VCU School of Medicine’s ACCESS Program presents annual Global Health Symposium: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Global Era 

Contact: Nicol Tinsley
VCU Global Education Office
(804) 828-6463

Richmond, VA (August 28, 2023) —The VCU School of Medicine’s ACCESS Program and the Global Education Office are co-sponsoring the fourth annual Global Health Symposium held on September 9, 2023, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the McGlothlin Medical Education Center, 1201 E Marshall St., and via Zoom for international attendees. The student-led symposium, themed “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Global Era,” will showcase a full schedule of informational activities intended to engage VCU undergraduates, students in nursing, dental, physical therapy, medical students, physicians and any members of the public eager to learn about global health.

Edgar Rodas, M.D., FACS, director of the VCU Program for Global Surgery, expressed how the symposium provides important supplemental experiences for the students coordinating it and ultimately helps create citizens able to lead in the global health arena.

“The ACCESS Symposium is one of the most important activities that our students with an interest in global health organize and participate in," he said. "It displays their ability to bring together five disciplines with interesting topics discussed by globally recognized leaders, including VCU faculty, fellows, residents and students."

"It is the culmination of a year’s preparation where they learn additional organizational and leadership skills to become true global citizens and global health leaders, placing VCU at the forefront of innovation in education," he said.

The symposium will feature three global health leaders as keynote speakers: Tamara Fitzgerald, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at Duke University's School of Medicine; Edgar M. Kalimba M.D., senior consultant pediatrician and pulmonologist of King Faisal Hospital, Rwanda; and Matthew Glucksberg, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and the co-director of the Center for Global Health Technologies at Northwestern University. 

In addition to the keynote speakers, the symposium will include a panel of health specialists who will discuss implicit bias in international healthcare. To view the full list and biographies of the speakers and panelists visit 2023 Symposium Speakers. Added to the schedule are speaker sessions from top faculty, clinicians, and global health leaders; workshops providing critical skills for global health involvement; abstract submissions and poster presentations; and a networking lunch for attendees.

Jill Blondin, Ph.D., associate vice provost of global initiatives, is proud to support an event that offers such visibility for global health matters.

"This is exactly the kind of event, with the focus on global health, that we should be supporting,” she said. “I am incredibly impressed by the students' dedication and hard work in bringing this conference to fruition as well as the message about the importance of global health."

The cost for the symposium is free for students outside of the U.S., and all proceeds will be used for future ACCESS Program events and initiatives. The costs for other attendees are as follows:

  • $5 for U.S. and VCU Students
  • $10 for international professionals
  • $15 for U.S. residents
  • $30 for U.S. professionals

Anyone interested in attending may register until September 8, 2023. Questions regarding the symposium can be directed to