilitator to build on our successes and help us achieve our goal of becoming a more inclusive campus.”

In her role at the Carver College of Medicine, Wilson has led diversity initiatives and advised senior leaders and staff on issues related to diversity and inclusion. She developed and implemented a strategic diversity plan, which led to a number of positive outcomes throughout the college, including a 24 percent increase among faculty in school-identified diversity categories, incorporation of implicit bias training for faculty, staff and trainees, and the establishment of the Inclusive Excellence seminar series for the basic science departments. Additionally, she has co-led a National Institutes of Health-funded program that provides intensive instruction and research experience for individuals from underrepresented groups with bachelor’s degrees, to enhance their qualifications for top-tier graduate programs in the biomedical sciences.

Wilson also designed a comprehensive culturally sensitive plan for University of Iowa Health Care to train faculty and help health-care workers and personnel provide care that is responsive to patients from varying backgrounds. The implementation of the plan was a factor in Forbes magazine naming UI Health Care as the No. 1 employer for diversity in the health-care industry in 2018.

Before joining the University of Iowa, Wilson worked at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), including serving as special assistant to the chancellor and assistant dean of the faculties. At IUPUI, she spearheaded a review of hiring practices for faculty and administrators that led to a new recruitment program, resulting in the hiring of 46 faculty from underrepresented populations.

She is a member of the American Association of Medical Colleges’ Group on Diversity and Inclusion, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, and the National Career Development Association. She also serves on the board of the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Ball State University. She also earned a master’s degree in college student personnel administration and counseling/counselor education, and a PhD in higher education administration, both from Indiana University.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,300 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.