Who we are

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) oversees the diversity of students, faculty, and staff at Wayne State University School of Medicine. The ODI staff innovatively promotes the recruitment and retention of those who exemplify the diversity of our global community, with a particular interest on those who are underrepresented in medicine. The goal is to create a rich and diverse medical school environment, which is a critical component of urban clinical excellence.

Our pipeline programs include events and activities that promote outreach at the K-12 school level, facilitate pre-medical advising at the undergraduate level, provide local, regional, and national recruitment to support medical school admissions.


Dr. Smitherman

Dr. Herbert C. Smitherman Jr., M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.
Vice Dean of Diversity and Community Affairs

Dr. Smitherman has devoted himself to working with diverse communities to develop urban-based, primary-care delivery systems that integrate the health and social goals and broader concerns of the community. For more than two decades, he's provided quality medical care to underserved populations.

In 2007, Dr. Smitherman co-wrote "Taking Care of the Uninsured: A Path to Reform," which detailed the 10-year path of the Voices of Detroit Initiative. He also served as co-chair of the $16.2 million U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Southeast Michigan Beacon initiative, launched in 2012. Dr. Smitherman has spoken nationally on health care disparities and has been invited to the White House to share his expertise.

In 2008, the Wayne State University Center for Peace and Conflict Studies honored Dr. Smitherman with its annual Peacemaker Award, recognizing him for "monumental achievements and contributions to multicultural awareness and constructive conflict resolution." In 2009, he received the Community Service Award from the Michigan State Medical Society for his efforts to battle health care disparities. In 2015, Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder selected Dr. Smitherman to serve on the state's new Human Trafficking Commission, which will work with the state Attorney General's Office to protect Michigan residents from human trafficking, fight repeat violations and improve survivor support services.

Dr. Smitherman earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He also holds a master of public health degree in health service administration from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Matthews

Dr. De'Andrea Matthews, D.R.E.
Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. De'Andrea Matthews is director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Wayne State University (WSU) School of Medicine where she oversees the outreach, recruitment, and retention of students, faculty, and staff who are underrepresented in medicine. As director, she also provides leadership and strategic direction for staff in the implementation of the department's initiatives, programs and courses.  Dr. Matthews specializes in helping first-generation and/or low-income students realize and chase their dreams relentlessly. The scope of services offers outreach, recruitment, and retention from K-12 through graduation from medical school. Her goal is to support students in becoming competitive medical school applicants and ultimately, licensed physicians.  

Dr. Matthews is a co-author with other diversity professionals on A National Long-term Outcomes Evaluation of U.S. Premedical Postbaccalaureate Programs Designed to Promote Health Care Access and Workforce Diversity published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. She is a the membership chair for the Central Region of the National Association of Medical Minority Educators (NAMME) and member of the Diversity Advisory Council to the dean for the WSU School of Medicine. Dr. Matthews is a peer reviewer for the journal Teaching and Learning in Medicine, serves as a diversity officer, and member of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Diversity & Inclusion (GDI).

Dr. Anil Aranha, Ph.D. 
Associate Director, Academic

Anil N. F. Aranha, Ph.D., is Associate Director, Academic, in the SOM Office of Diversity and Inclusion with a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

A data scientist, Dr. Aranha was involved with design and management of Geriatric Medicine research and in Administration of Undergraduate (Physical Diagnosis) and Graduate (Ambulatory Grand Rounds) Medical Education programs at WSUSOM from 1991. His skills have also facilitated the enlightenment of medical faculty, fellows, residents and students in research methodology, data management & statistical analysis.

Dr. Aranha earned a Doctorate in Evaluation & Research, a graduate degree in Nutrition & Food Science and a graduate certificate in Community Health Services Research & Evaluation from Wayne State University. He has also received graduate degrees in Technology Management from Eastern Michigan University and Biochemistry from University of Bombay.

A well published researcher, with 40 peer-reviewed papers/abstracts in journals such as Archives of Internal MedicineAcademic MedicineAmerican Journal of Managed CarePatient Education and CounselingJournal of Nutrition Health and AgingClinical Interventions in AgingJournal of Clinical EngineeringJournal of Nursing Home Research, Journal of the American Geriatric Society and Journal of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Aranha's research interests include: medical and public health education; geriatric healthcare; food, nutrition and health behaviors; healthcare utilization; health services and outcomes; patient satisfaction and medical intervention cost-effectiveness.

