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Diversity at ATSU

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Diversity at ATSU

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is deeply committed to an educational and collaborative environment embracing cultural proficiency. Students striving to become the best healthcare professionals possible must understand and embrace society’s diversity. This is also true for ATSU’s faculty and staff.

Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, founder of osteopathic medicine and ATSU, was a licensed physician and surgeon, healthcare innovator, abolitionist, civil war hospital steward, and suffragist who created opportunities for women in medicine as early as the 1890s.

Today, ATSU supports students who learn and serve in diverse, underserved, urban, and rural communities across America. ATSU’s alumni also practice, work, and volunteer across the world. Many hold leadership positions dedicated to bringing quality healthcare to those in greatest need.

Thank you for taking a few moments to explore ATSU’s commitment to cultural proficiency. We invite you to join us on our journey by exploring our website and following us on social media.






Yours in service,
Craig M. Phelps, DO, ‘84

  • Departmental message +

    • Clinton Normore, director of diversityA.T. Still University has positioned diversity at the forefront of the strategic planning process. This only reinforces the historic value the University has for this aspect of our culture. The standard to be a preeminent university for health profession education isn’t a mere statement. ATSU lives these ideals for the sake of osteopathy and the evolution of the health professions. As the birthplace for osteopathic education, ATSU is fully invested in that legacy.

      The first overarching tenet of osteopathy is the unity of body, mind and spirit. By understanding the precision by which the human body functions, one can appreciate the value of utilizing this amazing instrument to promote healing. Diversity education at ATSU also seeks to embody this tenet to induce inclusion at every level. Our mission is the spirit through which our body operates. Our collective minds deliver on innovation, collaboration and appreciation for differences. By valuing the difference that these differences make, we become increasingly reflective of the communities we serve. Our mission is centered on service. By serving our community partners, students, faculty, staff and external partners, we are moving from cultural competence to a culturally proficient organization.

      The strength of our progression towards cultural proficiency is our ability to be reflective and to always aspire to move beyond where we are. This measure of excellence compels us to be a work in progress at all times - constantly moving forward. ATSU is a beacon for caring people committed to service, committed to the body as an instrument of healing and committed to inclusivity in its most sincere sense.

      Finally, ATSU believes excellence requires understanding, affirming and valuing human difference.

      I look forward to working on creating an all-inclusive and diverse community at A.T. Still University.

      Clinton J. Normore
      Associate Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion

  • Objective +

    • A.T. Still University strives to create a culturally rich community which embraces all forms of differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, origin of birth, age, religious beliefs, political beliefs, socio-economic status, physical characteristics, military service, title, academic background, and professional experiences. Inherent in ATSU’s mission is the belief excellence is inclusive—academic and intellectual, physical and physiological; cultural and social, spiritual and moral.

      We believe these attributes are expressed in our acceptance of difference, and our collective appreciation provided by these differences guides us in the development of a campus community reflective of the global community of which we are all a part.

      An authentic understanding and appreciation of difference are foundational to reaching cultural proficiency, which, at its core, is based upon the value each human being brings to our society and each person’s access and opportunities to contribute to our University’s cultural proficiency. The strength of our campus community as well as the potential of the global community is realized through this same understanding, affirmation, and value of human difference.

      Review and download the Diversity and Inclusion brochure (pdf)

      Review the 2015-20 Diversity Strategic Plan (pdf)

  • Student insights +

    • Kia Moore

      The day I had my braces removed was the day I decided I wanted to pursue a career in dentistry. After having severe crowding for years, I was overjoyed by how beautiful my smile looked and how confident I felt smiling and laughing. I enjoyed my overall orthodontic experience and hoped to one day provide joyous dental experiences for others. The field of dentistry will allow me to help others physically, mentally, and socially by improving aesthetics, removing decay, and easing discomfort. Oral health truly impacts an individual’s life.

      ATSU’s commitment to serving underserved populations is what originally attracted me to the University. The dual DMD and MPH degree, community health clinic external rotations, commitment to the underserved, and my warm and inviting interview experience at ATSU-ASDOH is truly what completed my decision.

