UNR Med names Jacobs associate dean of diversity and inclusion

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Chris Kloth and Nicole Jacobs

Nicole Jacobs, associate dean of diversity and inclusion, discusses the strategic plan for diversity and inclusion with Chris Kloth, a doctorate student working as the administrative assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Photo by James Rutter.

To demonstrate its commitment to promoting diversity and foster an inclusive environment, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine named Nicole Jacobs, Ph.D., to the new position of associate dean of diversity and inclusion.

Jacobs says the creation of the associate dean position demonstrates the importance of diversity as a core mission of UNR Med and gives her opportunities to promote consideration to diversity issues when making decisions affecting faculty, staff, students and residents.

As the behavioral science coordinator in the first-year medical student curriculum for nine years, she was continually enhancing the curriculum offerings in terms of diversity content. She grew the diversity offerings in the curriculum for first-year medical students from one hour of diversity content a decade ago to nearly 20 hours in the first year of medical school today.

Jacobs has a passion for this topic stemming from her background as an immigrant in the mid-1970s.

"My family came from Iran and I was teased in school, so I have a sense for what it is like to be treated differently and with contempt just because I was 'different,'" she explained. "It helped me understand how important it is to fight for equity, acceptance and social justice."

Her own personal experiences as an immigrant are reinforced by her religious faith, which holds as a core tenant that all people are equal regardless of gender or skin color.

As associate dean, Jacobs heads up the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which promotes initiatives, policies and programming to promote a more diverse and inclusive climate at UNR Med.

Working with the Office of Professional Recruitment and the Office for Faculty Development, Jacobs develops training to facilitate the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty in UNR Med's four mission-based diversity groups: African-American, Latino, rural and first generation or educationally underserved.

She is developing a strategic plan to promote diversity across six domains at UNR Med:

  • Building a culture of inclusiveness
  • Faculty recruitment and retention
  • Faculty pipeline to academic medicine and science
  • Professional development and advancement
  • Research and scholarship
  • Expansion of undergraduate and graduate medical education curriculum offerings in diversity

In her new role, Jacobs is also chair of the standing search committee that recruits candidates for leadership positions at UNR Med. As the committee chair, she is positioned to ensure diversity is "front and center" during the search processes.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion initiated Diversity Dialogues, a monthly discussion space in which everyone at UNR Med can communicate, be heard, and engage with the complex problems of diversity and inclusion. Held over the lunch hour, Diversity Dialogues are open to all faculty, staff, residents and students. Meeting in Pennington Health Sciences, room 233 from noon to 1 p.m., the summer dates are June 22, July 20 and August 17. Contact Chris Kloth, in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at ckloth@med.unr.edu for more details.

Jacobs, working alongside Wilfredo Torres, M.D.'10, assistant dean for admissions, diversity and inclusion, promotes student interest groups built around diversity with opportunities for faculty involvement within those groups.

"I want to facilitate the shared value of how our diversity can contribute to our excellence in the classroom, the clinic, the research lab and our community. Increasing our diversity and dialogue will allow us all to learn from each other."


Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision that has served Nevada for nearly 50 years as its first public medical school. UNR Med’s vision is a healthy Nevada, supported by our mission: establishing excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, while committing to a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is a resource for improving healthcare regionally and across the country. For more information, visit: med.unr.edu.