Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

ACB: This is Us

This is an opportunity to learn some of the more intimate aspects of ACB personnel lives.  ACB persons will volunteer to have one-on-one informal conversations with each other about how they navigate certain aspects of their lives including frustrations, joys, disappointments, accomplishments, and biases in a majority white, Christian, able-bodied, heterosexual majority workplace and city.

Timothy Nguyen & Sofia Ramirez

March 1st, 2024 2:00PM

1-561 BSB MacEwen Conference Room

Lindsey Rhea and Denise Seabold

December 8th, 2023

1-561 BSB MacEwen Conference room


Informal unscripted conversation between two members of the department (staff, students, post-docs, research scientists, faculty) centered on a certain aspect of a person’s identify. These conversations will take place on a Friday afternoon both in person and over Zoom with afternoon refreshments being available.

Jan. 21. 2022

“Pilot” episode was provided during the department’s celebration of MLK and Human Rights week.

Featured ACB personnel:

Andy Frank (faculty)-This is my Jewish and

Darren Hoffmann (faculty)-This is my LGBTQ

April 1, 2022

Episode 1

Featured ACB personnel:

Tartil Ali (MCA graduate student) speaking about being a black Muslim woman in science who moved to the US from Sudan

Vitaley Ievlev (CDB graduate student) speaking about growing up in Russia and coming to the US to study science.  

NOTE: This was an important conversation in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022

ALSO OF NOTE: the two graduate students asked that their conversation not be recorded or posted)

April 29, 2022

Episode 2

Featured ACB personnel:

Amy Ryan (faculty) speaking about being from rural UK and pursuing scientific studies in the US and becoming the newest faculty member in ACB.

Julie Collins (ACB administrative assistant) speaking on growing up in Iowa and working at UI in various colleges and programs and being thought of as “just the secretary”.

November 11, 2022

Episode 3:

Featured ACB personnel: 

Sam Young (faculty) speaking about his experience as a first- generation undergraduate and graduate college student and the overwhelming importance of good mentorship.

Tina Tootle (faculty) also speaking about her experience as a first generation undergraduate and graduate college student.


For summer 2022 we will pause “CONVERSATIONS” and provide a different forum to showcase ACB personnel’s lesser-known talents, hobbies, and interests. Please submit videos, artwork, tutorials, etc. to be featured here.   

Masataka Kawai


 I started to take piano lessons as an adult when I reached 33 years of age in New York City from a person (Ms Sayuri Iida) who often played at Carnegie Recital Hall.  This initial lesson continued for 10 years until I moved to Iowa City.  I restarted to take a piano lesson 6 years ago from Ms Aura Strohschein, then a graduate student at music Department in UI, who subsequently got the DMA and works at Iowa Wesleyan University as an adjunct piano professor.  



My voice lesson started in Iowa about 25 years ago with Ms Marie Von Behren.  I am more confident in Japanese songs than in English songs, not because Japanese is my native language.  But because most (99%) Japanese sounds are combination of consonant and vowel, hence easy phonation.  Sounds with consonants alone are very difficult to voice (sing), and English and German have many of them.  Italian has more consonant+vowel sounds, hence many vocalists tend to learn Italian songs first, but it turned out that Japanese is even better.


My other songs can be found in https://www.youtube.com/ by typing my full name “masataka kawai” to the Search field.  Or directly by the following links.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7ddHjx8aPk                              Satono aki (Japanese)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u7XQ56_B5A                           Hymne a l’amour (Japanese)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGJTswVE3ss                            Home sweet home (Eng+Jap)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPEUOvvsBSU                            Come back to Sorrento (Ital+Jap)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmAasrztdhY                             Edelweiss (English)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUsaEKWDDH4                          Shiretoko Sentiment (Japanse+Piano)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jzXkmKKOhc                             Für Elise (Piano)


We are dedicated to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for individuals with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. We value our racial, ethnic, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, religious, age, and cultural differences. We believe diversity is essential to excellence in scientific research, education, and training. Diverse and inclusive groups benefit from a broad range of experiences and perspectives, which enhances innovation and creativity.