      Kia Moore, Dual degree Program - Doctor of Dental Medicine and Masters of Public Health- Dental Emphasis

      Linda Yonan

      As an ethnic minority member, I fled Iraq in 1990 in search of a better life. The present political situation in the Middle East forces me to consider those currently enduring what I was lucky enough to avoid. Consequently, I work tirelessly towards my education and career goals for myself and for those who are forced to pause their progress because of life’s unexpected adversities. I chose to pursue public health education because I look forward to giving back to a society that has accepted, supported, and developed me into the woman I am today.

      My sister was a member of ATSU’s inaugural SOMA class and spoke highly of the university to me throughout her time as a DO student. I was compelled enough to apply to the MPH program, and before I knew it, my sister and I were both graduating with our respective degrees from ATSU in 2011. My experiences with ATSU during my two years as an MPH student were challenging and helped me realize my passion for public health. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and knew that pursuing a doctorate was in my future. I chose ATSU for a second time because I found that the school fulfilled its mission statement and the health education curriculum aligned with my future aspirations.

      Linda Yonan, Doctor of Health Education

      Natalie Loyola

      ATSU’s whole person approach to healthcare and their focus on interprofessional education, diversity and underserved populations attracted me from the beginning. ATSU’s mission and vision is everything I wanted when choosing a graduate school, it was a perfect fit!

      Upon graduation, I hope to work in an underserved Spanish speaking community where I can help bridge the gap in miscommunication and quality hearing care. Also, hopefully continue to be involved in humanitarian audiology work and serve those out of the country. There is no better feeling in the world than to be able to help others.

      Natalie Loyola, Doctor of Audiology

      James Lee I chose ATSU for a whole myriad of reasons but if I had to pinpoint one reason, it would be for it’s unique and innovative “one plus three curriculum” approach to medicine. Words of wisdom have been passed from senior physicians in my community that “you don’t learn medicine from a textbook” and that experience, seeing first hand, being proactive, and learning from your mistakes are the best skill sets to acquire to becoming a great physician for your patients. Also, did I mention, the faculty and staff at ATSU make you feel at home, away from home? Medical school is a long and difficult journey, but it’s definitely reassuring and gives you a sense of confidence knowing that you have a handful of talented colleagues and extremely supportive, loving faculty by your side, who all believe in and have the same vision.

      James Lee, osteopathic medical student

      Alexandra Wolf, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine student

      A.T. Still was a pioneer of his time: an allopath converted to osteopathy, abolitionist, and feminist. Given this rich history, innovative curriculum, and reputable success, it was a dream to be accepted to ATSU!

      I had always been interested in a career in medicine, but when my cousin passed of complications from lupus in 2001 I was invigorated to help others and make a difference in cases like hers. Later, I became a medical scribe and worked for osteopaths who showed that lifestyle changes are an integral part of medical treatment, which confirmed my vocation to pursue osteopathic medicine. Each and every patient comes from a unique background and is in their most vulnerable state. I hope to be a trustworthy doctor who can positively influence each person’s well-being.

      Alexandra Wolf, osteopathic medical student

      Nadia Syed, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine student

      There is this concept of osteopathic medicine where you look at your patient as a whole person, and not just a symptom. This core principle is something that I truly believe is good for the physician’s soul. The fact that ATSU started an entire branch of medicine based on this philosophy made me realize that I couldn’t make a better choice than KCOM.

      I’ve always believed that a life of purpose entails a responsibility to help others who are in need. My goal has always been to make a positive impact on as many people as I can, and going into the medical field was my way to achieve that. I know I wont always have the right answer, and I wont always have good news, but I will bring compassion to every patient I meet, and that’s something that I believe can make a difference.

      Nadia Syed, osteopathic medical student

      Joe Shortall, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine student

      I was attracted to ATSU by their dedication to a healthcare approach that integrates body, mind and spirit, community health and an orientation towards underserved populations. The D.O. legacy of expertise in Family Medicine and the use of one’s hands as a tool for both diagnosis and treatment was also important to me. I was excited to return to Tucson where, through SOMA’s partnership with Community Health Centers allows students to spend three years living and seeing patients within the context of an underserved community, I could continue my volunteer work and maintain my focus on Latino health. SOMA did not become my top choice, however, until I spoke with the Admissions Office over the phone and experienced how kind, welcoming and encouraging the staff was.

