Lookin' at U: Jhoanna Olmos

October 27, 2020

Image with caption: Jhoanna Olmos

Jhoanna Olmos

Lookin' at U profiles medical center employees. Today, we meet:

  • Name: Jhoanna Olmos
  • Hometown: Lexington, Nebraska
  • No. of years at UNMC: Hired June 2020

Tell us a bit about what you do here at UNMC, including job title: I am the inclusion program associate-program coordination for the newly established Office of Inclusion directed by UNMC's Director of Inclusion Sheritta Strong, MD. I also support our sister office, the Office of Equity, directed by Brandy Clarke, PhD.

(Side note: Ask your friends or colleagues if they'd like to contribute any quotes, artwork or ideas to the developing "Inclusion Corner" in the McGoogan Library. Let them know they can send those contributions via email.)

"Courage" is one of UNMC's brand values. Tell us about a time you've seen courage at UNMC: During a White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL) meet-up, the student leadership led a discussion with a TED talk by Dr. Dorothy Roberts: "The Problem with Race-Based Medicine." In breakout rooms, students, staff and faculty shared their concerns about the problematic nature of certain lessons. We pondered on how some instruction methodology could lead to health care professionals who provide inadequate care. In the larger discussion room, students shared personal accounts about sitting silently with their concerns through some of those lessons and the impact that those experiences had on them. After sharing those accounts, the students then talked about their trepidation in regards to bringing their concerns to their professors or to university leadership. That entire discussion was profoundly informative, moving and impactful.

However, what moved me the most was the courage exhibited in the closing interaction. One student directly addressed a professor who had instructed a course during which the student had accumulated a myriad of thoughts, feelings and concerns. The student confessed that he had drafted an email regarding those concerns that sat in his inbox for a week, unsent, before he finally deleted it. The entire Zoom call of 50-plus WC4BL members went silent for what seemed like an eternity before the professor said, "I wish you would have sent me that email."

The professor continued to explain where he was at on his individual journey. He went on to ask for that student's forgiveness. He then requested the safety, space and grace to continue to learn and to grow. Throughout that exchange he exhibited empathy and humility. He was human.

I think about this moment a lot. I think about how easy it could have been to get defensive after having been called out unexpectedly in a virtual room full of people (many of them strangers). Instead of making efforts to protect himself or his reputation, he was vulnerable and he was transparent. In this moment I saw a striking exhibit of both leadership and courage.

List three things people may not know about you.

  • I love to sing.
  • I mentor a handful of first-generation American kids throughout the state of Nebraska.
  • I'm a medical services officer part-time in the Nebraska National Guard.


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October 27, 2020 at 4:11 PM

Welcome to UNMC! Very glad to have gotten to know you.

October 27, 2020 at 1:07 PM

Welcome to UNMC!

Dr. Sheritta Strong
October 27, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Thank you for agreeing to join our team! I am so glad that you are here! The story that you shared is inspirational, especially that of the professor; and we are all in an amazing time of growth!

Janet M Rogers
October 27, 2020 at 10:37 AM

Welcome to UNMC!

David Finken, MD
October 27, 2020 at 10:20 AM

Welcome and thanks for sharing the story. very powerful

Anne Lawlor
October 27, 2020 at 9:34 AM

I have so enjoyed working with you so far, Jhoanna, and look forward to growing through the work of you, Dr. Strong, and many others at UNMC. Thank you for sharing this story.

Regina Idoate
October 27, 2020 at 9:25 AM

Beautiful story. One we can all relate to and learn from in one way or another. I am so happy that you are a part of UNMC...Welcome!!!

Barbara Glover
October 27, 2020 at 8:44 AM

The story about the professor and student was inspirational. If people were more honest and real with each other, we would learn, grow and fear and hatred would wither away.

Marlene Novotny
October 27, 2020 at 8:33 AM

Welcome and thank you for serving in the Nebraska National Guard.

Lisa Spellman
October 27, 2020 at 8:14 AM

Welcome to UNMC Jhoanna!

Nikki Carritt
October 27, 2020 at 5:21 AM

Thank you for your good and important work Jhoanna. UNMC and the Office of Inclusion are fortunate to have you!