CUIMC Stories

Tonya Richards, Katrina Armstrong, MD

Set in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, CUIMC is part of a diverse community that includes people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Simply put, our diversity is our strength, so we value diversity in key roles across the medical center.

Below, CEO and Dean Dr. Katrina Armstrong discusses the CUIMC staff video series with Tonya Richards, the Chief DEI Officer for Staff at CUIMC. They also discuss how to translate CUIMC's DEI initiatives into action and what CUIMC employees find motivating about being part of our community.


Staff Video Series

Watch the videos below to learn more about how some of our staff take advantage of the multitude of DEI programs and other benefits at CUIMC. 

Akil Johnson

Akil Johnson is the senior director of operations at the School of Nursing (SON) and has been with CUIMC for 9 years. He has received awards for his contribution, leadership and commitment to ensuring a safe work environment for SON faculty, staff, and students.


Jacky Chen

 Jacky Chen is a quality and patient safety manager for ColumbiaDoctors and has been at CUIMC since 2020. He participates in ERGs for Asian Pacific Islanders and for veterans.  


Joann Li

Joann Li is the department administrator and CFO for the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology and has been at CUIMC for over 30 years. In this time, she has gotten her master’s at Columbia and has had several roles in her department. 


Lina Maria Alfonso

Lina Maria Alfonso is a business process/quality improvement specialist in the Department of Medicine. She has worked at CUIMC since 2020 and is active in the LatinX Employee Resource Group and the CUIMC Women’s Employee Resource Group.


Sandra Bernal Garcia

Sandra Bernal Garcia is the associate dean for student affairs at Mailman. She started in the Office of Financial Planning at VP&S 35 years ago and through Columbia benefits, she has earned 2 Master’s degrees at Columbia.


Zsalyne Fergus

Zsalyne Fergus is the HR manager for the Department of Surgery who joined CUIMC in 2020. She is active in the Possibilities program which helps people with disabilities gain employment and experience at CUIMC and participates in several employee resource groups (ERGs).