      I aspire to become an excellent Family Physician and Public Health professional who—through innovative approaches to addressing the Social Determinants of Health—helps eliminate disparities in healthcare affecting the most vulnerable populations locally and globally.

      Joe Shortall, osteopathic medical student

      During high school I had dreams of becoming a physician, however, I did not know what that looked like in reality. It was not until I was deployed to combat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom that I revisited my earlier feelings of becoming a physician. I had a powerful experience with a little girl and her family at a hospital in Baghdad, which motivated me to pursue medicine again. I knew that I wanted to be in a position to be able to help others from a medical perspective.

      There is a sense of community at ATSU that instantly drew me in and continues to draw me. ATSU reached out to me with an opportunity to join them and I’ve always believed in a reciprocal relationship. I plan to practice medicine as long as I can and to hopefully one day return to ATSU-KCOM in some capacity to further the mission of the university.

      John R. Thurman, Jr., DO, ‘12

      Jessica Markbreiter, ATSU athletic training student

      After learning more about ATSU’s post-professional Athletic Training program and patient-centered approach to healthcare, I knew ATSU would be the right fit for me. One thing I knew that would set me apart from other students who were entering the program was my physical stature. I have Achondroplasia Dwarfism, which is a genetic mutation that results in shorter limbs and standing height at four feet tall.

      Instead of identifying my difference as a crutch in my life, I use it to set myself apart and make it a unique characteristic about myself. I am always eager to educate others about dwarfism and to answer questions they may have.

      I am so grateful that my difference has been embraced at ATSU. The support I have received from everyone at ATSU is something I would have never imagined. ATSU isn’t just my school; it has now become my home away from home.

      Jessica Markbreiter, athletic training student

      Alexa Arastoo, osteopathic medicine studentt During my time in college, I became passionate about social and economic disparities. I believe good health is the biggest factors affecting quality of life, and I was inspired to pursue a career in medicine to do my part in alleviating inequities. When I first applied to schools, KCOM jumped out at me as an option that would coalesce with my goals.

      During my interview, I immediately felt validated and welcomed. Learning about how the school could be academically rigorous, innovative and also focused on community and “whole person” healthcare solidified my decision. I plan on becoming a primary care physician with a goal of working in areas that are currently under served.

      Alexa Arastoo, osteopathic medicial student

      Bruce Wallace, osteopathic medicine student
      I grew up in a neighborhood where access to quality healthcare was a major issue. I soon realized the impact that this had not only on the physical, but the mental and emotional well-being of people as well. I decided to pursue a career in medicine because I wanted to have the tools to help people achieve a better life.

      I chose to attend ATSU, because of the welcoming and supportive environment. From the first day of classes, I felt my classmates have gone above and beyond to help me achieve my goals.

      Bruce Wallace, osteopathic medical student

  • Calendar +

  • Programs +

    • Cultural Proficiency in Healthcare

      Cultural proficiency in healthcare is a way of being and serving that enables one to effectively respond in a variety of cultural settings to the issues caused by diversity. In a word, diversity means “differences” and one cannot truly value differences if one is unwilling to appreciate the myriad of difference in our society and also work to be inclusive at every opportunity. A culturally proficient organization interacts effectively with its employees, its clients, and its community. Culturally proficient people may not know all there is to know about others who are different from them, but they know how to take advantage of teachable moments, how to ask questions without offending, and how to create an environment that is welcoming to diversity and to changes.

      Dreamline Programs

      The Dreamline Programs are comprehensive community-based collaborations that introduce K-12 students to graduate health professions programs offered by ATSU. ATSU and its partners fully understand the need for health professions to reflect the populations being served. Email

      Health Professions Explorers Program

      ATSU has unique relationships with school districts and community based organizations, offering the Health Professions Explorers Program to students in this partnership. This preeminent collaboration exposes young minds to wonderful career opportunities in healthcare. Students are nurtured with campus and graduate student engagement opportunities.

