Diversity & Inclusion

Mission & Goals

The Program for Diversity & Inclusion (PDI) supports the educational mission of the Perelman School of Medicine by promoting an inclusive, welcoming, supportive and engaged medical student community.

Please click on each goal to expand and find out more about the support that PDI provides to Perelman students.

• Promote and support a diverse student body

  • Diversity recruitment at targeted institutions and national meetings
  • Targeted diversity activities during the applicant interview season and then in the post-acceptance period
  • Peer Mentoring Workshop
    The summer before their matriculation, entering first-year students from groups that are underrepresented in medicine (UIM) are matched with second-year students. The second-year students serve as mentors during the subsequent school year and provide advice about moving to Philadelphia, housing, extracurricular activities and how to do well academically. Frequently, they offer used textbooks and tips on exam preparation.
  • Student Life & Diversity Guide for the First Year
  • PDInsight, a quarterly newsletter
  • Penn Re-View!, our fall welcoming reception for all first-year students
  • Annual diversity lectures:
    • Nathan Francis Mossell Lecture on Health Equity
      Dr. Mossell was the first African-American to graduate from the School of Medicine (1882). In 1895 he founded the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital, the first hospital in Philadelphia and the second in the United States for Blacks doctors, nurses, and patients.
    • Helen O. Dickens Lecture on Women in Medicine
      ​Dr. Dickens overcame tremendous barriers of race and gender to achieve success with a career characterized by many “firsts” including being the first African-American female to earn a Master’s Degree from the School of Medicine, the first Black woman in Philadelphia to be Board certified in OB-GYN and in 1968 she became the first Associate Dean in the country for minority affairs at the School of Medicine.
    • John E. Fryer Lecture on LGBT Health
      Dr. Fryer was forced to leave the University of Pennsylvania's psychiatry residency program when it was discovered that he was gay. Most notably he appeared at the 1972 meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in disguise as “Dr. H. Anonymous” and announced, “I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist.” His appearance played a crucial role in prompting the psychiatric establishment to review the scientific data and remove homosexuality from the DSM in 1973.


• Support student-led affinity groups

  • Administrative, financial, advisory and advocacy support for our core cultural affinity groups and their programs
  • Student leadership training
  • Funding for student leaders to attend national meetings
  • Hosting annual regional meetings of the parent or affiliated organizations
Click on Our Students in the main navigation to find out more about Perelman's student-led cultural affinity groups. 


• Foster the emotional wellness of students

  • PDI faculty available every day for scheduled appointments or walk-in visits to provide advice and counseling
  • Faculty/Housestaff and Student Mentoring Program
    In the fall semester, minority faculty and residents have meetings with students to discuss their specialties and the criteria for successful academic performance in their specialty's clerkship. These sessions are open to all and facilitate continuous interaction and networking among students, faculty and residents.
Click on Wellness in the main navigation to find out more about the wellness initiatives currently available to Perelman students. 


• Facilitate the participation of students in community health and engagement

  • Administrative, financial, advisory and advocacy support for our student-led community clinics and service organizations
  • Ongoing development of new service opportunities
  • Formal office hours for students to receive faculty and staff guidance and support
  • Host the annual information session for first-year students
  • Oversight of the volunteer application for first-year students who want to volunteer
  • Organize the Community Outreach Advisory Committee, which gathers faculty and student leaders periodically to address short-term and long-term needs and concerns
  • Host an annual leadership summit that allows faculty and students involved in community service activities to share best practices and experiences
  • Skill-building workshops for student volunteers
Click on Community Outreach in the main navigation to find out more about the experiences currently available to Perelman students.