Take a quick walk on campus and you'll realize that the people of Stanford Medicine come from all over the world and from a host of backgrounds and perspectives. For the past few years, I've been working to portray this diversity by interviewing individuals for the Portraits of Stanford Medicine series, part of the 1:2:1 podcast. Most recently, I spoke with Benji Laniakea, MD, a clinical assistant professor in primary care and population health; Deb Karhson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry and behavioral sciences; and Ayodele Thomas, PhD, associate dean for graduate and career education and diversity in the Stanford Biosciences' Office of Graduate Education.
Laniakea specializes in sex and gender minority health. He explained that his goal as an educator is to create a new generation of physicians who are aware of and sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ patients. "I feel that we are moving in the right direction, that we are making strides to make sure LGBT rights progress and trans rights progress, and that we are actively adding on new ways to make sure people are able to access their health care and that people are able to share their voices in a way that is comfortable and meaningful to them," he told me.
His story is well worth a listen:
I also interviewed Karhson, who received her undergraduate training in biomedical engineering. She grew up with an autistic older brother, which inspired her to shift her focus to neuroscience and psychiatry. Karhson currently studies autism spectrum disorder and is leading an effort to create a diversity, inclusion and equity certificate for graduate students and postdocs.
I also spoke with Thomas, whose career veered from electrical engineering to her current position as an associate dean who works on graduate education. In her role, Thomas is working to increase the undergraduate pipelines for underrepresented students in the sciences and engineering.
Future Portraits podcasts are in the works -- follow Stanford Medicine on Soundcloud to be informed of new releases.
Photo by Matthieu A