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Dr. Angela Bailey Heidel

Dr. Dorris Powell-Alexander

Department's Mission Statement
However You Define Yourself, We Value YOU

Welcome! Our co-directors of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-racism, Dr. Angela Bailey Heidel and Dr. Dorris Powell-Tyson, extend a warm and hardy greeting. Please feel free to contact us!

Here at Vanderbilt, our commitment to diversity and inclusion begins with our most important objective, patient centered care. We welcome and celebrate all people and cultures in this department and throughout VUMC. Our intentions are to welcome everyone as family and foster a real sense of community in Emergency medicine. Our equity stands out for providing opportunities for our faculty, educating our trainees, and retaining the best talent. We strive for an environment where all can thrive, appreciate all interests, and encourage all students whose are excited about Emergency Medicine to find out more about us. 



The Fisk Jubilee Singers formed in 1871, and the troupe is credited with saving Fisk University from financial ruin because of the profits made while touring. Queen Victoria traveled to hear their tour, and they drew praise from Mark Twain. They put Nashville on the music map while breaking racial barriers after the Civil war. The story goes, that she was so impressed that she said they must be from a 'city of music. 'But it wasn’t until about 50 years later, in the 1920s, as WSM's Grand Ole Opry started to gain popularity, that the nickname “Music City” began to take hold.  It is said that here in Music City, many talented folks, have a long and illustrious history of producing some of the world’s most iconic tunes. From country to gospel and rock ‘n’ roll, Nashville has been home to countless legendary artists who have shaped the music industry.


More than 60 years ago, a group of Nashville college students joined forces with local preachers to start a nonviolent movement that had an indelible impact in the segregated South. While groups did similar types of work in other cities, the Nashville students from Fisk University, Tennessee State University, Meharry Medical College, and the American Baptist Theological Seminary had the first and most wide-ranging success in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Names like Rev. James Lawson, Diane Nash, and John Lewis, along with countless other students, sat at lunch counters, rode busses, and marched, and would go on to play key roles in the civil rights movement’s biggest victories.  The Nashville sit-ins began on February 13th, 1960, at several department stores downtown. After 2 months, of standoffs with white business owners, a bomb was placed at the home of Attorney Z. Alexander Looby.  This resulting in a massive protest march to City Hall, where Ms. Nash questioned the acting Mayor about the incident, and the mayor recommended the lunch counters be desegregated. Three weeks later, black students and residents ate at the lunch counters, and Nashville became the first city in the South to desegregate. By then the sit-ins had spread across the South, and students in other cities realized that victory was possible. 

These are but a few of several historical highlights here, and many more can be discovered here at the Tennessee State Museum. You can visit many of these college campuses today and learn even more inspiring events that students helped negotiate successfully to end segregated public facilities and register Black persons in the south to vote. 


  • HBCU’s provided educational opportunities for many African Americans who were once legally denied an education. at Today, HBCUs across the United States continue to play a vital role in America's prosperity — academically, socially, and economically. Although HBCUs were originally founded to educate Black Americans, today 1 in 4 students (24%) enrolled at HBCUs are non-Black. 

  • Tennessee State University - 69 majors 

  • Meharry Medical College - 5 majors 

  • Fisk University - 25 majors 

  • American Baptist College 

Hot Chicken is so Good!

Anecdotal evidence suggests that spicy fried chicken has been served in Nashville's African-American communities for generations. The dish may have been introduced as early as the 1930s. However, the current style of spice paste may only date back to the mid-1970s. It is generally accepted that the originator of hot chicken is the family of Andre Prince Jeffries, owner of Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. She has operated the restaurant since 1980. Before that time, it was owned by her great-uncle, Thornton Prince III. Although impossible to verify, Jeffries says the development of hot chicken was an accident. Her great-uncle Thornton was a womanizer, and after a particularly late Saturday night out, his girlfriend at the time cooked him a fried chicken breakfast with extra pepper as revenge. Instead, Thornton decided he liked it so much that, by the mid-1930s, he and his brothers had created their own recipe and opened the BBQ Chicken Shack café. Today, there are several restaurants that also serve their version of this Nashville delight. 


Vandy EM URM Visiting Student Stipend

The Department of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt is pleased to offer a stipend for visiting URM students to complete a 4-week Emergency Medicine rotation at Vanderbilt. The URM Visiting Student Stipend is designed to promote awareness about our residency program and increase diversity in the pursuit of our mission to discover and teach how to treat each patient with dignity and respect – anyone, anything, anytime – and to deliver this care every single day.


More information can be found on the Vandy EM URM Visiting Student Stipend page

Women in Academic Medicine

Women in Academic Emergency Medicine (WAM) was created by members of the VUMC EM faculty to support female EM residents, fellows, and faculty. The goal of WAM is to provide a support system through mentorship, education, and outreach. Over the course of each academic year, WAM hosts several events, including dinners with a round table format with designated discussion topics, formal career-development panels, and wellness hikes in our local, beautiful Percy Warner Park. WAM advocates for the professional advancement of female emergency physicians. 

Vanderbilt Office of Diversity and Inclusion at VUMC


VUMC and VUSM have dedicated teams and resources focused on two distinct areas: health equity and inclusive excellence. Health equity, optimal health across all populations, is the focus of the Office of Health Equity  Inclusive excellence, a diverse workforce and student body in which everyone thrives and feels they belong, is the focus of the VUMC Office of Diversity and Inclusion and VUSM Office for Diversity Affairs.


At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, we care for a very diverse patient population.  Understanding the needs of our patients and the challenges they face surrounding healthcare will help us more adequately address health disparities that exist and work toward achieving health equity. We offer a resident elective in health equity and identifying barriers to follow up care after ED discharge. 



Vanderbilt University Medical Center believes that a workforce that is diverse and inclusive in nature is more effective at crafting innovative solutions to the major challenges of health care and executing those solutions as a team. Please visit the following pages for more information regarding VUMC’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. 

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