      Prep for Success Intensive

      Prep for Success Intensive (PSI) is an intensive week-long colloquium where six pre-medical and six pre-dental students will collaborate under expert facilitation with the primary goal of MCAT and DAT success. This is where you learn how to test smarter and problem solve faster.

      The PSI camp will be held in Kirksville, Missouri on the Truman State University, and A.T. Still University campuses. Learning will be facilitated by university science faculty, and students will be mentored by medical and dental student from A.T. Still University, who underwent the same pressure and succeeded. Learn more about the PSI program

      SafeZone for All

      SafeZone for All program is to create beacons, SafeZone for All allies, whose roles are to be visible ambassadors, so that we ensure the campus climate feels safe, receptive, and accepting to community members regardless of any human condition, characteristic, or circumstance that they may have. Read more about SafeZone for All

      Summer Healthcare Career Experience

      Summer Healthcare Career Experience (SHCE) is a unique partnership between ATSU, Truman State University, and East Central Missouri Area Health Education Center. SHCE is a three-day, two-night program that includes hands-on activities at both ATSU and Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri for students interested in healthcare as a future profession.

  • Committees +

    • Advisory Council On Diversity

      The mission of the Advisory Council On Diversity (ACOD) is to work to cultivate a culturally proficient community, which embraces all forms of difference and perpetuates the University’s mission to enrich learning experiences of students, faculty, and staff in support of serving the underserved.

      ATSU Diversity Enrichment Committee (Missouri campus)

      The ATSU Diversity Enrichment Committee (Missouri campus) mission is to enrich the culture of acceptance and respect of diversity in all its forms. The committee, created of students, faculty and staff, will work together to promote policies and programs that recognize and celebrate diversity across the community.

      Diversity Enrichment in Education Committee

      ATSU’s Diversity Enrichment in Education Committee (DEEC) is dedicated to creating a more inclusive academic community by encouraging opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to embrace and celebrate diversity and all of its dimensions. The DEEC will enhance the mission of both the A.T. Still University and the Advisory Council on Diversity by promoting campus-wide initiatives that allow individuals to gain a positive understanding of cultural proficiency and the way it impacts holistic wellness.

      School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona Diversity Committee

  • Scholarships +

    • A.T. Still University is developing a list of scholarships designed to afford you the opportunity to capitalize on the University’s unique mission of service and leadership in whole person healthcare. These scholarships vary in design but have a common purpose: to reduce the most significant barrier to healthcare education – cost.

      By creating financial access through a myriad of new scholarship programs, ATSU will continue to lead the way in educating qualified students who are committed to the ATSU mission of providing healthcare to underserved areas.

      Internal Scholarships

      Graduate Health Professions Scholarship - is designed to accentuate the university’s unique mission of service and leadership in whole person healthcare. This scholarship is a targeted approach to attract and educate students whose life contributions and experiences are consistent with ATSU’s mission to serve in underserved areas. Read more about the Graduate Health Professions Scholarship requirements (pdf). Please note: All awards have been made for 2016-2017.

      External Scholarships

      We encourage all students to seek scholarships offered through various agencies and organizations to fund your educations. Our office will post external scholarships as they become available. Eligibility requirements and application deadlines may change without our knowledge.

  • Employment +

    • ATSU is a culturally rich community that prepares innovative and compassionate healthcare professionals for service in underserved areas. As an expanding university, we offer a wide range of rewarding and challenging job opportunities that support our prestigious academic environment.

      If you want to be part of our dynamic, diverse and collaborative environment, we encourage you to apply for one of our open positions.