The leadership team in the ACB Department is committed to continuously embracing DEI initiatives and preventing potential institutional bias, racism, violence, discrimination, and inequity as follows:

  • We condemn police brutality and racial injustice against Black and other underrepresented minority (URM) members of our community.
  • We condemn violence and persecution of Asians, Muslims, Jews, and LGBTQ persons within our community. 
  • We condemn all violence driven by hatred of any singular or multiple characteristics of an individual’s identity.
  • We reinforce our continued commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in our Department as well as in the fields of anatomy and cell biology. We strive to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment of education, research, and service.


The Department is committed to cultivating a safe and welcoming environment for all. It is our individual and collective responsibility to fight inequity and systemic “-isms” in academics through collective efforts and innovative approaches. We value and are dedicated to increasing the diversity and presence of minority groups in our Department at the trainee, staff, and faculty levels.

Action plan

Our specific action plans and ongoing implementations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Recruiting more diversified personnel within the ACB department
  1.  Increase applications and enrollment of individuals of underrepresented groups to the Biomedical Science Programs in the CCOM and the University through collaborations with the Office of Graduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and continuing to foster a welcoming environment for URM graduate students through offers of a fellowship incentive program. 
  2.  Increase applications of individuals of underrepresented groups for postdoctoral positions within the Department by building a “pipeline” beginning as early as junior high years, high school years and undergraduate years.
  3. Recruit underrepresented graduate students and postdoctoral scholars by developing and fostering relationships with primarily minority-serving institutions across the country, for example California State University, Los Angeles and Howard University.
  4. Increase the diversity of individuals pursuing biomedical research careers by offering travel awards e.g. the Ishan and Adil Jain Junior Scholar Awards in order to send undergraduate URM students to national meetings. 
  5. Encourage faculty to involve undergraduate URM students in their research programs by participating in Iowa Bioscience Academy and other university programs as well as developing a summer undergraduate research program within the department itself.


  • Promoting DEI within ACB:
  1. Establishment of a Departmental DEI Committee comprised of faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and students. The committee members will meet quarterly with the Department Chair as a collaborative group to promote and implement DEI activities. The committee will present bi-annually at faculty meetings to engage more faculty in DEI efforts.
  2. Highlight DEI activities and accomplishments of all ACB individuals using a variety of platforms (i.e., departmental website, social media, annual newsletter).
  3. Support community DEI outreach by encouraging and supporting faculty, staff, and trainees to develop and participate in community outreach activities to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusivity in science.
  4. Emphasize and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing workshops on the issues surrounding DEI. These workshops are led by staff and faculty within the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM).


If you experience or witness an action that goes against or detracts from the diverse, equitable and inclusive environment within the Department and University, the leadership team in the Department is here to listen, act, and provide resources. Multiple mechanisms are in place at the College and University levels to report instances of racism and discrimination that occur in the workplace. 

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) focuses on identifying, recruiting, and retaining individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine and biomedical fields. We are mindful and respectful of all aspects of human differences and define diversity in the broadest sense to mean inclusion of all persons who contribute to a welcoming, inclusive culture across the enterprise. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has posted an anti-racist Resource Guide to help all of us take action against racism.

Additional DEI resources for students, faculty, and staff are available on campus:

Student resources

Campus Inclusion Team, 319-335-1162

University Counseling Service, 319-335-7294

Office of the Dean of Students, 319-335-1162

Center for Diversity and Enrichment, 319-335-3555

Office of Graduate College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 319-335-2143

Academic Support and Retention, 319-335-1497

Student Disability Services, 319-335-1462, TTY 319-335-1498

Faculty and staff resources

UI Employee Assistance Program, 319-335-2085

Faculty and Staff Disability Services, 319-335-2660, TTY 319-335-3495

Campus resources

Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 319-335-0705

Office of the Ombudsperson, 319-335-3608

Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC), 319-335-1486

Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), 319-335-6000

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to our Department goals of continued success in education, research, service, and career development. By working together to fight inequities and systemic “-isms”, we will make a stronger and better Department, College, and University.

Currently (August/2023) the ACB DEI committee is comprised of:

Martine Dunnwald  faculty and chair of committee

Dylan Glawe – staff

Juan Rodriguez – student

Thomas Rutkowski – faculty