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Voices of DEI: Pamela Kunz, MD

August 07, 2023
by Amy Anderson

Introducing Pamela Kunz, MD, of the Section of Medical Oncology.

What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you personally?

I believe that diversity, equity and inclusion is a way of thinking, a lens through which we look and must apply deliberately to our research, education, and patient care. By normalizing DEI and making it a regular practice, we have the best chance of enacting lasting change.

Why do you value diversity?

At my prior institution I experienced unbearable levels of gender discrimination and harassment that led to a toxic work environment and posed significant obstacles to my success. I had no choice but to leave. I know what it feels like to work in an environment in which I was not seen, valued or heard. I came to Yale because I felt that there was a community of DEI champions and a desire to change, and I wanted to be part of that change and in order to create a culture of respect. As the Director of the Center for GI Cancers, I am in a position to hire faculty and influence culture. I strive to advocate for DEI at both the local and national levels.

Why should an academic setting be equal and inclusive?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in an academic setting is not only important but it is necessary. A more diverse workforce promotes diversity of thought, thereby increasing scientific curiosity and innovation, leading to more equitable patient care. We all win in an environment that promotes these core values.

Why are you on the diversity committee?

I serve as a Vice Chief for DEI for the Section of Medical Oncology because I want to be part of the DEI front line. The diversity committee is the center for DEI efforts in the Department of Medicine and has the ability to contribute and shape the mission of DEI. One unexpected benefit of the committee is that I have gained a community of trusted colleagues who serve as advisors regarding challenges we face in promoting and implementing DEI.

The Department of Internal Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Internal Medicine knows that diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to our mission; that providing a safe, welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds results in beneficial diversity of thought; and believes that having a diverse team enhances our ability to provide excellent clinical care, research, and medical education.

Submitted by Amy Anderson on August 07, 2023