DECADE stands for

Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Resources at UCI

DECADE Discussion Groups

Launched in 2021, the purpose of these discussion groups is to enhance and better connect with students on all levels. These student-led groups will help create an open and welcoming forum for students to share and help build relationships with each other, but more importantly, create a supportive environment to help everyone succeed. Topics include but are not limited to: Lab Identification, PI Relations, Well-being and Laboratory Safety, Career Development, Academic Work/Life Balance, Advancing to Candidacy, Defense, Writing Papers and Fellowship Applications. 

Student-Driven Peer Mentoring Program

The student-driven peer mentoring program will support new PhD students in their first year at UCI by providing student-centered advice about classes, rotations, and adapting to graduate school. This format will create a support system where first-year students are comfortable to discuss any issues, challenges, or hardships they may face with students more advanced in the PharmSci program in order to brainstorm solutions or find reassurance.

Town Hall Meeting Minutes

Each quarter, UCI’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SPPS) will host a DECADE town hall meeting. These town halls provide a forum for the SPPS community to discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion with the goal of establishing concrete actions we can take to promote a supportive and nurturing community. All are welcome to attend. Meeting minutes will be posted below.

DECADE Town Hall Minutes (2020-10-30)

We convened our first DECADE town all of AY2020-2021 on 30 OCT 2020. Our town halls provide a forum for the SPPS community to discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion with the goal of establishing concrete actions we can take to promote a supportive and nurturing community.

Agenda Items


  • Cheryl Wisseh (faculty co-moderator)
  • Jessica Su (DECADE student council)
  • Huda Barhoosh (DECADE student council)

DECADE Student Council Update (Barhoosh)

  • Gillian Hayes attended
  • Checked in about COVID issues in student housing
  • Professional development award is forthcoming
  • Full minutes in attachment

Initiatives Ongoing

  • Continually assess and revise efforts to achieve DECADE goals
  • Seminar diversity
    • Speakers (!)
    • Anjelica Cardenas working w/ Paegel to broaden topics to pharmacology/behavior
    • Discussion w/ speaker after seminar preferred (Bozorgmehri to pilot)
    • Career development — encourage speakers to include a slide in presentation
    • Loftipour advocates for enhancing scientific breadth
    • Seminar series to pause for winter tutorial and resume in spring

Open Discussion

What are we getting right?

  • We are having more diversity in the student pipeline
  • Students and staff acknowledging early success of seminar speaker diversification

What are we not getting right?

  • How do we get the rest of the students to be active?
    • A lot of discomfort can originate from peers
  • Most programs like this are just talk; we must catalyze change (Sakr)
  • We are not disseminating information effectively
    • More effectively communicate town hall meeting times/invite
    • Disseminate minutes of meeting
  • We are not disseminating information effectively 

Other notes

  • Include notes on the DEIC’s activities to summarize school-wide activities
  • Member-get-a-member?
    • Make an uncomfortable if we bring others?
    • Only way to increase visibility
  • Do a seminar / overview of the resources available (Roxy)
  • What are OUR concrete goals? (Wisseh)
    • Safe space for discussion? What?
    • Avoid at all costs students leaving program because they feel alone / unsupported (Paegel)
  • Create student groups who are focused on a task (Nedda, Alexandra, Brandon)
    • Support groups (talk through issues, practice candidacy exam, etc etc)
    • Other missions? Publicity?
    • Rogers and Latifi have been spearheading student/peer mentoring (NOTE: we need to support and formalize)
  • Generate monthly message to DECADE community (Rogers)
  • Pipeline development is a major goal of the program
    • We already have mechanisms for driving this and we need more participation (Benavente)
  • Meeting time inconvenient; move off Friday evening

Action Items

  • Disseminate minutes
  • Establish mailing list
  • Schedule next town hall (community)
  • Schedule SPPS student/mentor meeting (students ONLY)
  • Schedule office hours (Paegel, Barhoosh, Su)
  • Formalize peer mentoring w/ Team Rogers/Latifi

Updates from Last Time

  • Office hours established
  • DECADE Website (Bozorgmehri)
  • Peer Mentoring Program (Latifi)
  • DECADE Discussion Groups (Rogers)
  • Spring Seminar Series (Paegel, Cardenas)
    • Returns 31 MAR
    • Focus on pharmacology & behavior (Loftipour)
    • Niles (MIT), Morales (NIH)

Ongoing and Upcoming

  • Welcoming PharmD students
    • Adding PharmD-specific discussion groups
    • Adding PharmD faculty mentor
  • Riot at the Capitol: Racism and privilege on display
    • Establish anti-racism activism goals
    • Supports through office hours
    • Open floor discussion

Action Items

  • Increase advertising via E-mail blast 
  • Assess DECADE discussion groups
  • Fill out spring 2021 pharmacology/behavior seminar series
  • Establish office hours and spring town hall