Beyond Diversity: Embedding a Culture of Inclusive Excellence in Medicine

The UBC Faculty of Medicine (FoM) Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) is pleased to invite you to join our 3rd virtual Annual Symposium titled: “Beyond Diversity: Embedding a Culture of Inclusive Excellence in Medicine.”

Image of mountain peaks under a starry sky.

The symposium will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024 from 12:00 PM to 3:15 PM.


  • 12:00-12:10 — Opening Remarks: What is Inclusive Excellence? by Dr. Maï Yasué
  • 12:10-12:20 — Inclusive Excellence & Indigenization, Decolonization, and Reconciliation, with Derek Thompson – Thlaapkiituup & Dr. Maï Yasué
  • 12:20-2:00 — Panel 1 | Embedding Inclusive Excellence in Clinical and Curricular Environments, with Dr. Adam Neufeld, Dr. Allison Brown, Dr. Heather Buckley, Dr. Niresha Velmurugiah, & Dr. Wiley Chung, moderated by Dr. Maï Yasué & Dr. Saleem Razack
  • 2:00-3:00 — Panel 2 | Weaving Inclusive Excellence into the Undergraduate Admissions Process, with Dr. Peggy DeJong, Catherine Macala & Dr. Wiley Chung, moderated by Dr. Maï Yasué & Dr. Saleem Razack
  • 3:00-3:15 — Closing remarks

Speaker Bios

Maï Yasué

Opening Session Lead & Co-moderator

Dr. Maï Yasué (She/Her), Associate Director, REDI

Dr. Maï is the Associate Director of the Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) in the Faculty of Medicine. She provides leadership to the REDI team in the development and delivery of our education and training programming. She collaborates with leaders in departments, centres, and administration units, and staff, and faculty to identify institutional and individual barriers to inclusion and to foster long-term socio-cultural change towards justice, equity, decolonization, indigenization, and inclusion (JEDII). Previously, she worked at the Equity & Inclusion Office at UBC, where she led initiatives such as the JEDII STEM Series and the IBPOC STEM Network and supported the integration of the JEDII principles into teaching, research, and faculty and staff recruitment. Prior to her work at UBC, she was a faculty member at Quest University Canada for over a decade, teaching interdisciplinary courses in conservation and geography and advocating for transparency, equity, and inclusion through various leadership roles.

Maï, a second-generation immigrant from Japan, holds an MSc in Zoology from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Geography from the University of Victoria. As an interdisciplinary scholar, she has published over 40 articles in academic fields such as conservation, geography, zoology, education, behavioral ecology, economics, and psychology. She is grateful for having spent most of her life on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and Stó:lō Nations.

Derek Thompson

Opening Session Lead

Derek Thompson- Thlaapkiituup (He/Him),
Director, Indigenous Engagement, Faculty of Medicine

Derek Thompson – Thlaapkiituup is from the Ditidaht First Nation, one of 14 Nuuchahnulth communities along the west coast of Vancouver Island. The seas for miles of shoreline and all of the land on the western side of our Vancouver Island home, from Point No Point in the south to Brooks Peninsula in the north, is Nuuchahnulth territory – our haahuulthii.

Derek is the Director, Indigenous Engagement for the UBC Faculty of Medicine, and in 2021 he was the first Indigenous Advisor in the Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Thlaapkiituup brings over 30 years of experience working with First Nations organizations and communities across the province and country to achieve wellness through health and related services.

His mission is to foster trust and mutual respect amongst students, staff and faculty in an effort to create an understanding of the commitments made by the Faculty of Medicine to redress and strengthen the relationship with Indigenous peoples and communities.

Saleem Razack (He/Him)


Dr. Saleem Razack (He/Him), Senior Faculty Advisor, REDI

Dr. Razack is a Senior Faculty Advisor in the Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) in the Faculty of Medicine. In his role, Dr. Razack advises on strategy related to the implementation of a comprehensive anti-racism plan for the Faculty. He aims to serve in and contribute to the vibrant and diverse community within the Faculty of Medicine and its associated clinical and research sites.

Dr Razack joined faculty at UBC/BC Children’s Hospital on January 1, 2023, after a 25-year career as a pediatric intensivist and medical educator/education researcher at McGill University. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto. His research Interests in Medical Education include the intersection of assessment and professionalism with representation, equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism, for which he has had SSHRC and CIHR support. He is the recipient of the AFMC May Cohen award for outstanding contributions to equity in medical education, the Haile T. Debas award for contributions to equity in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill, and the Pediatric Chairs of Canada award for outstanding contribution to Medical Education.


Dr. Adam Neufeld

Dr. Adam Neufeld

Dr. Adam Neufeld, MSc, MD, CCFP, is a family physician who practices full time in the Calgary community. He is also a clinical lecturer at the University of Calgary, a medical teacher, and a researcher, with a special interest in applying Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in medical education to improve physician and trainee well-being. He is married, has two boys aged 2 and 5, and in what spare time he has, he enjoys snowboarding, playing soccer, and fly fishing.

Dr. Allison Brown

Dr. Allison Brown

Dr. Allison Brown, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Dr. Brown is an applied social scientist whose mixed-methods research program aims to be responsive to emerging societal needs by re-imagining how medical schools can better train current and future medical doctors to serve diverse and dynamic societies. She applies critical theories and methods to uncover the structural barriers in professional and institutional contexts that act as barriers to social accountability, and ultimately, to social justice.

