Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.


Quick Links
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) | South Central MIRECC

A group of diverse people

New Resource! Brief Guide to Presenting From a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Perspective

This guide is intended for use by faculty, staff and training scholars interested in creating presentations that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. It provides three tips for presenters preparing general to research focused or data-driven presentations. Tell us what you think about this product in a 3-minute, anonymous survey.


The SC MIRECC strives to promote and celebrate a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion among our staff, across our sites, and in the work we do to improve mental health care for rural and other underserved Veterans.

DEI in Our Cores

Education Core

The SCMIRECC education core is dedicated to integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our educational portfolio. This dedication to DEI is evident in the following aspects:

Clinical education products.

The educational products reflect the Veteran populations served by featuring images and scenarios of Veterans and clinicians from a variety of sociocultural backgrounds regarding age, race/ethnicity, gender, ability, and sexual orientation. Authors are recommended to use person-first language and to integrate DEI into their content. We have incorporated cross-cultural communication models (e.g., L.E.A.R.N., R.E.S.P.E.C.T) into some of our recently developed, clinician- and Veteran-facing materials. As we update previously developed clinical education products, we are working to ensure revisions include aspects of DEI to make our materials more inclusive.

CBOC Mental Health Grand Rounds.

Our monthly Grand Round series meets the continuing education needs of mental health clinicians in rural areas and CBOCs. Each Grand Rounds highlights how the topic is related to or could be adapted to rural areas. We have several topics, annually, that support enhanced mental health care for everyone. Example topics include:

  • Expanding the Ability to Conceptualize and Converse About Race in Mental Health Settings
  • The Ethics of Responding to Microaggressions and Discriminatory Requests
  • Substance Use in Aging Rural Veterans: An Interdisciplinary Geriatrics Consultation Team Approach
  • Chronic Pain Management: Challenges and Optimization in Under Resourced Settings
  • Ethics of using VA Video Connect (VVC) for Veterans with Mobility and Sensory Impairments
  • Diagnosing and Treating Gender Dysphoria in Rural and Small VHA Facilities
  • Depression Treatment for Pregnant and Nursing Women
  • Introduction to Dementia and Delirium
  • Harassment in the Workplace: How is it defined, how does it present itself, and what are our responsibilities when it arises?
  • VHA Veterans Justice Programs
  • The Challenge of Caring for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Veterans in Rural Settings

Grant funded endeavors.

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Received grant from Baylor College of Medicine to develop a comprehensive training that combines cultural humility and responding to microaggressions.

Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault education and training: The SC MIRECC Education Core received funding from the VA National Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) to develop Veteran facing educational and clinician training on sexual assault and intimate partner violence, Educational material will highlight the unique barriers for people who are African, Hispanic American, and Native American/Alaskan Native, LGBTQ+, and men.

Educational Training.

The SC MIRECC Education Core has developed training for clinicians on responding to microaggressions and discriminatory requests from patients. The training has been provided nationally and locally.


The SC MIRECC Education Core has published a scoping review regarding clinician responses to microaggressions.

Wittkower, L. D., Bryan, J. L., & Asghar-Ali, A. A. (2021). A Scoping Review of Recommendations and Training to Respond to Patient Microaggressions. Academic Psychiatry, 1-13.

Clinical Care Core

DEI within the Clinical Care Core is grounded in the SC MIRECC’s Consumer Advisory Board (CAB). The CAB is a dynamic and diverse group of Veterans, family members of Veterans, and representatives from VA and community organizations that provides consultation and guidance to the SC MIRECC’s research, education and clinical programs. The CAB meets monthly to discuss projects with a focus on rural and underserved Veterans. Within the past year, the CAB has placed a high priority on DEI with focused discussions that encourage and advance DEI efforts across SC MIRECC projects.

