The Department of Psychiatry’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee is a dynamic group that is dedicated to support the needs of faculty, staff, and students in order to achieve academic, professional, and personal success while strengthening the overall environment to value and foster diversity and inclusion.

We are committed to fostering and supporting a climate of inclusion and diversity and look forward to being a diverse department where faculty, residents, fellows, staff, and students represent differing cultural, ethnic, gender, gender identity, political, socio-economic, and sexual orientation backgrounds.

Our work is geared toward building a diverse department that offers a rich environment that leads to greater knowledge, understanding, acceptance, and mutual respect. We celebrate diversity and value everyone’s contribution.

Through our efforts of inclusion, we hope to ensure that everyone at the department understands that intolerance is unacceptable, and that all members of the community should be openly included in conversations, programs, and initiatives. We look forward to developing initiatives that foster a diverse and inclusive campus environment, and to assist in developing productive solutions for obstacles faced by faculty, staff, and students in our department.

We hope to continue promoting awareness of the diverse cultures within the department by fostering activities that highlight individuals cultural, ethnic, and affinity backgrounds while acting as an advocate for interests and concerns of members within the department.

Cultural Highlight of the Month

The Diversity and Inclusion committee hosts a monthly Cultural Highlight Event, in which anyone in the Department of Psychiatry can volunteer to share their own life experiences and cultural backgrounds with other Department members. These presentations have allowed all members to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive work environment. Some cultural backgrounds covered thus far include Yoruba, Costa Rican, Chinese/Taiwanese, and rural American!

Complete calendar of activities and events

History

The department’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established in 2019, shortly after Laine Young-Walker, MD, became chair of the department. In her first faculty meeting as chair, she expressed a goal of creating a group to champion diversity and inclusion, which she saw as her No. 1 priority. Rasha ElKady, MD, is the committee’s first chair. The first committee meeting was in December 2019, and the committee has been working on fulfilling its goals and objectives ever since.

Committee Board Officers

See our list of board officers below, and click the bio button on each profile to learn more about each person and to learn why he or she joined the committee.

Rasha ElKady, MD

Rasha ElKady, MD

Committee chair

Bio

Bio: I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist and an assistant professor in the department. I am the first chair of the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. I completed my psychiatry training from the residency and fellowship programs of the same department. I am originally from Egypt.

Why did I join the committee? Throughout my career and personal life, I have always admired the beauty and strength of diversity in the medical and academic fields. Having diverse providers, staff and trainees adds different perspectives from different cultures and experiences. My goal in leading this committee is to ensure that every person in the department understands and appreciates the importance of diversity and for everyone to feel understood, welcomed and included.

Sultana Jahan, MD

Sultana Jahan, MD

Vice-Chair

Bio

Bio: I completed my residency training in general psychiatry and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Missouri in 2006. Right after my training, I was offered a position in the department as an assistant professor. In 2014, I was promoted to associate professor. I am involved in patient care as well as teaching medical students, residents and fellows. I am also involved in different research projects. I am a diplomat of American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) and an active member of American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Missouri Chapter, American Association of Pediatrics (MOAAP), World Federation of ADHD, Neuroscience Education Institute. 

Why did I join the committee? I joined the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to help make and be a part of an environment where everyone feels included and respected regardless of their differences.

Catherine Miller, MEd, LPC

Catherine Miller, MEd, LPC

Secretary

Bio

Bio: I am part of the grants team, and I coordinate the Positive Parenting program. I am a licensed practicing counselor (LPC) from Columbia. You can catch me supporting my children in their sports and looking forward to cheering courtside or sitting under the Friday night lights. In my spare time, (wait, people with children have that?) I enjoy playing in my flower garden, fishing and being a part of our family farm.

Why did I join the committee? I joined the Diversity and Inclusion Committee as I feel it is important to make sure all people have a seat at the table. I hope to positively impact those I work with and continue to help make safe spaces for everyone. I want to help guide and implement change that brings about inclusiveness for all.

Irina Rodriguez Arango

Irina Rodriguez Arango

Treasurer

Bio

Bio: Hola! I am originally from Bogota, Colombia, and have lived in the United States for 12 years. I work as a medical education coordinator for the department. My educational background is in the field of physical culture, sports, and recreation. I was a camp director for several years before joining the department. I also worked in the field of migrant education when I lived in Kansas, which has a large migrant community. In my free time, I enjoy running races with my husband, Bob, riding bikes, reading, watching anime and putting together art-themed jigsaw puzzles. I have two beautiful dogs, Max and Jaadoo, that are my co-workers and best pals.

Why did I join the committee? I joined the committee because it is a space where one can spread positivism and cultural awareness. I felt I would have the opportunity to make a difference while creating a more inclusive, just and welcoming workplace. Being a part of this committee has provided me with chances to spark my creativity and practice a deeper level of empathy toward my co-workers.

