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Maria Garcia appointed assistant vice provost for diversity and student success

Academic leader and diversity advocate assumes newly created role at UMass Medical School

UMass Medical School Communications

July 08, 2020
Maria Garcia, MD, MPH

Maria M. Garcia, MD, MPH, has been appointed to the new role of assistant vice provost for diversity and student success at UMass Medical School, according to an announcement by Terence R. Flotte, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, and Sonia Chimienti, MD, vice provost, student life and enrollment management.

Dr. Garcia, professor of medicine, will be responsible for continued development of educational programs that respect the diverse educational goals of learners from different educational, personal and cultural backgrounds in order to enhance career development for students in all three schools. Key focus areas, all aligned with the Medical School’s IMPACT 2025 strategic plan, include further development of the new Academic Success and Coaching in Education and Development program; continued advocacy and professional development in support of students from diverse backgrounds through leadership and academic support programs; continued development of resident recruitment in collaboration with the Office of Graduate Medical Education; and development of interprofessional educational programs to address unconscious bias, cultural humility and diversity.

Garcia will also serve as faculty advisor and mentor for an Interprofessional Spanish Language Immersion Pathway, which is being developed to provide students from all three schools an opportunity to enhance cultural awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of Spanish speakers.

“As assistant dean for diversity in the School of Medicine for the past five years, Dr. Garcia has served as a mentor and advocate, guiding the careers of students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in medicine, and providing a voice for student concerns across their educational experiences,’’ said Drs. Flotte and Chimienti in announcing her new role. “Her work has garnered the respect and trust of students and her advocacy and guidance have been instrumental in the development of a variety of diversity initiatives.”

Garcia has guided and supported Mentoring Circles, the UMMS chapter of the Student National Medical Association and the Latino Medical Student Association, as well as the formation of a new support group for first generation and limited income students. She created a holistic coaching program in support of students from all three schools, contributed to outreach programs for underrepresented high school and college students, and supported pipeline programs for graduate medical education recruitment.

“We are committed to moving forward with initiatives outlined in our IMPACT 2025 strategic plan to nurture career development and support and celebrate students across the three graduate schools and learners who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to our community,” said Flotte and Chimienti.