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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Learning from our past to inform our future 

VCU Health’s mission is to preserve and restore the health for all people of Virginia and beyond through innovation in service, research, and education. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) works to develop programs that support that mission to ensure that our policies and practices are equitable and inclusive of people of all races, cultures, ethnicities, religions, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities. In particular, we have focused a great deal on the education part of our mission by offering various programs that give our team members and community a greater understanding of people who embody various dimensions of diversity.  


Marcelle Davis headshotDr. Marcelle Davis
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, VCU Health

Dr. Marcelle Davis is the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at VCU Health System and has approximately 25 years of experience as a DEI strategist assisting organizational leaders in building DEI programs and advancing their culture using the collection and analysis of workforce metrics to ensure all aspects of the workforce have equity at its core. She is skilled in evaluating business landscapes and implementing projects and policies that enable organizations to integrate inclusion in business practices. Additionally, Marcelle is experienced in providing leaders with the tools and strategies that equip them to move from the ideation of inclusion to integration.

Marcelle’s experience extends to academia, which includes the design and facilitation of both MBA and PhD courses. These courses include strategic leadership, diversity in organizations, cross-cultural management and human resource management. Marcelle has published a book titled Measuring Inclusive Leadership with G.R.A.C.E., articles in several academic journals and has also authored micro-learnings for a global micro-learning company. She has been a keynote speaker and presenter at a variety of conferences, both nationally and internationally, for more than 15 years.

Marcelle received awards in 2022 for Top 100 Diversity Officer and Top 50 Woman Leader in VA. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, an MBA and a Doctor of Strategic Leadership.

Joanne Harris-Duff, Program Manager for Diversity, Equity and InclusionJoanne Harris
Program Manager for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, VCU Health

Joanne Harris is the Program Manager for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at VCU Health. She has served as a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional for over 20 years in both higher education and mental health. Joanne has a long history of supporting communities in creating cultural programs and initiatives aimed at educating, embracing, and celebrating diversity and inclusive excellence.

Joanne received her bachelor's degree in English and Communication Studies from Bridgewater College and a master's degree in Social Sciences from Hollins University. Before working at VCU Health, Joanne served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion and English professor at Stetson University. She also served as the Director of Corporate Compliance and Quality Improvement at Rockbridge Area Community Services in Lexington, VA for several years.

She is a published poet with numerous publishing agencies. She is the proud parent of two active children, Jabari and Jazzmyn. Joanne cites her mother as being the inspiration for her work in social justice and change, stating, "I am who I am because of her."

Stacy Johnson, JDStacy Johnson, JD
EEO/AA Manager, VCU Health

Stacy initially joined the Health System’s Team Member Experience (TME) group in Winter 2020 as the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action (AA) Manager then became a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team in September 2022. She is responsible for managing and implementing the Health System’s Affirmative Action Program, government reporting, EEO/AA educational training, and conducting EEO complaint investigations. She brings over 15 years of experience, including EEO/AA management and implementation, training, creative and analytical skills, strategic planning, project management, and collaboration skills working with interdisciplinary teams. Stacy holds a Juris Doctorate in Law and Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.

All members of the VCU Health community prioritize individual dignity and strive to promote a culture of diversity, inclusivity, and equity in a supportive patient care, learning, research, and work environment.

Every VCU Health patient and their family, as well as our team members and learners, deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and professionalism.

We are committed to creating a community that recognizes and embraces diverse backgrounds, identities, and lived experiences. We will not tolerate or condone discrimination.

We are also committed to delivering health care in a manner that respects diversity and inclusivity with the full intent of ensuring an optimal patient experience and achieving better health outcomes for all.

We will actively work to dismantle systemic racism and inequalities that may be entrenched in our health system.

Our commitment is relentless and we seek to be faithful to it in all our actions. We will fearlessly accept criticism and continuously learn from our mistakes with transparency and humility throughout this journey. Together, we will make VCU Health a better place, be a stronger community partner, and earn the trust of all.

VCU Health DEI Plan Summary
As a health system, we have been doing a lot of listening and learning to inform a long-term Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan for our institution. We are currently working on the plan, which includes the following priorities:

  1. Develop a governance structure to support all diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
  2. Create a sustainable infrastructure, including creating an office of diversity, equity and inclusion
  3. Conduct self-assessments to determine any gaps in our policies, procedures, practices and services.
  4. Continue to implement strategy, development, action planning and execution on initiatives that our foundational to our health system
  5. Develop and implement ongoing education and training programs

Advancing Health Equity and Removing Obstacles Facing our Community
Economic and social hardships place many members of our community at risk for avoidable illness, suffering, disability and premature death. With leading medical experts and deep roots in the Richmond area, it is VCU Health's responsibility to address the barriers that prevent our patients, community and team members from leading healthy and successful lives. Visit Community Impact to learn more about VCU Health's initiatives.

When Dionne Wynn-Criss, a North Carolina resident and living kidney donor, donated a kidney to her husband amid a pandemic, the only thing on her mind was helping her husband get well.

But, with an organ transplant waiting list currently at more than 100,000 — with more than 60% representing racial and ethnic minorities — VCU Health sat down with donor Dionne and Marcelle Davis, DSL, VCU Health’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, to discuss the disparity in organ transplantation in racial and ethnic minorities. “These discussions equip us to listen and learn so we can take much needed action together,” says Davis.

Racial bias could mean life or death for patients. “It’s critical that as a health system, we ensure that when we work with our patients, we do so from a culturally proficient manner that recognizes more than their skin tone,” says Davis. “They're a whole person and should be seen for their race, culture, ethnicity, gender identification, sexual orientation, preferred name, and pronoun use.” That's what's needed to provide optimum health and that’s what VCU Health is committed to.

The Hume-Lee Transplant Center is above the national average in transplanting minority patients. And with a health system focused on DE&I, Marcelle says, “it ensures that we're all singing from the same sheet music.”


Healing Not Hate

Our patients can expect to get optimum care from our providers. In return, we ask that our patients respect those with whom they come into contact, regardless of their race, culture, ethnicity, religion, ability, gender or sexual orientation. In 2021, we launched the Healing Not Hate platform, which states that VCU Health is a place of healing, not hate. When you come here as a patient, family member or visitor, you will see this platform reflected on lapel pins/buttons and banners placed throughout our facilities. You will also see it reflected in the language contained in patient care agreements. This platform was recently referenced as a best practice in health care during a Press Ganey presentation.

Ragan Award

In 2020, we launched the DEI intranet site and used it as a landing page for all information related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Early additions to the site included but was not limited to, VCU Health DEI commitment, a DEI tribute month calendar, definitions to ensure we were all speaking a common language and the DEI framework that included six areas our team members asked our leaders to focus on. The DEI site has grown considerably to include recorded videos of our live tribute month programs, Moment of Inclusion videos and other articles and videos recognizing and celebrating team members.

The panel discussions and videos have become extremely important to team members, garnering hundreds of views. In September of 2021, we received notification that VCU Health had won the Ragan award, which is a national program honoring the best public relations campaigns in the United States. The award recognized us for creating an inclusive environment online and equipping our team members with resources to further their DEI education.

Read about our mission
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Read more about our commitment in our News Center
Learn more about our programs

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