Dr. Bruce Horwitz, PhD

Dr. Bruce Horwitz, PhD

Faculty Representative

Bio

Bio: I am a psychologist with broad experience in community mental health, administration, research, and teaching. I am a child of the 1960s with a strong social conscience and sense of personal responsibility to make the world a better place for all of us.

Why did I join the committee? My personal and professional choices have been guided by that principle and so the opportunity to work on the diversity and inclusion committee — which is dedicated to that same purpose — is a great fit for me.

Derek Su, MD

Derek Su, MD

Fellow Representative

Bio

Bio: I am a first-year child and adolescent psychiatry fellow. I am from the San Francisco Bay Area and majored in biomedical engineering at Dartmouth College before attending University of Missouri School of Medicine for both my MD and psychiatry residency, serving as co-chief resident from 2020-21. I am interested in all kinds of diversity and actively seek new opportunities to learn about cultures and geographies. I am a proud husband since 2018 and father since 2020, and in my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, skateboarding, martial arts, and learning to play guitar.

Why did I join the committee? I joined the Diversity and Inclusion Committee because I believe that understanding the backgrounds of our peers and our patients is key to not only being of service as a colleague and physician, but also to advocating for systemic changes that can benefit our community as a whole.

Priyanka Prabhu, MD

Priyanka Prabhu, MD

Resident Representative

Bio

Bio: I am a first-year psychiatry resident from St. Louis, Missouri. Columbia has been my home for the past several years. As a woman of Indian-American heritage, I am often in settings where very few people, if any, look like me. This has contributed to my interest in educating myself about differences in peoples’ lived experiences and how they affect their personal and work lives.

Why did I join the committee? I joined the Diversity and Inclusion Committee because I want to be a part of creating safe spaces for people of all backgrounds and walks of life to collaborate and learn.

Beth Ehrhardt

Beth Ehrhardt

Medical Student Representative

Bio

Bio: I am a fourth-year medical student. I am integrating into the psychiatry residency program and am thrilled to stay at Mizzou for my training! I am born and raised in Columbia. I graduated from Westminster College and then went to Saint Louis University where I received my master’s degree in public health. I enjoy listening to podcasts, reading historical fiction, and spending way too much time petting my cats and dogs.

Why did I join the committee? I was approached by a faculty member about joining the committee as a medical student representative, and it was an easy “yes”! I am hopeful to contribute to a welcoming, inclusive environment within the department. Advocating for diversity and inclusion within the department will help strengthen the program’s foundation. I believe having the opportunity to serve on the committee in a longitudinal capacity as a medical student and future resident will allow me to help introduce initiatives and see their results. I am honored and excited to serve on this committee.

Hannia L. Burke-Agüero, LPC, RDT

Hannia L. Burke-Agüero, LPC, RDT

Therapists Representative

Bio

Bio: I was born in San José, Costa Rica, to a family with a long tradition of coffee farming. I earned a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Costa Rica, then earned a master’s in counseling psychology with a specialization in drama therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. My 20-plus-year career in mental health has always focused on advocating for those in need. In Bloomington, Indiana, I founded Mujeres en Conexión, an organization focused on helping local Hispanic/Latino families meet their basic and emotional needs. I have served on several mayor-appointed committees on multicultural issues and have been the recipient of numerous city and statewide awards, including Citizen of the Year for the State of Indiana. I joined the Adult Psychiatry Clinic in 2015, and I’m currently the clinic’s only bilingual/bicultural Spanish-speaking mental health provider. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family (especially my 2-year-old grandson), gardening, cooking, and practicing photography.

Why did I join the committee? I co-founded the Diversity and Inclusion Committee because I believe that the department can be a welcoming place where professionals from all walks of life can thrive under equal access to opportunities.

Donna Brockmiller, MA

Donna Brockmiller, MA

Support Staff Representative

Bio

Bio: I have been the department’s grants administrator for four years, most currently on the post-award side.  Prior to coming to the University of Missouri, I was a public high school teacher, travel agent, clerical worker in an insurance agency, worked for the Affordable Care Act, and was an office manager for an eating disorder clinic. My spouse and I have lived in Columbia for six years and enjoy many Mizzou sports, most notably women’s basketball, softball, and football.  In our spare time we enjoy playing golf, tending to our gardens, playing with our dogs, and camping in our recently purchased camper trailer.

Why did I join the committee? The department is an ethnically diverse group of individuals. As a woman of white privilege, I have faced misogyny and inequity on a limited basis but was oblivious to the extent of the discrimination and prejudice that my co-workers face daily. Joining this committee has opened the dialogue among the members who have shared their stories and described their experiences, giving us all a greater empathy and understanding toward one another. This awareness informs everyday life, hopefully encouraging a more positive and caring experience for all.