  • Student organizations +

    • A.T. Still University offers a variety of involvement opportunities for our students to connect with smaller social groups. A list of diverse, student groups are provided below. Students may also develop new student groups as the need arises for campus diversity and inclusivity. Questions about existing groups or how to start a new group can email Student Life at

      Cultural organizations Campus location
      Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association Arizona
      Hispanic Medical Association Arizona
      Medical Spanish Club Missouri
      Project:Pueblo Arizona
      Society of American Indian Dentist Arizona
      Religious/Spiritual organizations Campus location
      Alpha Omega Arizona
      Christian Healthcare Fellowship Arizona
      Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) Missouri
      Latter-Day Saints Student Association (LDSSA) Missouri
      Secular Student Interest Group Missouri
      Sexuality/Gender organizations Campus location
      American Association of Women Dentists Arizona
      Association of Women’s Surgeons Arizona
      Gay-Straight Alliance Missouri
      Medical Students For Choice Arizona
      National Osteopathic Women Physicians’ Association (NOWPA) Missouri

  • Diversity education +

    • Educating culturally competent students and building a community of culturally proficient employees is within ATSU’s mission. The following valuable online tools and resources are available to enhance the value of an ATSU educational experience.

      • Building Awareness of Gender Differences that are Important to Healthcare and Research Studies is a free video series available to students and faculty to better understand the African-American, Pacific Islander, American Indian, African, and Latino communities.
      • Diversity 3.0 Learning Series is offered through the Association of American Medical Colleges.
      • Microagression in Everyday Life is a video defining, understanding and what can be done to address microagression.
      • Project Implicit offers online tests that help individuals gain a greater awareness of their own unconscious biases and beliefs.
      • Understanding Prejudice is a resource website exploring the causes and consequences of prejudice.
      • DiversityEdu is a comprehensive web-based diversity training tool. The goal of the program is to develop day-to-day skills which broaden employee and student skills to be more inclusive.
      • Think Cultural Health National CLAS Standards – The National CLAS Standards are a set of 15 action steps intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
      • Think Cultural Health Resources – Find articles, presentations, newsletters, and more about culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) and the National CLAS Standards.

  • Research +

    • Research is the backbone of the academic process. Diversity has a widely recognized relationship to the vestiges of the healing process. Therefore research on healthcare disparities related to diversity is necessary in a health professions education environment. This section is devoted to internal research by our students, faculty and staff on diversity related topics pertaining to healthcare disparities.

      Lapinski, J., & P. Sexton. Still in the closet: the invisible minority in medical education. BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:171
      Summary: To investigate the relationship between sexual orientation and gender identity in regard to levels of depression; levels of perceived social support; comfort with disclosure of orientation; and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) campus climate.

  • Academic programs +

    • The mission that drives ATSU includes a specific focus on diversity and underserved populations. The University is mindful of these focus areas, from the student recruitment process through students’ clinical training locations and the populations they serve. With more than 25 programs and growing, ATSU is dedicated to preparing students to become leaders in the healthcare industry. Students can choose from master’s degrees across allied health disciplines; doctorates in athletic training, audiology, health administration, health education, health sciences, occupational therapy, and physical therapy; the doctor of dental medicine; and the doctor of osteopathic medicine.

      Learn more about our academic programs.


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Community Health Center

Waianae, Hawaii

As a leading provider of quality healthcare for area residents, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center also provides community employment and health education. More than 80% of the staff are local residents, and many were trained at the affiliated Waianae Health Academy. Find out more.


support atsu

From public health centers located in communities where services are needed most, to research and other leading edge whole person healthcare initiatives, you can create your own legacy by contributing to the specific cause that moves you most. Find out more.



When you give to A.T. Still University, you're not only supporting whole person healthcare education, you're also helping deliver it to where the care is needed most. Through our legacy program, we send students to underserved communities nationwide and conduct healthcare clinics at the university on occasion. Find out more.


about atsu

Whole person healthcare takes an integrated approach that addresses body, mind and spirit as one. Students are encouraged to participate in wellness programs and study areas including nutrition and psychology to gain a more comprehensive understanding. Find out more.


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Keep up with the latest developments in whole person healthcare at A.T. Still University with our complimentary newsletter and other publications. From scholarly inquiry and research to alumni activities and more. Sign up today.


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Let your light shine at A.T. Still University. Combining leading-edge whole person healthcare with a commitment to serving those communities where needs are greatest, we provide students the opportunity to truly excel as doctors, dentists, healthcare providers and healthcare leaders. Apply now; click here.