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LoRen Burroughs, a 2013 graduate of the University of South Alabama, recently was named diversity coordinator for the USA College of Medicine.
In her new position, Burroughs is responsible for helping to foster a supportive and inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff through programming and targeted initiatives. She will also oversee various USA College of Medicine pipeline programs in an effort to give high-achieving students from underrepresented groups access and exposure to a career in medicine.
According to Burroughs, her overarching goal is to destigmatize the concept of diversity. “Diversity is typically thought to be synonymous with ‘other,’” she said. “Instead, diversity should be viewed as a collective effort by creating a space for everyone.”
Burroughs earned her bachelor’s degree in professional health management from USA, and her master’s degree in nonprofit management and community development from Eastern Kentucky University.
Prior to her appointment at USA, Burroughs served as a HIV/AIDS civil society capacity building specialist with the Botswana Peace Corps in Maun, Botswana – an experience she said will prove beneficial her for her new role.
“My work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana taught me that truth is relative; the ideals, morals, and societal understandings I hold may not be held by the next person,” she said. “It's important to interact with people from this perspective. Although their truth may not be my truth or another person's reality may not be my own, my utmost obligation is to seek understanding.”
In 2009, Burroughs also served as an assistant for the STARS (Student Training for Academic Reinforcement in the Sciences) and STRIPES (Special Training to Raise Interest and Prepare for Entry into the Sciences) program with the USA Center for Healthy Communities. The purpose of the programs is to enhance students’ preparation in math, science, communication skills and test preparation, so they will be better prepared for college and careers in the health sciences.
She credits her time with the USA Center for Healthy Communities for providing a firsthand look at the positive influences pipeline programs have on the community. “Working with the STARS and STRIPES program showed me the relevance of pipeline programs that address disenfranchisement and lack of access in minority communities,” she said.
Burroughs said she is most excited to engage in the challenging conversations that are inherent in this field of work. “After all, open-minded conversations often lead to change,” she said.
© 2018 USA Health