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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Living our Mission

Diversity is a core principle of RowanSOM and Rowan University.  Our mission to prepare culturally-proficient physicians and researchers who are focused on holistic wellness cannot be realized without intentional, thoughtful introspection and action regarding anti-Black racism, implicit bias, xenophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia to enhance our practice.  The recurrent, senseless deaths of people of color, as well as racial and socioeconomic health disparities as evidenced with the COVID-19 pandemic, reveal why equitable conditions matter in medicine. Our production of racially and linguistically diverse and socially-just physicians and medical researchers are critical to meet these needs and serve the State of New Jersey. 

RowanSOM is devoted to our students and state by improving diversity, equity and inclusion - from programs supporting underrepresented, minoritized high school STEM students, to innovative programs in GSBS, to our holistic admissions process, to instruction that prepares future physicians and researchers for culturally-responsive service to eradicate health disparities and racism in medicine. 

RowanSOM is committed to listening to and preparing our students, staff, and faculty to act and foster an institutional climate and culture that everyone thrives. Read more about our commitment.  

Rowan University’s non-discrimination policy ensures people’s rights in education and employment are protected and enforced. Resources are available for reporting issues of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct.

We are proud of, and grateful to, our students for their leadership in propelling our institution forward.  Read more about The Black Collective and our Student Organizations here. 

Together, we commit to the important work ahead to heal our school and community.

Yvonne Ortiz

Inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

2021 Excellence in Diversity Award Winners

We are proud to announce that The Black Collective has received a 2021 Excellence in Diversity Award! 
Congratulations to this group for all their work and dedication! 

Excellence in Diversity for the Study or Practice of Medicine 

We recognize The Black Collective RowanSOM (TBC) for their work advancing equity and inclusion. Since 2020, the Black medical students and alumni of TBC have worked hard to identify and transform cultural and structural barriers to success for students of color in medical education. They have partnered with Rowan SOM administration and the Division of DEI to ensure meaningful change and established mentorship networks to support students academically and professionally. We admire TBC for their persistence and commitment to equity and community! 


We are proud to announce that Dean Paula Watkins has received a 2021 Excellence in Diversity Award! 
Congratulations to Dean Watkins and thank you for all your work! 

Excellence in Diversity for Social Activism  

Congratulations to Paula Watkins, Rowan SOM Assistant Dean for Admissions, for her work cultivating diverse future physicians and shaping the future in the osteopathic tradition. Assistant Dean Watkins has championed diversity through her redesign of recruitment processes, work encouraging high school students in underserved communities to pursue careers in medicine, recruitment of medical students from underrepresented groups, influencing the creation of the SOM Diversity Task Force, and lending her diversity recruitment leadership to other osteopathic medical schools through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. SOM anticipates the composition of this year’s incoming class to be 30% underrepresented minorities as a result of her leadership. Thank you Assistant Dean Watkins for your vision, passion, and leadership!

What We Do

Under the Division of DEI, RowanSOM offers opportunities for professional learning on a variety of topics, including implicit bias, microaggressions, and being an ally, advocate or accomplice. For more information on Division of DEI learning and events, click here. For more information on the SOM’s DEI Professional Learning, click here.

RowanSOM’s DEI work is led by the Director of DEI with support of the DEI Committee. It includes a focus on four areas – leadership, instruction, systems and culture. The DEI Strategic Action Plan is designed to strengthen the institutional climate and culture for equitable outcomes.  

Reporting and Resources

Confidential and anonymous reporting available to all students HERE. 

Resources are available to all students HERE. 

Admissions and Pathway Programs

Admissions - Medical Student JocelynRowanSOM has lead the way amongst medical schools in the nation in recruiting and enrolling a diverse student population. Essential to this success is our holistic review process. Our Admissions Committee continually approaches student enrollment from a focus of inclusion and diversity. 

Read more about our Admissions process



Cultural competency and advocacy is embedded into the RowanSOM mission to:

Develop clinically skillful, compassionate and culturally competent physicians from diverse backgrounds who are grounded in our osteopathic philosophy and ready to meet future healthcare workforce needs”

To meet that mission, the Tensegrity Curriculum has several components of the curriculum dedicated to training students to be culturally humble and promoting patient advocacy. RowanSOM is committed to educating future physicians in the biopsychosocial model of health care, how to promote health and how to overcome health care disparities. 

Financial Aid and Scholarships

gradimage1.jpgThe Stratford Campus Student Financial Aid Office is committed to providing a substantial financial aid program, including loans, grants and scholarship. Our goal is to ease the student debt burden so that financial issues do not preclude matriculation to any accepted students. Race, ethnicity and gender are not considered in making financial aid decisions; however, we are committed to garnering additional funds through federal and state programs for disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students.  




We believe it is essential for institutions to invest in the future of research and medicine, a goal we achieve through two outreach programs. 

The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program recruits undergraduate students considering graduate education in the biomedical sciences. 

The Summer Medical Research Fellowship (SMRF) is open to RowanSOM medical students who have been accepted to participate in an eight week research project with a faculty mentor.

The Clinical Research, Education, & Training Experiences (CREATE) is a six-week, stipend-supported summer research program open to 25 RowanSOM medical students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. CREATE is part of the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP).

Student Organizations and Support

studentlife_banner_index.jpgRowanSOM has many student organizations that support unique and innovative programming that serves the needs of diverse students. 

Student organizations including the I.D.E.A. Council, SNMA, LASOH, LMSA work tirelessly to improve the community of RowanSOM. Read more about Student Organizations 


The Black Collective at RowanSOM

The mission of The Black Collective is to improve and advance the experience of Black medical students at RowanSOM. We strive to eliminate the barriers that arise in medical education through fostering an environment of academic excellence, empowerment and advocacy through mentorship and support.