Diversity and community are strong values at UC Davis Health and are sincere commitments by the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

We believe that ensuring diversity among our team members and within the next generation of learners is key to finding the best talent to meet all of our department’s strategic goals.

Supporting our community is also essential to activities in all of our academic missions: clinical service, research, and teaching.

We are proud to highlight the activities below that demonstrate just some of our many efforts to support diversity and our community. The Sacramento area is one of the most diverse communities in the United States, and we believe it is important to support and reflect the richness of our region in our workforce and our activities. To learn even more about us, explore our website or come to visit. We’re delighted to share many of the great things happening in our department.

Increasing diversity among the faculty is a priority for the department. As of 2022, women represent 40% of the faculty, approaching the national workforce pool of 44% in this specialty. Women represent 50% of our tenured or tenure-track faculty, a career track where women are under-represented nationwide. Racial and ethnic diversity has increased, but remains a target for improvement in the department. All faculty serving in our search committees participate in UC Davis' training in best practices for recruitment to ensure they are knowledgeable and effective in pursuing diversity.

Verónica Martínez-Cerdeño, Ph.D. Elham Vali Betts, M.D.

The department enthusiastically participates in the School of Medicine’s IDARE (Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity) initiative. Led by faculty IDARE representatives Veronica Martinez-Cerdeno and Elham Vali Betts, the department sponsored a diversity mini-retreat in 2022 and instituted the PathWAYS (Path Widens Avenues for Young Scientists) program to provide under-represented minority students research experiences. Future IDARE activities include SEED training for faculty and visiting clinical electives for minority housestaff from medical schools at historically black universities.

  • We’re proud of our 30+ year tradition providing free routine clinical laboratory testing, including cervical cancer screening, to under-served communities supported by our student-run clinics.
  • Members of the California State Assembly recognized our department with a proclamation in 2013 for our many years of participation in the Sacramento Community Cancer Coalition’s Annual Health Fair. Phlebotomist Carlton Matthews was honored with a Community Service Award for his five years of service at this event. We continue to support this and other community health fairs.

Offered for almost 40 years, our Edmondson summer fellowship program is designed to expose talented college students from a variety of backgrounds to the excitement and intellectual challenges of careers in science and laboratory medicine. We also reach out to high school students through career fairs throughout our region to share information about the many careers available in pathology and laboratory medicine.

Krish Krishnan, Ph.D. Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, Ph.D.Adjunct Professor Krish Krishnan is a leader in research and educational programs to enhance the pipeline of under-represented minority (URM) students into PhD programs. In collaboration with UCD, Dr. Krishnan serves as the California State University Fresno (CSU Fresno) program director for the NIH T32-funded Bridges to Doctorate program which supports URM students for transition to PhD training at UCD. Dr. Krishnan is also the program director for the NIH-funded RISE program (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancements) for undergraduates which enhances the research and educational training of URM students. Along with our Vice Chair of Research Yvonne Wan, he is working to grow the connection between our department and CSU Fresno’s graduate program. Drs. Krishnan and Wan recently completed a SC3 (SCORE Program) grant which supported URM CSU Fresno graduate students to work in Dr. Wan’s lab and study how intestinal metabolites contribute to liver carcinogenesis.

Verónica Martínez-Cerdeño, Ph.D. Brittany N. Dugger, Ph.D.Our faculty inspire science careers among URM K-12 students through visits to schools to introduce young people to science. Professor Veronica Martinez-Cerdeno founded the Ventricular Foundation whose activities include school visits and career fairs to advance knowledge of the brain and promote scientific education about the societal benefits of research. Associate Professor Brittany Dugger conducts the Brains to Classrooms outreach education program for local elementary school students. Since launching this program, she has provided an inspiring educational experience to approximately 100 local elementary students each year, many from under-represented backgrounds, on how to keep their brains healthy.

Brittany N. Dugger, Ph.D. Through a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Aging, Associate Professor Brittany Dugger leads a team to help define the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease in Hispanic cohorts, This is the first large-scale initiative to present a detailed description of brain manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican descent.

Verónica Martínez-Cerdeño, Ph.D. Veronica Martinez-Cerdeno leads the development of the Hispano-American Brain Bank of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (Banco Hispanoamericano de CErebros de trastornos del NEurodesarrollo), or CENE, a new project of the UC Davis MIND Institute which aims to increase the diversity and availability of post-mortem brain tissue for the study of neurodevelopmental conditions like autism, fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome.

Alexander Borowsky, M.D.Professor Alexander “Sandy” Borowsky is the UCD site principle investigator for the NIH All of Us study, a 10-year $1.4 billion landmark study to understand how individual differences influence health and disease. About 70% of UCD participants are from underrepresented communities and 40+% are from racial/ethnic minorities. Dr. Borowsky also received a $12.5 million grant from the NIH to lead a multi-institutional All of Us Nutrition study which will examine the influence of diet and nutrition on health, and study precision nutrition, the potential of customized diet recommendations to promote health and prevent disease.

Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, Ph.D. Vice Chair of Research Yu-jui Yvonne Wan is examining racial disparities via a $1 million grant from the California Department of Public Health’s Alzheimer’s Disease Program for her study “Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Metabolic Dysfunction and Alzheimer's Disease: The Diet-Gut-Liver-Brain Axis".

Lydia Pleotis Howell, M.D.Department chair Lydia Howell co-founded the UC Davis Health Women in Medicine and Health Science group and co-led this group for 15 years. She is also past-chair of the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC) Leadership Development and Diversity Committee, and made diversity a priority during her tenure as President of of APC. A national leader in women’s career issues and work-life integration, Dr. Howell has published articles on these topics in prominent journals based on projects funded by the National Institute of Health and the American Council on Education.