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Diversity & Inclusion

About Us

The mission of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion is to bring about department-wide cultural changes that promote a diverse and inclusive environment in which all faculty, staff, and trainees can thrive and feel valued. Through our three subcommittees, we strive to raise awareness of and eliminate racial biases within the workplace and patient care, elevate minorities to leadership positions within the Department of Neurology, and amplify minority voices, presence, and representation within the Yale and external communities.

Synapse Award

The Synapse Award recognizes the excellent work that minority groups are doing within the Department and extended Yale community to uphold the tenets of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.

Recipients of the Synapse Award stand out due to their self-driven initiatives that benefit our community. Initiatives can include, but are not limited to, the promotion of diversity and inclusion, as well as new community-based healthcare and related accomplishments.

We also want to highlight all others who support these efforts. Each month, we will feature the work of different members of our department: staff, faculty, and research scientists. At the end of the year, three nominees from these categories will be chosen by department members for the annual Synapse Award via majority vote.

The Synapse Awards will be bestowed each year in February, starting in 2022. Please highlight members within our department for their work and community investment by clicking on the red nomination form button on the lefthand side of the page.

Latest News

Black Medicare Patients Have Higher Long-term Stroke Death Rates

A long-term study of Medicare patients finds that Black patients who have an ischemic stroke (blocked blood flow to the brain) die at a higher rate than white patients, even after accounting for preexisting health conditions, a preliminary study by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health finds.

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Contact Us

To contact the Committee Chairs, please email

Meet the Chairs

Dr. Kunal Desai, MD

I am a unique blend of two very different cultures. While living in India for the first 15 years of my life, I developed an abiding passion for cricket, Indian folk dance, and Bollywood music. I also witnessed firsthand a country whose people had been oppressed for centuries and were just beginning to understand freedom. My grandfathers met each other in prison, where they were being incarcerated for their role in India's independence movement. They taught me and my family that you have to stand up for what you believe in and fight for those who have been marginalized or discriminated against.

When I moved to Rhode Island, I immersed myself in American culture and fell in love with football, pizza, and hip hop music. During my time at Boston College, my desire to lift up those around me only grew as I participated in rallies against hate crimes and in support of LGBT rights. Since medical school at Creighton University, I have been organizing annual health camps for underprivileged children in India and have helped to provide free medical care to thousands o children and families.

I am now looking to create a more inclusive environment for the next generation, sot hat people like my daughter - who is half brown, half white, half Indian, half American, half Catholic, half Hindu - do not have to grow up in a segregated society.

Dr. LaShae Nicholson, PhD

I a m a new Postdoctoral researcher, and I joined the Yale community in February 2020. My research focus is on the underlying molecular mechanisms linking the disrupted neurovascular communication and function associated with Alzheimer's disease pathology. After finishing my undergraduate studies in the US, I moved to Germany to pursue my master's degree, moving on to finally completing my PhD at the Goethe University in Frankfurt in November 2019.

As a minority and first generation college student, I have experienced firsthand the consequences that the lack of diversity and minority representation in science brings. I know what it's like to work harder in the absence of guidance, to work without support or recognition, and having to actively seek out alternative sources for mentorship and career advice. Therefore, being an advocate for science outreach, mentorship, and career training for underrepresented minorities is extremely important to me. It is important to me to not only be a role model as a minority scientist, but also to speak out about the importance of neuroscience and brain disease within minority communities.

Dr. Razaz Mageid, MD

I was born in Sudan, my parents immigrated to the United States when I was young, and I was raised in Delaware. I went to MIT, where I majored in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Through various experiences and mentors, I cultivated an interest in neurology and decided I wanted to go to medical school. During my college years, I did not only become more interested in medicine, but also in public health and racial disparities, and I started or was on the boards of programs that advocated for minorities. I subsequently matriculated at Tufts Medical School, where I fostered my interests in public and global health, and I am now a fourth-year Neurology resident.