News & Announcements

MLK Week Commemoration 2024: Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. as a whole human being!

We are excited to share the WashU School of Medicine ODEI annual MLK Week Commemoration 2024 dates!

Monday, January 15th – Friday, January 19th 

Dr. King dedicated his life to improving the educational access and opportunity given to every person, and at WashU School of Medicine we continue to strive toward those values. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Week (MLK Week) has become a platform for engaging students, faculty, trainees, staff, and community members in critical conversations around race and contemporary civil rights issues in America. All are welcome to get involved and participate! This year’s theme is Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. as a whole human being.

Updated below with full program.


Monday, January 15  | All Day
Martin Luther King, Jr., National Day of Service

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday is an official day of service and celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all to volunteer to improve their communities.

Find volunteer opportunities: 


Tuesday, January 16  | 12 pm – 1:30 pm
WUSM Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Update »

Dr. MLK Week 2024 will commence with Dr. Sherree Wilson, Associate Vice Chancellor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Washington University School of Medicine, sharing the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion at WashU Medicine. This is an opportunity to learn about recent successes, what lies ahead and how you can get involved and/or support DEI efforts on the medical campus. We are particularly excited to honor individuals from the WashU Medicine community who will be recognized as Drum Majors as described by Dr. King.


Tuesday, January 16 | 4:30 pm – 6 pm
Film Viewing: King in the Wilderness »

Join us for an Evening of Insight and Reflection

In grade school, we often study Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, but his impact extends far beyond in his fight against racial inequalities. In the later years of his life, Dr. King’s ideology evolved into something considered quite radical. He vehemently opposed the Vietnam War, spearheaded the Poor People’s Campaign, and championed the cause of guaranteed income.

Join the Association of Black Biomedical Graduate Students, the Black Postdoc Association, and ODEI for an insightful screening of the documentary King in the Wilderness. This documentary delves into the lesser-explored chapters of Dr. King’s life, shedding light on his bold stances and revolutionary ideas.

Following the screening, engage in a thought-provoking discussion on the reduction of Dr. King’s legacy to the civil rights movement. Explore the relevance of his ideologies to today’s social issues and discover how we can actively contribute to realizing the world he envisioned. This event aims to shift the spotlight to Dr. King’s life after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, emphasizing the totality of his enduring legacy.”


Wednesday, January 17 | 4:45 pm – 6:15 pm
Keynote Panel: WUSM Leader Panel on MLK, Jr.’s Impact »

Dr. King’s legacy and commitment to civil rights and eliminating inequities has influenced the fields of medicine and public health. At the Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights held in Chicago in March 1955, Dr. King declared: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane.” In a 1961 annual report entitled “Equality Now: The President Has the Power,” Dr. King called attention to “a considerable amount of discrimination” with regard to health and hospitalization. Consistent with what we might today describe as an antiracist stance, Dr. King influenced the fields of medicine and public health by being among the voices to suggest and champion specific changes in programs and policies that could reduce racial inequity in social determinants of health and health more broadly. This panel of WashU Medicine leaders will reflect on how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Legacy has impacted their practice as leaders in medicine and/or biomedical science.

Refreshments will be provided.

Panelists include:

  • Eva Aagaard, MD
    Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Professor of Medical Education
    Senior Associate Dean for Education, Vice Chancellor for Medical Education
    Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine
  • Opeolu M Adeoye, MD, MS
    BJC HealthCare Distinguished Professor of Emergency Medicine
    Department Chair of Emergency Medicine
  • Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA
    Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology
    Department Chair of Anesthesiology
  • Eric J. Lenze, MD
    Wallace and Lucille K Renard Professor
    Department Chair of Psychiatry

The panel will be moderated by:

  • Will Ray Ross, MD, MPH
    Alumni Endowed Professor of Medicine, Nephrology
    Associate Dean for Diversity
    Principal Officer for Community Partnerships

Friday, January 19 | 12:30 pm – 2 pm
MLK, Jr. Book Club Kickoff: The Seminarian »

As we embark on the Spring semester, we are excited to invite you to participate in our book club on a platform dedicated to exploring and discussing literature that aligns with the value of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a whole person. The book club will meet monthly, and participants can expect to engage in monthly facilitated discussions on Patrick Parr’s book The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age which is a must-read for anyone interested in the life and legacy of one of the greatest civil rights leaders in history. This captivating book takes you on a journey through King’s formative years, providing a unique perspective on the events and experiences that shaped him into the iconic figure he is today. With its engaging storytelling and meticulous research, “The Seminarian” is a powerful tribute to a man who dedicated his life to fighting for equality and justice for all.