Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Hematologist (and a mom, singer, actress and much more) stands up for diversity

Hematologist (and a mom, singer, actress and much more) stands up for diversity

When you first meet Tamara Dunn, MD, she’ll tell you that she was always going to be a physician. Well, a physician or a singer. Or an actress. Or a financial trader.

She’ll tell you about growing up in Kansas City surrounded by a bevy of black professionals (her dad was a dentist and his best friend was her pediatrician), and how that inspired her commitment to fostering inclusive, diverse communities in medicine. She’ll tell you how her mother’s untimely death (Dunn was only 15), imbued her with a carpe diem attitude and a sense that nothing can be taken for granted.

Then Dunn will regale you with tales from her nonlinear career trajectory, which included a post-college detour to France; a period performing “off-off Broadway;” a stint as the frontwoman of a funk band (called River Bottom Groove, then Fez, and finally Odd Jobs); a year spent on the trading floor for a financial firm; and finally, a return to her alma mater. Here at Stanford, Dunn finished her hematology subspecialty training and assumed her current role of clinical assistant professor.

She will tell you all this while also toggling between the various demands of her day — her children’s after-school commitments, patient visits, even her dog’s veterinary appointment — and that will seem like a given. Dunn is one of those rare individuals whose enthusiasm and drive never wavers.

As our conversation stretched from afternoon into evening, Dunn offered a clear-eyed take on life as a hematologist, the importance of singing happy birthday to patients, and the challenges — and successes — of her diversity work at Stanford and beyond.

As a clinical assistant professor of hematology, what does an average work day look like for you?  

One thing I love about my job is that every day is unique. Some days I’m focused on my clinic patients. Some days I’m performing inpatient consults at the VA or Stanford Hospital. Some days are fellowship heavy.

I also work on research for our Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program. I recently did a study where we gave all the AYA patients receiving therapy Fitbits and an iPad to encourage physical activity, because we believe it can improve cancer-related fatigue and quality of life.

Does your artistic background ever come into play when you’re practicing medicine?

I’m hoping when things calm down, and life is a bit less crazy, I’ll be able to perform more. Music is so powerful, especially for patients. I will tell you this: I always sing to every patient in my clinic when it’s their birthday — they get a big happy birthday song from me, and many have come to expect it. I was also able to sing at the Survivor’s Day celebration at the VA. That was really special. When I was a resident and fellow, I used to sing on the units.

You’ve become a voice for diversity and inclusion — pressing issues in all of higher education — in the Department of Medicine and at the American Society of Hematology. How are you bringing communities together?

I’ve been working alongside Wendy Caceres, MD, clinical assistant professor of primary care and population health, for the past couple of years as a faculty advisor on the diversity council, which is composed mostly of residents and fellows.

We know we should improve our diversity, but I think making the people who are currently here feel comfortable is where the inclusion piece comes in. Once the community is formed and people are feeling acclimated, strong, and important, that’s when you start to attract more underrepresented minorities.

I’ve hosted informal get-togethers at my home where we share dinner and discussion, and that is a valuable space. We have a few initiatives in the pipeline: We’re trying to incorporate diversity into the weekly medicine grand rounds by encouraging a more diverse speaker roster. We also have taken a larger role in the residency and faculty recruitment process.  I am also a member of the Graduate Medical Education’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where we are trying to promote diversity on a broader level.

What do you consider to be some of the biggest challenges and the biggest successes in your diversity work?

It’s often hard to talk about diversity-related issues, because we know we have a lot of work to do. We all have biases, which are a natural thing, but defensiveness does not allow us to make progress. Research shows that we are all better when our environments and communities are more diverse — we’re better doctors, better people, and better researchers.

I’m proud to be an underrepresented minority in a leadership position because I know that impacts people who are applying for residency, fellowship, and faculty positions. This year the hematology division has more female fellows than male fellows, and it’s wonderful to see young women achieving so much. The men are outstanding as well; it’s just that since I can remember the men have outnumbered the women disproportionately.

Photo by Steve Fisch

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles