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New York Medical College Appoints Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, M.P.H., FAAN, FAES, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Etienne will work to enhance the diversity of NYMC by promoting equity and inclusion in all aspects of teaching and clinical practice

Date: December 07, 2020
Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, Appointed Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion
Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, Appointed Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion
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Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
Vice President of Communications
New York Medical College
(914) 594-4552

Valhalla, New York - In keeping with its deep roots and a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, New York Medical College (NYMC) is proud to announce the appointment of Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, M.P.H. FAAN, FAES,  associate dean of student affairs and associate professor of neurology and of medicine in the School of Medicine (SOM), to the college-wide position of vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, effective immediately.

“NYMC, founded in 1860, has been a bastion against bigotry in health sciences education since our founding. We admitted our first woman student within three years of opening our doors and our first black student in 1869. Among the other “firsts” of NYMC are being the first allopathic medical school in the U.S. to have a Jewish dean, the first to have a black dean,  and the first to have scholarships designated for black students in 1928,” said Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer. “Not content to rest on our laurels, we will strive to be a leader in anti-racism. I look forward to partnering with Dr. Etienne in this effort.”

In this new role, Dr. Etienne will work to enhance the diversity of the entire New York Medical College (NYMC) and Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) community by promoting equity and inclusion in all aspects of teaching, student life, faculty recruitment, clinical practice, and research.  He will also oversee the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity, working closely with Ray Whitt, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and Yvonne Thornton, M.D., professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology, and a new assistant to the vice chancellor to be named.

“Diversity is the bedrock for compelling thought and it upholds unification supported by open-mindedness,” says Dr. Etienne. “Given that it is well established that people have a tendency to work in communities that look like them, it is important that we train health care professionals who look like the communities that they will be serving. The most important first step in ensuring a diverse environment is recruiting a diverse faculty. Furthermore, it is important that the community also fosters inclusivity and belonging.  People who work and attend school at our institution should feel that they belong here. There is clear data indicating that people who feel that they belong perform better at work, perform better at school and have better health outcomes.”   

“My goal is  to see us celebrating our differences and how that makes us a stronger institution and for all  graduates of NYMC to be trained in recognizing and addressing implicit bias and microaggression,” continues Dr. Etienne. “We have to make sure that any and all elements of racism and negative bias that is embedded in any of the curricula on our campus be intentionally removed.”

Dr. Etienne has served as associate dean for student affairs in the SOM since 2014, a role he will maintain. He has also directed the SOM fourth-year multiculturalism in medicine elective since 2019. Dr. Etienne is a visiting scholar at the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University and he is director of the Epilepsy and EEG Laboratory at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, part of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. He is currently president of the New York State Neurological Society. 

A graduate of NYMC in 2002, he completed his neurology residency and epilepsy fellowship at the Neurological Institute of New York (Columbia University).  He earned his M.P.H. from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and completed a neuroepidemiology fellowship with a training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Etienne was the founding director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he also served as director of the autonomic laboratory. While at Walter Reed, he was associate program director of the neurology residency program and was on the clinical neurophysiology teaching faculty for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health. He was also chief of the Ethics Committee on board the USNS Comfort during Operation Unified Response, the U.S. military response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. During the spring 2020 peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Etienne was deployed with the U.S. Navy to serve in New York City at the Javits Medical Station.   

He is a recognized expert in disaster medicine, particularly in the areas of ethics and culture. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and fellow of the American Epilepsy Society and has presented multiple times at both their annual meetings. He has authored numerous book chapters and has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the honor medical society and has received numerous teaching awards throughout his tenure at NYMC.  Dr. Etienne is board certified in neurology, epilepsy, clinical neurophysiology, brain injury medicine and public health. 

About New York Medical College

Founded in 1860, New York Medical College (NYMC) is one of the oldest and largest health sciences colleges in the country with nearly 1,500 students and 330 residents and clinical fellows, more than 2,600 faculty members and 23,500 living alumni. The College, which joined the Touro College and University System in 2011, is located in Westchester County, New York, and offers degrees from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and Practice, the Touro College of Dental Medicine at NYMC and the Touro College School of Health Sciences’ nursing program at NYMC. NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities for students, residents, and practitioners.