Ricky Bluthenthal appointed vice chair for diversity, equity and inclusion

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November 23, 2021
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Ricky Bluthenthal, PhD, has been appointed the inaugural vice chair for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the department of population and public health sciences.

Bluthenthal will focus on increasing underrepresented minority participation among faculty, students, and staff in the department. He also will facilitate inclusive learning and research environments and review curriculum to ensure that materials address antiracism topics.

“Ricky has been at the forefront of developing novel and significant ways to operationalize diversity, equity and inclusion and anti-racism in teaching, research, clinical care and community relations in the Keck School of Medicine,” said Howard Hu, Flora L. Thornton chair of the department of population and public health sciences. “We are fortunate he can bring his experience and level of activism to our department.”

Bluthenthal has a long track record of working on DEI issues. He has mentored and continues to mentor undergraduate, master’s-level, doctoral, post-doctoral, and early career trainees, many of whom are members of underrepresented minority communities.

“The way that we get through this period of generational transformation, is that we just acknowledge that we’re all learning, as in ‘I’m trying to get better every day and so is everyone else,’” Bluthenthal said. “The idea of calling each other in rather than calling each other out is a really productive paradigm to work from.”

Bluthenthal has served as the inaugural associate dean for social justice at KSOM, chairing its “Justice through Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Well-Being and Social Transformation” initiative known as JEDI-WeST.

Bluthenthal secured $1 million from KSOM to support initiatives that address antiracism education, training, workforce development programing for local community members, and the hiring of vice chairs for diversity, equity, and inclusion in half of KSOM’s clinical and basic science departments.

More than 10 undergraduate students who were Bluthenthal’s mentees have entered doctoral studies or medical school. He has served and continues to serve as a mentor to post-doctoral and junior faculty and has had success supporting these scholars to obtain academic appointments at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, UCSD, and UCLA.

All eligible junior faculty that he has mentored at USC have been promoted to date. All his doctoral and post-doctoral trainees have been either racial/ethnicity minorities, women, and/or sexual minorities.

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