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Diversity and Inclusion

Here at Carolina, we pride ourselves on our commitment to diversity and inclusion.  The Office of Graduate Education and the BBSP program embrace diversity of both people and thought to foster an environment in which all students can succeed.  We encourage collaboration between people from all walks of life to develop and implement innovative ideas. Overall, the UNC School of Medicine uses the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Framework to “grow and sustain a more diverse and inclusive working and learning environment.”

Our pledge to improve diversity and inclusion in biomedical research and education encompasses a wide range of services and programs including the UNC Initiative for Maximizing Development (IMSD). UNC-IMSD is an NIH-funded program with the goal of improving the number of PhD trainees from groups historically underrepresented (UR) in the biomedical sciences and that these trainees continue on to successful scientific careers.  We aim to provide our students from UR groups with individualized training – academic support, professional development, community, and mentorship – to ensure timely graduation and that they become self-confident, highly competitive scientists.  Scholars from UR groups are succeeding at UNC with a retention rate of over 85%, and their success is greatly enhanced by the tremendous support available through IMSD. Diverse Issues in Higher Education recently ranked UNC-Chapel Hill 5th nationally for PhD completion by Hispanic students in the biological and biomedical sciences, 16th for PhDs in these disciplines completed by African American students, and 11th nationally for total minority PhD completion in the biological and biomedical sciences.

All graduate students are welcome in our IMSD community (from both UR and non-UR groups).  Our IMSD family of over 100 scholars provides a support system that enriches the graduate career of each participant.  The IMSD community meets regularly for socials and lunches and annual events including a retreat, research symposium, and holiday dinner.  Visit the IMSD website to learn more about the program and connect with our inclusive community of scholars.

Through our Diversity Affairs team, we offer to pay the BBSP application fee for qualifying applicants from UR groups.  To learn more about this resource, please contact the Director of Diversity Affairs at

UNC is a progressive institution with an open and inclusive environment.  The LGBTQ center is very active on campus and has developed a SafeZone training program to build awareness of and skills for working with people of all gender and sexual orientations.  HAVEN/Safe@UNC offers an interpersonal violence awareness and prevention program, and Opening Doors is a national diversity/inclusion training program sponsored by the School of Medicine but open to anyone on campus, including graduate students.  Many staff in the Office of Graduate Education have participated in these SafeZone, HAVEN and Opening Doors training programs to become allies for all students, including those who are differently-abled, with various gender and sexual orientations, struggling with interpersonal violence or mental health concerns or from different religious backgrounds.

UNC also has a variety of centers and programs for specific interests groups including women, ethnic groups, international students and more.  See the right hand side of this page for links to the many Diversity and Inclusion programs/services available to UNC students and staff.