Jason Brooks, Ph.D.
University Counselor II

Dr. Jason R. Brooks has held teaching and advising positions in higher education and various executive positions in the non-profit sector. He is currently a counselor for the SOM Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and co-teaches the Post Baccalaureate course, the Psychology and Technology of Success. Dr. Brooks joined the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in January 2016. In this role, he counsels Post Baccalaureate and medical students, assisting them with a variety of issues, such as, time management, motivation, anxiety and relationships. Since joining the ODI, he has created the Social Connect event, which is offered each semester as an interactive and social outlet for medical students. He serves on the Premedical Post Baccalaureate Program Admissions Committee, and created a WSU undergraduate mentoring program for students interested in careers in science. Previously, Dr. Brooks served as Vice-President of Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, where he led the "Sports Buddies" mentor recruitment initiative. In addition, from 2003-2008 he taught as an Assistant Professor and Academic Advisor at Hampton University, Hampton, VA, in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts in African American and African Studies from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a M.A. in Sport Administration and M.A. in Vocational Rehabilitation and Community Counseling from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in Sport Management (Psychology research focus) from Florida State University.

Denise Crumbey
Community Liaison

Mrs. Denise Crumbey is the community liaison for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. As a first generation college student herself, Denise's focus is on inspiring the first generation student to excel, while supporting parent engagement. She is a native Detroiter who has extensive work experience with low-income and at-risk populations through community service organizations. She is also skilled at making connections with community and faith-based organizations to promote the outreach and recruitment of students who are underrepresented in medicine.


Deborah Holland, M.A., LPC
Premedical Advisor

Ms. Deborah Holland is the Premedical Advisor for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. In this capacity, she has three distinct roles: (1) pre-med advising, (2) admissions counseling for submitting competitive applications to medical school, (3) interviewing as a member of the SOM Admissions Interview Committee and the Post-Baccalaureate Admissions Committee. In each of these roles, Ms. Holland utilize strengths-based strategies to increase diversity in the WSU Medical School with a particular emphasis on underrepresented students.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Ms. Holland earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology/Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a Master of Arts in Counselor Education from Wayne State University, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Prior to her tenure with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Ms. Holland served in a variety of student support service roles at both Wayne State and the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, including Interim Director of the WSU Academic Success Center,  Supplemental Instruction Coordinator, Tutorial Coordinator and Academic Advisor for the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and Arts Comprehensive Studies Program. During a brief hiatus from higher education, she worked in the non-profit sector serving as Executive Director of the Michigan Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. Ms. Holland's interests include academic achievement in college students and strengths-based counseling, with a particular emphasis on implications for holistic strategies for pre-medical preparation.

Leah Robinson, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Support

Dr. Leah Robinson started her career as an academic advisor in a developmental advising program at Wayne State University.  A seasoned higher education professional, her expertise in teaching, advising, and program and curriculum development is focused on sustainable performance and program improvement. As the Director of Academic Support, Dr. Robinson is responsible for the academic programming for the Premedical Post Baccalaureate Program, where she co-teaches the Psychology and Technology of Success course. In addition, Dr. Robinson provides academic coaching and performance monitoring for former post bacc. students in medical school. Dr. Robinson has held academic staff positions in the College of Education, Department of Music, Academic Success Center, Federal TRIO programs, and the School of Medicine at Wayne State University. Her international work experience includes serving as Instructor and Advisor at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, UAE as well as the Curriculum Coordinator at Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar. Prior to rejoining the School of Medicine staff, she served as the Associate Director of Data Management in the Graduate School at Wayne State University. 

Dr. Leah Robinson is a native Detroiter who holds a B.A. in English and Education from the University of Michigan, a M.A. in Educational Psychology from Eastern Michigan University, an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in Learning Design and Technology from Wayne State University.

Joseph Weertz, M.Ed.
Educational Outreach Coordinator

Mr. Joseph Weertz was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He is the ideal example of locally grown. After graduating from Detroit Public Schools, he studied Education and Kinesiology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He continued in his studies at Wayne State University as part of the curriculum re-design pilot in the Detroit Public Schools leading to his Master's Degree of Education. This fostered his commitment to supporting public school students and an interest in higher education.  Passionate about education and local area youth reaching their academic pursuits, Joe found working in community outreach was a natural fit. He also opened a community centered bicycle shop supporting local youth and neighborhood revitalization efforts. Grateful for his educational experiences in the Detroit area, Joe makes sure students can plan for their dream. Joe is a maker and innovator promoting positive community and academic growth in our neighborhood.


Dedra Seay-Scatlliffe, M.A.
Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Dedra Seay-Scatliffe began working in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (formerly known as Minority Recruitment) in 1986. She has served under four office directors: Mrs. Marjorie Edwards, Mrs. Julia Simmons, Dr. Edna Jackson-Gray, and Dr. De'Andrea Matthews. Dedra previously held roles as an Office Assistant I, Office Service Clerk I, Secretary II, Secretary III, and is currently the ODI Administrative Assistant. In this position, Dedra is instrumental in all office communications, file management, personnel processing, and budgetary monitoring, particularly with regards to the Premedical Post Baccalaureate Program. Her historical knowledge of Post Baccalaureate Program is immense. Dedra, a native Detroiter, has a particular interest in the African-American family structure. She received her Bachelor and Master's degrees in Sociology from Wayne State University, in 2007 and 2011 respectively.