Catherine Macala

Catherine Macala is the Associate Director, MD Admissions at the University of British Columbia. She has a Master of Arts Degree in Higher Education, with a special focus on equity, diversity and inclusion measures related to student selection and student progression through post-secondary education. She is deeply interested in how explicit and implicit values impact the creation of evaluation measures, policies, and outcomes, including how they impact applicants and students. Catherine is constantly learning from the colleagues, mentors, students, community members, applicants and advocates she engages with. She is so grateful to each person who is willing to share their story, experience, and insight as it continues to make a profound difference in how she views the work she is so deeply imbedded in.

Dr. Heather Buckley

Dr. Heather Buckley

Dr. Heather Buckley is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a scholar at the Center for Health Education Scholarship (CHES). She graduated with her medical degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and completed her residency in Family Medicine at Western University. Her history of involvement in the Faculty of Medicine includes 20 years as a teacher and 10 years in a leadership position on the Vancouver Fraser Medical Program (VFMP) Faculty Development team.  In 2019, Dr. Buckley completed the Clinical Educator Fellowship Program at the UBC Center for Health Education Scholarship; during that time she also completed a Masters of Health Professions Education from Maastricht University. Her research interests are always expanding but she has a special interest in the area of relationships and social networks in faculty development. 

As Associate Dean, Faculty Development, Dr. Buckley provides strategic leadership to ensure linkages exist to support an integrated province-wide faculty development program. She believes deeply in the importance of fostering positive and safe working and learning environments where support and recognition is provided for faculty and staff. She truly enjoys her work and attributes much of that to her own network of supportive, intelligent, kind, and inspiring colleagues.

Dr. Niresha Velmurugiah

Dr. Niresha Velmurugiah

Dr. Niresha Velmurugiah obtained her Doctor of Medicine and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Alberta. She works as an Emergency Physician at Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital, and as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine. She has a background in health disparities and experience in medical education development in the area of EDI. She currently serves as the curriculum lead for Professionalism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Undergraduate Medical Education at UBC.

Dr. Peggy DeJong

Dr. Peggy DeJong

Dr. Peggy DeJong received her Honors Bachelor of Science (Health Sciences) from the University of Waterloo and her medical degree from Queen’s University. Her clinical training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology was also at Queen’s University. She completed an additional fellowship year in Echocardiography at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver General Hospital. She joined the Division of Cardiology at Queen’s University in 2014 and is the current Medical Director for the Echo Lab at KHSC. In September 2023, she was appointed Assistant Dean of Admissions for the MD program at Queen’s University.

Dr. DeJong’s chief academic interest is medical education. She completed her Master’s in Medical Education with Distinction at the University of Dundee, Scotland, in 2022. At Queen’s University, Dr. DeJong served as the Director of the Adult Cardiology Residency Training Program from July 2015 to December 2019 and was the CBME Lead for Cardiology from 2015 to 2022. She was also the Term 4 Clinical Skills Course Director from January 2022 to June 2023. Aside from contributing to education at all levels of training, she also has a significant interest in advancing Indigenous health and incorporating Indigenous health issues into medical education. She received a medical education program grant from the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization (SEAMO) to pursue an advanced certificate for Indigenous educators in Indigegogy. This background has enhanced her abilities to address Indigenous health issues in medical education and better support Indigenous students in medicine.

*Dr. DeJong is a citizen of the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Metis Nation of Ontario.

Dr. Wiley Chung

Dr. Wiley Chung

Dr. Wiley Chung is the Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Indigeneity, and Accessibility (EDIIA) in Queen’s MD program. He is a thoracic surgeon with extensive experience in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education (PGME).  Dr. Chung is also the Collaborator Competency Lead in the MD Program.  He is working on weaving EDIIA into collaborative learning, teaching, and practice between our MD program, the School of Nursing, and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.  His Master of Health Professions Education has given him the expertise and skillset for his current roles.  Dr. Chung is leading the decolonization and Indigenization of the surgical curriculum in PGME.


In recent years, many of the traditional metrics for assessing and evaluating “excellence” within the Faculty of Medicine have begun to change. This shift is partly in response to critiques suggesting that current methods of measuring and defining excellence prevent us from fulfilling our contract with society, impede innovation and diversity of thought, and create barriers for various historically, systemically, and persistently marginalized groups. Various commitments, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan, along with the Faculty of Medicine Strategic Plan and the Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism Framework (StEAR), set the direction in which we are heading, but questions remain on how individual clinicians, leaders, staff members, and units can actually implement the necessary changes.

In this third annual symposium, we will discuss how to embed inclusive excellence into various domains of academic medicine. We will address topics including teaching, mentorship, leadership, research, and patient care. We have invited panelists and speakers who are exemplars and early adopters who have created changes in processes and practices to embed this idea of inclusive excellence into key processes such as education, mentorship, or admissions. By collectively embedding inclusive excellence into our work, we hope to transform the culture towards anti-oppression, belonging, inclusion, and the thriving of all community members.

At a time when there is significant polarization across different identity groups, we hope that this session and the framing of “inclusive excellence” will remind people of their common goals and help to unite us as we work in solidarity to build a more inclusive healthcare system.

Through short presentations and panel discussions, the key questions that we would like to explore are:

  • How do we redefine what excellence is with a lens of equity, inclusion, decolonization, and Indigenization?
  • Within this new definition of excellence, what are the characteristics of excellent curriculum, mentors, clinicians, learners, leaders, and staff?
  • How do we embed this new definition of excellence in our performance reviews, hiring, awards, admissions, and adjudication processes in a ‘fair’ way?
  • What are the challenges of redefining excellence? How do we work together and build solidarity to create change?