Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

The Department of Surgery Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council is led by Vice Chair V. Liana Tsikitis, M.D., M.C.R., M.B.A., and is comprised of surgery physicians, fellows, advanced practice practitioners, residents, students, and administrative staff.

The council’s mission is to assist OHSU and the Department of Surgery to achieve health equity for all by becoming an inclusive, antiracist department and institution.



DEI Defined

DIVERSITY:  The inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation. Honoring diversity means acknowledging people’s differences as an asset that enforces collective intelligence. When we strive for diverse representation and engagement we come closer to achieving equity.

EQUITY:  “To be fair & impartial.”  Equity refers to fairness and justice and focuses on outcomes that are most appropriate for a given group, recognizing different challenges, needs, and histories. It is also not EQUALITY, which doesn’t take differing needs or disparate outcomes into account. Systemic equity involves a robust system and a dynamic process consciously designed to create, support and sustain social justice.

INCLUSION:  Inclusion refers to the achievement of the environment (work, school, community etc.) in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully and have equal access to opportunities and resources. Inclusion refers to empowerment of all individuals to contribute fully to the organization's success. An inclusive environment promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.

*Oxford’s & Webster’s Dictionary

Council goals

  • Implement focused training and education that addresses inequity in all departmental ranks.
  • Address all patterns of hiring retention and promotion & leadership opportunities for all faculty and create a deliberate plan to address racial and gender disparities.
  • Create a system to investigate and rectify patient, trainee and employee complaints of racism, sexual harassment, and micro-aggressions.
  • Community Outreach in conjunction with the School of Medicine Institution efforts.

Our work so far

  • Establishment of quarterly diversity training and education within residency didactics and faculty-wide Grand Rounds conferences.
  • DEI Council participation in all department leadership search committees as well as annual Promotion & Tenure Committee meetings.
  • Approved funding for multiple educational and community outreach projects, including aiding under-represented minority residents in attending professional society annual meetings.

DEI Leadership

V. Liana Tsikitis

V. Liana Tsikitis, M.D., M.C.R., M.B.A.
Vice Chair
Division of Gastrointestinal and General Surgery


Truc Westerlund, B.S.
Administrative Support
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Tatiana Hoyos Gomez

Tatiana Hoyos Gomez, M.D.
Assistant Director
Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery

RT headshot

Ruchi Thanawala, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.
Assistant Director
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery


Claire Lawrence, B.S., M.P.A.
Division of Surgical Oncology

DEI Committee

Ex Officio Members

Nathalie Johnson, M.D.
Community Outreach Liaison - Legacy Health

Belinda McCully, Ph.D
Research - Western University