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Inaugural Diversity Retreat

Inaugural Diversity Retreat

From the Ashes: The Rise of Inclusion and Belonging and the Decline of Exclusion and Hate

Friday, January 20, 2023, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Virtual

Complimentary Admission. Registration Required.


Please join the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Rosalind Franklin University (RFU) for our inaugural all day retreat to inspire and promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Presentations, panels, and conversations throughout the day will feature: diversity and equity in the administrative, medical, and academic fields; sexual harassment and Title IX; fostering diversity support, advocacy, and career advancement; and diversity through an artistic lens. This retreat endeavors to build understanding, insight, and provide perspectives for affecting change on a personal and organizational level.

RFU is committed to inclusive excellence in leadership, education, and community engagement. The Inaugural Diversity Retreat is an opportunity for those within and outside our RFU community to come together, learn, reflect and advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion.


8:30 a.m. Welcome
8:50 a.m. Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Update
9:20 a.m. Keynote: Who Do You Think You Are?
10:25 a.m. Believe! A Discussion on Sexual Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
11:45 a.m. The Diversity Facade
12:55 p.m. Lunch Break and Virtual Phoenix Collage
1:55 p.m. Support, Advocacy and the Diversity Rebirth
3:15 p.m. Diversity in the Arts
4:25 p.m. Closing



“Who Do You Think You Are?”

Sherunda Simone, DPM, MPH

Dr. Simone is a Jamaican-American podiatric physician, author, and sought-after speaker and corporate consultant in patient engagement and experience, as well as leadership training and professional development skills for health care providers. As a podiatric physician, Dr. Simone is trained in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery and preventative podiatric care, and has provided care at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Georgia since 2014. She is a dual graduate of Barry University, where she achieved both her doctorate of podiatric medicine and masters in public health, and she completed her residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In 2008, she founded her motivational speaking organization, Dr. Simone International, and has since presented at dozens of engagements, including professional medical and patient experience conferences, and on television, radio and podcasts. In 2015, Dr. Simone self-published “More than Medicine: What They Don't Teach You in Medical, MA, Nursing, or PA School” which has gained a following as a medical customer service and staff management resource. Her mantra is, "I will either see you AT the top or FROM the top. You decide."


Wendy Rheault, PT, PhD, FASAHP, FNAP, DipACLM

President and CEO, Professor Physical Therapy and Interprofessional Education, Rosalind Franklin University

Eric G. Williams, Ph.D.

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Rosalind Franklin University


“Believe! A Discussion on Sexual Violence and Harassment in the Workplace”

This session will build awareness of workplace sexual violence and harassment through the sharing of personal stories and the stories of other professionals who have experienced this treatment. The session also aims to challenge the unconscious practice that women, especially women of color, are often times not believed when they come forward with a report of sexual violence or harassment. The panel discussion will encourage participation from the audience.


Erin Baynard, BS

Continuing Medical Education Director, The Osler Institute


Allena Barbato, JD LMFT

Director, Title IX Compliance and Equity Officer, Rosalind Franklin University

Mary Tell, MSHRM, SPHR

Director, Human Resources, Rosalind Franklin University


“The Diversity Facade”

An extension of the Glass Ceiling concept born from the women’s movement, the Diversity Facade will be examined within educational institutions, workforce, and regions, including hierarchy, group disparities, and personal experiences. A subsequent panel discussion will delve further into individual experiences and perspectives, and will encourage participation from the audience.


Heather M. Kind‑Keppel, EdD, MS, MEd

Executive Director of Equity, Education, and Outreach and Assistant Professor, Humanities and Health Care, Rosalind Franklin University


Anne H. Lee, MD, PhD 2008

Assistant Professor and Co-course Director, Clinical Anatomy, and Course Director, Literature in Medicine

Viral Mistry, PhD Candidate

School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Rosalind Franklin University

“Support, Advocacy and the Diversity Rebirth”

This session aims to analyze and break down stereotypes, understand truths, establish bonds and build bridges to effect change toward advancing diversity. A subsequent panel discussion will delve further into individual experiences and perspectives, and will encourage participation from the audience.


