New director to advance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives for WVU Health Sciences

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Dedicated to fostering a more inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff that extends across West Virginia University and beyond, Courtney Lanham has been named director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Health Sciences.

In this newly-created position, Lanham will serve as the primary point of contact for Health Sciences diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and will play a critical role in communicating and collaborating with the WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the six Health Sciences DEI committees, the WVU Medicine director of diversity, equity and inclusion and other DEI mission-focused groups.

“We are very pleased to welcome Courtney into this important role at WVU Health Sciences,” Louise Veselicky, associate vice president for academic affairs at Health Sciences, said. “They have demonstrated leadership in creating a safe, diverse and welcoming community at WVU, and I am confident that Courtney’s compassion, enthusiasm and visionary outlook will further advance an environment that embodies our Mountaineer values.”

Committed to ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across campus, Lanham has served as a member of the Center for Excellence in Disabilities Diversity Committee and the Health Sciences DEI Cross-Cutting Committee since 2016 and 2018, respectively, and currently leads the committees as chair.

They plan to continue developing a culture of inclusive excellence by engaging members of the WVU community from all backgrounds and levels of the institution to ensure future impact is intentional and representative.

“I am beyond excited and thankful to be stepping into the director of diversity role,” Lanham said. “Getting to know individuals across campus by making personal connections and hearing their experiences is important for me as we work together to build a more inclusive future that will benefit Health Sciences, the University and all West Virginians.

“My vision is to create spaces where we can purposefully learn and grow from those who are different than ourselves, because diversity can be our biggest strength,” they said. “Each of us think, communicate, love, believe and move differently through the world. These differences impact the way that we make decisions, perceive interactions and desire health care services. Students and educators alike should account for these differences and provide a space where everyone feels they can not only care for others but provide culturally competent health care.”

Working closely with administration and diversity, equity and inclusion committees across the Health Sciences Campus, which include students, faculty and staff, Lanham will develop and implement strategic goals and priorities. Their focus will include, but is not limited to, health equity and cultural awareness education and training, programming and its impact on culture, attitudes and beliefs, and recruitment and admissions to increase diversity among faculty, staff and the student body.

They will also maintain a collaborative relationship with leadership across campus, serving as the liaison for implementation of university-wide DEI efforts on the Health Sciences Campus.

“Courtney is already an outstanding and effective advocate and a strong partner with the division, including as a member of the WVU DEI Council,” Meshea L. Poore, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, said. “They have shown leadership and initiative. Courtney is unafraid of having the tough conversations that need to take place. This new role will give them even more opportunities to shine and make a positive impact at the Health Sciences Campus and beyond, and we look forward to continuing to work closely together.”

Lanham is recognized across the region for their training on topics including inclusive language, accessibility, intellectual and developmental disabilities and trauma-informed care. They also have been an invited speaker and presenter for numerous conferences, panels, workshops and courses.

A two-time WVU graduate, Lanham has spent nearly a decade serving the University’s Center for Excellence in Disabilities, most recently as a training specialist.

They also serve as an instructor for the Center’s Country Roads Program and an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work.

Lanham’s experience includes coordinating and providing support for the expansion, implementation and participation in training efforts, developing courses and evaluation processes, and expanding training, continuing education and professional development opportunities for students, professionals and community members.

They earned a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Lanham’s appointment is effective July 17.



CONTACT: Jessica Wilmoth
Senior Communications Specialist
WVU Health Sciences