Tulane School of Medicine appoints Chief Clinical Diversity Officer to lead EDI efforts

As part of Tulane’s ongoing commitment to prioritize, as a core value, equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life, including clinical training and patient care, the School of Medicine has named Dr. Tina Simpson as its first Chief Clinical Diversity Officer.

Simpson, who joins Tulane on Oct. 1, will work directly with leadership within the school and with area health care partners to ensure that they are continuously striving to build and support an environment where patients, trainees and providers respect and value each other. This will include leading initiatives that increase physician workforce diversity, build safe and inclusive learning environments and advance equity by addressing disparities in health care that affect outcomes for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+ and other patients from marginalized communities.

“Overcoming racial inequities in health care that result in disparate patient outcomes for individuals who are from marginalized communities is a core value and focus of Tulane as we strive daily to create a community that is inclusive, welcoming and supportive of all,” said Tulane President Michael A. Fitts.

He sent a joint message with Dean Lee Hamm to the School of Medicine community this week announcing Dr. Simpson's appointment.

Since arriving at Tulane 2014, Fitts has made creating an inclusive university dedicated to equity, diversity, compassion, respect and opportunity for all, a main pillar of his administration. Efforts in this area include long-term university-wide commitments through the numerous initiatives of the Presidential Commission on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; establishing the Center for Academic Equity; more than doubling spending on EDI programing; hiring the university’s first Chief Diversity Officer and much more.  

Simpson is currently vice chair of faculty development in the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Adolescent Medicine Training Program at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. She is also the program director for UAB’s Ryan White-funded clinic that provides medical and comprehensive supportive care to children, adolescents and families living with HIV. Simpson leads multiple equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives related to faculty and trainee recruitment, education and technical assistance both at UAB and nationally.

At Tulane, Simpson will work closely with Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Bennetta Horne and Dr. Lee Hamm, Tulane senior vice president and dean of the School of Medicine. She will help the school recruit and promote a more diverse workforce of physicians and staff to provide better care for the region’s diverse patient population. She will also serve as Director of the Adolescent Medicine Section of the Pediatrics Department 

“I am beyond excited to join Tulane School of Medicine as the Chief Clinical Diversity Officer. This position will allow me to further my work and commitment to fostering a more diverse and inclusive environment for those who work in health care and to achieving more equitable health outcomes for the community,” Simpson said.  “I look forward to partnering with Dean Hamm and Assistant Dean Horne and being a part of Tulane's ongoing efforts to have a health care workforce that better reflects the diverse patient population of the Greater New Orleans area and strengthen the workforce’s ability to deliver culturally responsive care.”

Simpson will work with the school’s academic, graduate medical education and residency programs to enhance cultural competency care programs for faculty, residents and students. She will also develop or enhance training programs for all medical students, residents and faculty, including building patient-centered, effective communication around equity and diversity in medical settings. 

“Dr. Tina Simpson is a proven leader in launching EDI initiatives that foster lasting change. She understands that equitable health care is for everyone and that creating a culture of inclusion yields better outcomes for patients and trainees across the board,” Hamm said. “As Chief Clinical Diversity Officer at Tulane, she will play critical role in building a bridge between the EDI initiatives underway at the School of Medicine and all of our clinical training sites throughout the region.”

For over 10 years, Simpson has had an active role in equity, diversity and inclusion efforts at UAB’s medical school. She has served on the admissions and selection committees and as a mentor for several pathway programs. Dr. Simpson’s leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts was recognized with the 2020 UAB Department of Pediatrics Diversity and Inclusion Award for Senior Faculty and the 2021 UAB Presidential Diversity Champion Award.

Simpson, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, is no stranger to New Orleans. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of New Orleans before moving to Birmingham to complete medical school, pediatric residency and adolescent medicine fellowship training at UAB.