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Inclusive Conversations

Inclusive Conversations is a series of exchanges and dialogue among members of the UMMC community on stimulating topics in pursuit of sharing and understanding experiences, emotions, and different perspectives. This forum is held monthly and sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Contact Mandy Scott if you would like to receive email notifications or get additional information about these and other events sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Click the links below to learn more about the Inclusive Conversations series.



Rashanda Booker, PhD
Director of Institutional Equity & Partnerships
UMMC Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019
Classroom Wing (CW-106)
Lunch served on first-come, first-serve basis

No Longer 'Waiting to Exhale': Overcoming Impostor Syndrome and Battle Fatigue

In April 2018, Dr. Rashanda Booker was appointed in the new role of director of institutional equity and partnerships. In her role, Booker’s responsibilities include collaborating with institutional leaders by playing a lead role in carrying out the institution’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, promoting equitable policies and practices, and establishing strong partnerships with public and private higher education institutions, especially HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Her extensive experience as a higher education practitioner, and an individual with deep understanding of the importance of diversity and equity will help advance the institution’s mission by utilizing her creativity, attention to detail, relationship building, and proven track record as an effective leader.

Prior to joining UMMCr, Dr. Booker was the assistant dean of the college, Williams College, the No. 1  liberal arts college in the nation. During her time in the dean’s office, Dr. Booker became well known for her advocacy and diverse programmatic efforts across campus. In response to critical incidents (sexual assault, harassment, bias), she worked in collaboration with Campus Safety, the Davis (Diversity) Center, Office of Student Life, and with the Director of Sexual Assault and Prevention to support all parties associated with cases to identify appropriate outcomes.

The 2017 NASPA Women in Student Affairs – Phenomenal Woman received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern Louisiana University, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling from Louisiana State University.

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Monica Daniels, MS
Executive Director, Special Olympics Mississippi

Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018
Classroom Wing (CW-106)

The Revolution is Inclusion

Monica Daniels is a native Mississippian with 25 years’ experience working in the non-profit sector. She received her BA in Psychology from Delta State University and her MS in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University. She began her post graduate work in pediatric neuro-rehab until learning that her (then) 18-month old daughter was profoundly deaf. It was then that Monica began to work for non-profits; starting with Magnolia Speech School where her daughter was enrolled as a student. After 11 years at Magnolia Speech School, Monica went to work for United Way of the Capital Area as the Vice President of Resource Development, while there she initiated the organization’s first young professionals board and implemented Imagination Library in the tri-county area. Upon leaving United Way, Monica served as the Director of Annual Giving for Millsaps College.

In December of 2016 she was offered the position of Executive Director for Special Olympics Mississippi. In this role she serves over 5,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities who participate in sports training and competition. As a movement, Special Olympics is one of the largest health care advocates for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She is humbled and honored to serve all of the athletes and their families of Special Olympics.


Robert E. Luckett, Jr., PhD
Associate Professor of History,
Director of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African American Experience
Jackson State University
Sept. 10, 2018

Margaret Walker: This is My Century

Robby Luckett received his BA in political science from Yale University and his PhD from the University of Georgia with a focus on modern civil rights movement history. A native Mississippian, he returned home, where he is a tenured Associate Professor of History and Director of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African American Experience at Jackson State University. His book, Joe T. Patterson and the White South’s Dilemma: Evolving Resistance to Black Advancement, was published by the University Press of Mississippi (2015). Along with several publications and presentations at numerous academic conferences, he has appeared in documentaries, including the Independent Lens film Spies of Mississippi as well as An Ordinary Hero about the life of Joan Trumpauer Mulhollhand. He is an Advisory Board member for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and he is on the Board of Directors of Common Cause Mississippi and the Association of African American Museums. In 2017, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba appointed him to the Board of Trustees of Jackson Public Schools. He has three children.


Michelle Johansen
2018 IHL Diversity Educator of the Year
Quality Enhancement Plan Coordinator
Study Abroad Coordinator
History Instructor
Delta State University
May 7, 2018

A World Class Experience: Improving Cultural Competency at Delta State

Since 2014 Delta State University has fully committed to improving campus cultural competency through an intensive five-year plan for all constituencies. The plan’s goals are to assist students in discovering and learning about other cultures; understanding cultural biases and differences; improving intercultural communication skills; developing empathetic skills; and moving effectively within a globalized society. This talk will outline the implementation of DSU’s plan, the successes and lessons learned from across campus, and the next steps for greater engagement and sustainability.


Byron D'Andra Orey, PhD
Professor of Political Science
Jackson State University
April 2, 2018

Race-Based Trauma and the Fear of Driving while Black

In recent years, there has been an increase in media coverage of African Americans being shot and killed by police officers. With the increased use of social media, individuals are indirectly exposed to these events even if they do not live in the areas where the shootings occur. By using galvanic skin response data and individual-level attitudinal data, funding from the National Science Foundation supported Dr. Orey’s research to examine whether viewing such imagery creates an arousal among African Americans based on what he labels as "Racially Traumatic Stressful Events."


Stephanie Rolph, PhD
Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty
Associate Professor of History, Millsaps College
March 5, 2018

Teaching Antipoverty Work: Undergraduate Experiences in the Classroom and the Field

Stephanie Rolph is Academic Director for the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), an inter-institutional nonprofit committed to preparing undergraduates for antipoverty work. With 26 member institutions, including Millsaps College, SHECP partners classroom instruction on the complexities of poverty with experiential learning opportunities in agencies across the nation where the daily work of alleviating the conditions of poverty is being done. In addition to her work with SHECP, Stephanie is Associate Professor in the History Department at Millsaps and serves as the director of Community Engaged Learning there.

mina,-li.jpgMina Li, MD, PhD, MS, CSM
Institute for Disability Studies (UCEDD)
University of Southern Mississippi
May 16, 2017

Disability Inclusion: Getting to Know & Interact with People with Disabilities
Disability inclusion is defined as including people with disabilities in everyday activities and encouraging them to have roles similar to their peers who do not have a disability (CDC, 2017). To implement disability inclusion, it is important to understand the status of this population. This talk will address prevalence of people with disabilities and statistics about the population.

religious-diversity.jpgPanel Discussion
April 18, 2017

The Intersection of Religion, Faith and Professionalism in the Workplace
Panelists from the UMMC community will share thoughts about expressions of faith in the workplace and what institutions can do better to make inclusive communities for those who have varying religious, ethical or moral beliefs.

williams,-brian.jpgBrian H. Williams, MD, FACS
Trauma Surgeon 
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX
March 21, 2017

Critical Mass: Examining Race, Violence, and Medicine in the 21st Century 
Dr. Williams was the lead surgeon on call with the trauma team called to care for 12 Dallas police officers and two civilians who were shot during what was to be a peaceful protest July 2016 in Dallas, TX. Dr. Williams will share how that experience has impacted his life both personally and professionally.