Members of the Weill Cornell Medicine community gathered on Oct. 25 in Griffis Faculty Club to celebrate the unveiling of a set of paintings depicting four icons of diversity and inclusion efforts at the institution. Dr. Daniel Laroche, M.D. ’92, his wife Marjorie Laroche and his cousin Marie Claude Brutus commissioned the paintings from the Haitian artist Junior Jacques to recognize the seminal contributions of Drs. James Curtis, Elizabeth Wilson-Anstey, Bruce Ballard, and Carlyle Miller, M.D. ’75 to Weill Cornell Medicine’s efforts to attract and retain underrepresented minorities in medicine.
Dr. Laroche was inspired to commission the painting at a reunion in October 2018 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Travelers Summer Research Fellowship (TSRF) program. Founded by Dr. Curtis and now directed by Dr. Wilson-Anstey, assistant dean of diversity and student life, the program offers pre-medical students from groups historically underrepresented in medicine with up-close views of the field, aiming to increase the number of minority physicians in the workforce.
With all four diversity champions at the reunion, Dr. Laroche realized their contributions to Weill Cornell Medicine could be recognized through portraiture, a longstanding tradition in medicine that has not historically reflected the efforts of underrepresented minorities.
“These four individuals have been instrumental in training hundreds of medical students and physicians at Weill Cornell Medicine and spring-boarding premedical students into medical schools across the country,” Dr. Laroche said. “The physicians from these pipelines have gone on to touch and improve the lives millions of people within the United States and globally.”
Dr. Laroche himself has been instrumental in increasing the enrollment of student groups that are underrepresented in medicine. As a medical student in 1989, he founded the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program, a pipeline program for high school students.
“This is a historic event for Weill Cornell Medicine, in which we honor and celebrate those who have been so instrumental to student life and diversity at Weill Cornell Medicine and beyond,” said Dr. Linnie Golightly, associate dean of diversity and inclusion. “As an alumna of Weill Cornell Medicine, I am truly proud to be able to share these portraits with the community and thankful to Dr. Daniel Laroche, Marjorie Laroche and Marie Claude-Brutus for their incredible vision and generosity.”
The paintings will be displayed in the Samuel J. Wood Library and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.