Our Welcome!


A fundamental component of the UCSF Graduate Division's mission is to foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment.  Dr. D’Anne Duncan, assistant dean for diversity and learner success, and Zachary Smith, diversity and outreach program manager, help to fulfill that mission by leading and implementing efforts to ensure that all summer undergraduates, and graduate and postdoctoral learners feel welcomed and supported; to encourage the success of their research, training, and education; and to understand their integral role in advancing UCSF’s mission of biomedical education, research, and health care.  In advancing that mission, we acknowledge the longstanding societal practices of structural oppression and their pervasiveness in biomedical education and the scientific research community. These practices of oppression have included: settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, gender oppression, cisheteropatriarchy, xenophobia, white supremacy, racism, ableism, citizenship status, anti-trans, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, labor exploitation, and other forms of injustice. 

Dr. D’Anne Duncan joined UCSF in 2017, and one of the most important philosophies that we want to continue to reinforce is the respect and value of the whole individual — that means recognizing the unique potential of every student and postdoc at UCSF.  Dr. D’Anne Duncan and Zachary Smith, who joined the Graduate Division in 2021, aspire to foster a community where diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the learning and training environment. 

As learners embark on their scientific and scholarly journeys at UCSF, with complex identities, perspectives, and lived experiences, we are personally committed to providing mentorship, designing curriculum and professional development programming, and hosting community building events that promote the true alignment of our learner’s personal and professional identities, and celebrating all career outcomes — all of which, ultimately, value our learners as whole individuals. 

In addition to supporting the holistic development of diverse scientists, Dr. D’Anne Duncan and Zachary Smith are committed to working towards educational justice. The elements of educational justice incorporate educational access, cultivation of an environment for opportunity and critical thinkingrecognition of structural harms, and community engagement.  As UCSF continues to develop the framework for being an anchor institution, our office will seek to develop sustaining, respectful, and reciprocal relationships with the local surrounding community.  

If you want to discuss your experiences related to diverse identities, exchange ideas to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion, and learn more about other campus resources, feel free to stop by the Mission Bay office, when UCSF permits on campus activities, or make a virtual appointment to check in with us. We look forward to meeting you! 

D'Anne Duncan, PhD, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Learner Success

Zachary Smith, Diversity and Outreach Program Manager


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Listen to Dr. Duncan talk about her career path in a February 2021 podcast from Vanderbilt U.