Research Core

The SC MIRECC Research Core created a targeted request for pilot study applications to promote research that advances DEI and community engagement. In addition to the standard application for studies that address the needs of rural and underserved Veterans, this expanded opportunity prioritizes studies that:
  • Address inequities in healthcare associated with age, race or ethnicity, birth sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or socioeconomic status;
  • Engage diverse groups of Veterans; and/or
  • Increase engagement with community partners

The pilot study program is now also gathering information on the characteristics of pilot project participants and, very broadly, on pilot principal investigators. The research core team is also working on ways to make DEI subject matter expertise available through the MIRECC Implementation, Design and Analysis Support (MIDAS) program.

Research Training Core

In 2022, the SC MIRECC Research Training Core hired a Virtual DEI Scholar in Residence, Dr. Stephanie Budge. Dr. Budge is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology and the Director of the Advancing Health Equity and Diversity program in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Budge provided a series of seminars and mentorship to help SC MIRECC trainees and faculty better integrate DEI principles and best practices into their research.


A group of diverse people standing in a embrace

Brief Guide to Presenting From a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Perspective

This guide is intended for use by faculty, staff and training scholars interested in creating presentations that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. It provides three tips for presenters preparing general to research focused or data-driven presentations:

  • Tip 1: Structuring Your Narrative - Structure your presentation and its narrative to convey a diverse, equitable and inclusive perspective.
  • Tip 2: Highlighting DEI in Your Work - Show how your scholarly work promotes diverse representation, equitable participation and inclusiveness.
  • Tip 3: Advancing DEI - Conclude with a discussion on how your results can advance equity.
  • Developed by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center; Center of Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety; and the Center for Mental Health Outcomes Research.
  • Published 2023


Tell us what you think about this product in a 3-minute, anonymous survey.


  • The Ethics of Responding to Microaggressions and Discriminatory Requests: Presented by Ali Abbas Asghar-Ali, MD and David Wittkower, MA. The purpose of this webinar is to provide attendees with an overview of the impact of microaggressions on clinical practice and how to respond to various types of microaggressions and discriminatory requests by applying a legal and ethical framework. (Adobe Connect Recording/No CEU)
  • Expanding the Ability to Conceptualize and Converse About Race in Mental Health Settings: Presented by Angelic Chaison, PhD, Bethany Aiena, PhD, and Quang (Charlie) Nguyen, PhD. The purpose of this presentation is to enhance mental health providers’ ability to engage in self-education and meaningful conversations about race in order to address racial disparities and inequities in the context of patient care and team interactions. (VHA TMS/1 CEU)
  • Cultural Competency in Disability: An Ethical Imperative: Presented by Erin E. Andrews, PsyD, ABPP. The purpose of this virtual training is to address the knowledge gap experienced by mental health providers in providing culturally competent and ethical care to Veterans with disabilities. (VHA TMS/1 CEU)
  • Virtual Voice and Communication Training for Veterans in Transition: GAPS: Presented by Kimberly Eichhorn and Nan Musson. VHA is currently providing transition-related care to approximately 10,000 transgender Veterans, and Transgender E-consult data suggest that about 40% are living in rural areas. The LGBTQ+ Program Office and the Audiology and Speech Pathology Program Office partnered with the Rural Health Resource Center to develop a standardized protocol to deliver evidence-based voice and communication services for rural Veterans utilizing virtual technology. This course will provide an overview of the Gender Affirming Program with Speech Pathology (GAPS) for transgender Veterans including a review of the implementation, patient reported outcomes, referral process for the program, and recommendations for providers to support patient’s communication goals. (VHA TMS/1 CEU)

DEI Calendar of Events Backgrounds for Online Meetings

January-December (PDF)

Contact Us

For more information about DEI in SC MIRECC, email


Use of Our Materials and Finding VA Health Care

Please note that the health care information provided in our materials is for educational purposes only. It does not replace the role of a medical practitioner for advice on care and treatment. If you are looking for professional medical care, find your local VA healthcare center by using the VA Facilities Locator & Directory. This page may contain links that will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

Last updated: February 8, 2024