New measures to enhance diversity, international medicine programs

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public affairs

In an effort to strengthen and better utilize its resources in diversity and international medicine, UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., has announced a realignment of the Community Partnership Department as well as a change in the medical center’s international medicine initiative.


Ward Chambers, M.D., executive director of the Community Partnership Department, has been named interim coordinator of programs in international health and medical education. Dr. Chambers has extensive international experience and will play a key role in building upon the medical center’s many international partnerships, Dr. Maurer said.


The international program at UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center has grown to more than 100 strategic global partners in 41 countries. Each year, the international program facilitates in bringing hundreds of international patients to UNMC for treatment as well as a significant number of international researchers, students and prominent speakers to Nebraska.


“With his strong background in medicine and diversity, Dr. Chambers will be a perfect complement to our already strong international programs,” Dr. Maurer said. “In his travels to Afghanistan and other foreign countries, Ward has been very successful in establishing links and providing assistance to people in need.”


In the realignment, those staff who have been involved in outreach and who have had liaison responsibilities with the North and South Omaha Community Care Councils will be assigned to the College of Public Health headed by Dean Jay Noren, M.D. Those staff who have been involved in multicultural affairs and diversity efforts will be assigned to Rubens Pamies, M.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs.


“Diversity is very important to our campus,” Dr. Pamies said. “We think this realignment will enhance the value of our diversity efforts and better utilize our resources so that we can more effectively deliver our services to the community. We think this will eliminate any possible redundancies and allow us to reassign resources in order to provide more services to the community.”


Dr. Noren said the employees assigned to the College of Public Health will work closely with David Grandison, M.D., Ph.D., who heads the college’s Center for Health Disparities.


“With change comes opportunity,” Dr. Noren said. “We’re excited to make these additions to our staff and think it will be a win-win situation for all of us.”


Linda Cunningham, staff diversity specialist for Human Resources, will assist Drs. Pamies and Noren in the restructuring.

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