Sherri Kacinko, PhD, F‑ABFT

Forensic Toxicologist, NMS Laboratories; Culture, Values, and Diversity Committee of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists

Dr. Sherri Kacinko is a senior toxicologist at NMS Labs in Horsham, PA. She earned her PhD in toxicology from the University of Maryland – Baltimore. She is also adjunct faculty in the chemistry and forensic science departments at Arcadia University and serves as an Instructor at the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education. In her teaching roles, she lectures in pharmacology, postmortem toxicology, and human performance toxicology courses. Her current research interests include the identification and quantification of novel psychoactive substances including synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants, hallucinogens, opioids and benzodiazepines in biological fluids and their toxicological impact. Dr. Kacinko also uses data analytics to monitor drug use trends on a local and national level. Dr. Kacinko is a fellow of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT) and is a member of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Dr. Kacinko was presented with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Toxicology Section Irving Sunshine Award in recognition of early career research and served as the AAFS toxicology section program chair, secretary and chair.


Sarah Garber, PhD

Director of Interprofessional Studies and Professor, College of Pharmacy, Rosalind Franklin University

Dr. Garber received her Bachelor‘s degree in Biology and Chemistry from Barnard College and her PhD in Biochemistry from Brandeis University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, she joined the Physiology and Biophysics faculty at University of Alabama as a Research Instructor in 1990 and then as Associate Scientist in the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center. In 1992 she moved to the Medical School of Pennsylvania. She came to RFUMS in 1999 as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the Medical School. Dr. Garber maintained an NIH funded research program focusing on ion channel physiology and cellular volume regulation for over 15 years. She joined the Department of Interprofessional Healthcare Studies in the College of Health Professions in 2005, where she became involved in curriculum, assessment and program development, and was promoted to full Professor in 2008. She served as Principal Senator of the University Faculty Senate from 2006-2008, Faculty Representative to the RFUMS Board of Trustees in 2015-2019, and received the Excellence in Service to the University Award in 2011. She continues to be very active in University committees and community and retains faculty appointments in four of the six schools at the University. Dr. Garber is committed to promoting interprofessional student and faculty involvement in biomedical research, scholarship, education and assessment.

Meredith Fils, MS '14, PA‑C

Director of Didactic Education and Instructor, Physician Assistant Program, College of Health Professions, Rosalind Franklin University


“Diversity in the Arts”

Learn how diversity promotion or lack thereof has both influenced and/or stymied artistic expression throughout history. The presentation and panel discussion will be led by artists and leaders in higher education.


Robyn Phillips‑Pendleton, MFA

Professor of Visual Communications, Department of Art & Design, University of Delaware Interim; Director, MFA in Illustration Practice, Maryland Institute College of Art

Robyn Phillips-Pendleton is a practicing illustrator, visual storyteller, designer, and educator. She has exhibited her work in national and international exhibitions, and she is also an artist for the United States Air Force Artist Program. Robyn has created illustrations for institutions of higher education, children’s CD covers, editorial magazines, picture books, and publishing companies. She is a member of the Board of Directors of New York’s Society of Illustrators. Her research focuses on the history of illustration and the influence of published imagery on perceptions of race.

Lead Panelist:

Crystal Lepscier, EdD (Waqsepāēhketukiw)

First Nations Student Success Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Dr. Lepscier is an artist and a healer. In her primary role at UWGB, she strives to serve and support First Nations students on campus. Crystal earned both her Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art (2005) from UW-Madison. She recently completed the UWGB First Nations Education Doctorate program, earning her Education Doctorate in May 2022. Her dissertation title is: Listening for the Canaries: Addressing Racial Battle Fatigue in First Nations Students in Higher Education.


Susanna Calkins, PhD

Director, Nexus for Faculty Success, Rosalind Franklin University