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Penn Vet Announces Appointment of First Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By: Martin J. Hackett Date: Feb 1, 2021
Roderick J. Gilbert
Roderick J. Gilbert

[February 1, 2021; Philadelphia, PA] The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet) today announced the appointment of Roderick J. Gilbert as the School’s first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In this new role, Gilbert will be responsible for shaping Penn Vet’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for students and staff; establishing relationships with diversity leads from across the University and within the veterinary profession to build awareness of Penn Vet’s inclusion activities; and building upon the School’s foundation of allyship. The appointment of Gilbert will accelerate Penn Vet’s efforts to embed diversity, equity and inclusion across the School’s teaching, healthcare, and research missions.

Gilbert will serve on the School’s leadership council, reporting to Andrew Hoffman, DVM, DSc, DACVIM, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. He will also work with Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Diversity Olena Jacenko, PhD, to foster Penn Vet’s Plan for Faculty Excellence through Diversity.

“Establishing the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer role is a vital step in our efforts to strengthen and advance Penn Vet’s vision for diversity representation and to cultivate a distinct sense of belonging and community,” said Dean Hoffman. “Adding this position to the School’s leadership team reflects our commitment to a culture that reflects our values of diversity, inclusion, and opportunity. His role – connecting our students and staff to resources at Penn, to our alumni, and to organized medicine – will bolster these goals. Roderick is an extraordinary and accomplished leader in organizational diversity and I am thrilled to have him on our team.”

Prior to assuming the role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Gilbert served as Director of Diversity Pipeline Programs and Outreach for the College of Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) where he established a series of academic pathway programs for students underrepresented in academic medical sciences. Before joining PSU in October 2017, Gilbert served as the Director for Inclusion and Diversity Strategy for the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) where he led the development and implementation of the institution’s first comprehensive institutional strategic diversity plan while also increasing the representation of minority medical residents. He was co-chair of UMMC’s Healthcare Disparities Committee and chair of the education subcommittee. Prior to that, Gilbert was the Minority Physician Program Director at Boston University Medical Center where he more than doubled the number of minority residents and had marked success recruiting minority faculty over the course of four years. 

“I am very excited to join the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer,” said Gilbert. “It is clear to me that Penn Vet’ students, staff and faculty have an unwavering passion for each other, and for the communities they serve. I look forward to harnessing the School’s collective energy to support our next generation of veterinarians and to build an equitable and sustainable world.”

The members of the search committee were Dr. Evelyn Galban (chair), Dr. Hydar Ali (Penn Dental Medicine), Tonya Bennett, Dr. Molly Church, Dr. Stephen Cole, Dr. Samuel Hurcombe, Dr. Olena Jacenko, Jillian Marcussen, Nichole Davis Moore, and Dr. Brittany Watson. 


About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 34,600 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 6,200 patient visits a year, while our Field Services have gone out on more than 5,500 farm service calls, treating some 18,700 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.