The Office of the Learning Environment occasionally sponsors events to support positive learning environment efforts.

Pitt Med Culture Fest

The OLE and the medical student ELEAP committee collaborated with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on Pitt Med's first Culture Fest on August 19, 2022.  The successful event celebrated the diverse cultures of UPSOM with food, music, artists, and games. The event, organized by Pitt Med students and open to all, also allowed everyone learn about the various student groups at the school. 

Participating student groups:

  • Biomedical Graduate Student Association (BGSA)
  • Disability Advocacy
  • Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
  • Jewish Medical Student Association (JMed)
  • Refugee Health Advocacy Project (RHAP)
  • South Asian Medical Student Association (SAMSA)
  • Student National Medical Association (SNMA)

Much appreciation for this wonderful event goes to the student leaders pictured below. 
Jonathan "JJ" Joseph (SEC VP of Activities), Culture Fest Student Coordinator (left)
Nia Buckner (ELEAP Student Committee member), Culture Fest visionary (right)

Smiling male and female medical students
Check out more photos from the event. 

We look forward to the possibility of making this an annual UPSOM tradition. 

Thank you to everyone who attended this well-received session with Dr. Kerzin. We were honored to host Dr. Kerzin and we thank him for sharing his wisdom with us. We have made a recording of the event available to everyone. We hope to see you at future events with Dr. Kerzin and the OLE. 

Please join us for a training on compassion, resilience, and mindfulness with Dr. Barry Kerzin

Dr. Barry Kerzin, personal physician of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist monk, and Founder and President of the Altruism in Medicine Institute (AIMI), will be visiting the UPSOM next week.

Dr. Kerzin has generously offer to lead a student training on compassion, resilience, and mindfulness. He will concentrate on emotional hygiene, which is recognizing our harmful emotions and working to transform them, without suppressing them. These emotions, such as anger, jealousy, arrogance, and self-doubt, are typical blocks to compassion. Relieving them enhances compassion for ourselves and for others. He will also discuss cultivating healthy self-confidence and moving beyond empathy to compassion in order to both prevent and reduce burnout. He will also teach a short meditation.

When:                                  Thursday, November 18, 2021, 6-7 pm

Where:                                Alan Magee Scaife Hall – LR2 - Space is limited   

Event Recording:          

To learn more about Dr. Kerzin and AIMI:


Thank you to everyone who joined us for this informative event. A special thanks to our panelists for sharing their time and experience with us. A recording of the event is available to everyone. A document answering questions we were unable to have panelists respond to  during the event is also available.

Artist drawing of 3 women scientists.

Picture a Scientist Panel Discussion

Join Dean Shekhar and the Office of the Learning Environment for an open discussion of Pitt’s active approach to understanding and addressing gender and racial disparities in science, as highlighted in the compelling documentary Picture a Scientist*.

Thursday, November 11, 2021
5:00 - 6:30pm EST
University Club Ballroom B and on Zoom

Event Recording  

We encourage you to watch the film before the panel discussion.  Members of the Pitt community can view the film online without fee. You must log in with your Pitt credentials to access the film. 

We are thrilled to host the following panelists who will provide their insights on the issues raised in the documentary in response to your questions:

  • Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences; John and Gertrude Petersen Dean, School of Medicine; Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh.
    Dr. Shekhar is a nationally recognized educator, researcher, and entrepreneur with major contributions in medicine and life sciences.  At Pitt, Dr. Shekhar leads all six health sciences schools that, for more than a century, have been educational and research leaders in their respective fields, propelling scientific discovery and clinical innovation that advance human health.  Education at the Schools of the Health Sciences—Dental Medicine, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health—emphasizes interdisciplinary instruction and leadership that incorporates the most advanced techniques and technologies to prepare future researchers, physicians, and health care providers and administrators for careers of leadership and service. 

  • Cecelia C. Yates, PhD, Associate Professor of Nursing, Bioengineering, Pathology, Clinical and Translational Science, and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
    Dr. Yates is the co-director of the University of Pittsburgh's Clinical and Translational Science Institute's TL1 Predoctoral Fellowship, which equips researchers with the skills to advance the translation of discoveries into improved patient outcomes.  She is connected across the University in academic translational development for students and faculty.  She is committed to multidisciplinary mentoring and training the next generation innovators to achieve impact for their research through commercialization. Dr. Yates leads a research program that spans translational scientific investigations into chronic and fibrotic responses to injury and directs the Tissue Repair and Regeneration Research Project  (TR3).

  • Charleen Chu, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology; A. Julio Martinez Chair in Neuropathology, University of Pittsburgh.
    Dr. Chu is Director of the Ophthalmic Pathology Service in the Division of Neuropathology and in 2005, co-founded the Pathologist Investigator Residency/Research Training Program (PIRRT) at UPSOM.  PIRRT trains academic pathologists to become independently funded principal investigators and is an invaluable resource for future leaders in Medicine with careers encompassing both research and clinical diagnostics.  As a principal investigator, Dr. Chu directs a basic research program focused on mitochondrial pathobiology and Parkinson's disease.
  • Jennifer Seng, JD, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Deputy Chief Legal Officer, University of Pittsburgh. 
    Jennifer has been a lawyer for the University of Pittsburgh since March of 2015.  Prior to coming to the University, Jennifer has worked as Senior Counsel for LANXESS Corporation, as an Intellectual Property Attorney for Bayer Corporation, and as a Patent Attorney for Kilpatrick Stockton.

  • Doris Rubio, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Education and Training, Health Sciences; Director, Institute for Clinical Research Education; Professor of Medicine, Biostatistics, Biomedical Informatics, Nursing, and Clinical Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh.
    Dr. Rubio is the Director of the Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) and is a leader in developing programs to promote diversity in the Health Sciences at Pitt.  She currently directs the Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success (LEADS) and Building Up a Diverse Pipeline for the Biomedical Research Workforce (Building Up) programs in the ICRE and has led grants aimed at assisting trainees from diverse backgrounds to launch and sustain their careers.  Additionally, Dr. Rubio has expertise in the topic of bystander training. 

  • Wendy M. Mars, PhD, Assistant Dean of the Learning Environment and Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, will lead the discussion. 
    Dr. Mars is the Assistant Dean of the Learning Environment and has served as the Director of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology graduate program since 2006. In addition to her work with students and faculty at Pitt, since 2001 she has been actively engaged with both educational and social service organizations in the greater Pittsburgh area.

*Synopsis: "PICTURE A SCIENTIST chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries - including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists - who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all."