Spearman-McCarthy, Arora to lead MCG diversity, equity and inclusion efforts

Two women in white coats stand back to back
Dr. Vanessa Spearman-McCarthy, left, and Dr. Tania Arora

Dr. E. Vanessa Spearman-McCarthy, an internist/psychiatrist and 2005 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, has been named the medical school’s associate dean for learner diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Tania K. Arora, a surgical oncologist in the MCG Department of Surgery, has been named assistant dean.

Spearman-McCarthy and Arora will co-develop and lead activities that reflect MCG’s vision — to create a diverse health care workforce that reflects and addresses the health needs of Georgia and the rest of the country. They also will collaborate with university faculty, staff and leadership to ensure that all MCG students, residents, and fellows receive content and achieve awareness of diversity issues and health care inequities in clinical learning environments, to best prepare them for careers in medicine.

Spearman-McCarthy was recently appointed to serve on the Association of American Medical College’s Constructing an Equitable, Inclusive, and Anti-racist Learning Environment Working Group. She also chairs the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry, serves as a councilor and serves as a member of the association’s Planning Committee.

She serves on the advisory board for the Diversity in Addiction Research Training (DART) Program at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where she completed her internal medicine/psychiatry residency, and chairs the Health and Wellness Committee for the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, her undergraduate alma mater.

An associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and Medicine, she serves as the medical director and the primary attending physician on the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service at the medical school’s teaching affiliate AU Health System. The service focuses on the treatment of patients with comorbid psychiatric and general medical conditions. An avid educator, Spearman-McCarthy teaches MCG students physical diagnosis and case-based learning. In the clinical setting she supervises the psychiatry clerkship for third- and fourth-year medical students, as well as general psychiatry residents, addiction medicine fellows and internal medicine residents in the Medicine Continuity Clinic.

Spearman-McCarthy is an advisor to the Department of Psychiatry’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, co-chairs the MCG Faculty Senate’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and serves as the First Look Planning Committee chair for the MCG Graduate Medical Education Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Health Disparities Subcommittee.

She is clinical advisor to the MCG Chapter of the Student National Medical Association and is an advisor to the Augusta University Minority Association of Premedical Students.

An honored educator and clinician, she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and has been inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

She is a past recipient of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry’s Roger Kathol Pioneering Spirit Award, the Leonard Tow Humanism Award, the MCG Faculty Senate Patient Care Award, the Patient Family Centered Services Impact Award, the MCG Department of Psychiatry’s Educator of the Year Award and several MCG Exemplary Teaching Awards.

Arora was recently elected to serve as vice chair of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Diversity Issues, which studies the educational and professional needs of underrepresented surgeons and surgical trainees and works to eliminate health disparities. This year, she also was chosen by the college to be an associate member of its Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.

The ACS has more than 82,000 members, including more than 6,600 fellows in other countries, making it the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

Arora, who has been a fellow of the ACS since 2016, joined the MCG faculty in 2019 as an associate professor of surgery and serves as director of the General Surgery Residency Program. She also chairs the Association for Surgical Education’s Committee on Citizenship and Global Responsibility, Association of Program Directors in Surgery’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Association of Academic Surgeons Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She is a member of the Association of Women Surgeon’s Subcommittee on Social Media and the Association of Surgical Education’s Podcast Committee.

Last year, she also chaired the MCG Graduate Medical Education Subcommittee on Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Health Disparities, the Department of Surgery’s Program Evaluation Committee and completed her term on the Society of Surgical Oncology’s Membership Committee.

The London native received her medical degree in 2004 from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond. She completed two years of research, under a T32 grant from the NIH, examining how the amino acid L-arginine improved outcomes of severe hemorrhagic shock in an animal model, in 2008; a surgery residency in 2011; and a fellowship in complex general surgical oncology in 2013, all at VCU School of Medicine.

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Written by
Jennifer Hilliard Scott

Jennifer Hilliard Scott is Senior Communications Coordinator at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-8604 or jscott1@augusta.edu.

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Written by Jennifer Hilliard Scott

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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