DEI Faculty Spotlight: Leigh Vaughan, M.D. and Ray Hardy, M.D.

Natalie Wilson
June 30, 2022
DEI Faculty Spotlight

As part of the Department of Medicine’s goal to promote a culture that values and honors diversity, equity, and inclusion, we’re “spotlighting” DOM faculty, trainees and staff members who are leading the way in DEI initiatives across campus and the community.

This month, we’re spotlighting Leigh Meade Vaughan, M.D., associate professor in the division of General Internal Medicine, and Ray Hardy, M.D., chief resident, internal medicine. Drs. Vaughan and Hardy were recently honored with the 2022 Lift as you Climb Diversity Mentorship Award from MUSC College of Medicine Diversity Affairs. This prestigious award recognizes their exemplary service, commitment, and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Read below to learn more about their career journeys and current DEI initiatives.

Leigh Meade Vaughan, M.D.
Associate Professor, General Internal Medicine and
Director, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program

Dr. Vaughan is an associate professor of medicine and a hospice and palliative medicine specialist in the Division of General Internal Medicine at MUSC. She has worked diligently during her career to improve pain management and palliative care for patients living with serious illness. Dr. Vaughan is also committed to training the next generation of physicians and currently serves as director of the Hospice and Palliative Care Fellowship program at MUSC.

Community Service and Mentorship
Over the years, Dr. Vaughan has selflessly dedicated countless hours of community service work to Shield Ministries serving as a volunteer primary care physician. Shield Ministries is an educational and transitional housing program serving male ex-offenders as they transition from the devastation of their past to a thriving future.

Additionally, Dr. Vaughan is heavily engaged in mentoring through the MUSC DEI office student internship program. Each year, she takes on one high school mentee who shadows her in the clinic and works with her team to gain exposure to administrative work, financial projects, and various palliative care creative projects, including artwork for patients and their families.

Dr. Vaughan will also serve as a faculty advisor on an upcoming trip to Africa where she will have the chance to mentor fellows and potentially residents in palliative care thanks to grant funding provided by the MUSC Global Health initiative.

Ray Hardy, M.D.
Chief Resident, Internal Medicine (2022-2023)

Rayphael “Ray” Hardy is one of four internal medicine chief residents for the 2022-2023 academic year. He completed his undergraduate studies at Clemson University prior to joining MUSC for his medical school and residency training. After completion of his year as a chief resident, Dr. Hardy plans to pursue a career in academic gastroenterology. He is interested in medical education and curriculum development.

Leading New Efforts
One of Dr. Hardy’s main goals as chief resident this year is to implement a health care disparities curriculum for the internal medicine residency program. Read the interview below to learn what led to his active role in diversity initiatives and what he will be focusing on this year.

What led you to take an active role in diversity and equity as it relates to education and residency training?

I'm originally from Singapore. My Dad is from North Carolina and was in the military and my mom is Arabic and European, so a very diverse family. I lived overseas my entire life until I was 15 years old and during that time I was exposed to many different cultures through our frequent travels. Then in 2007, I came to America for high school, and it was a completely different world. What’s amazing is that overseas (and maybe my parents shielded me from it), I didn't experience much racism or those different kinds of biases many people experience over here. But when I came to America, I started to really feel those things and it was definitely evident in my high school. In college, my interest in disparities really peaked with some of the groups that I volunteered with, and then in medical school as part of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) at MUSC. I think our medical school curriculum was fantastic. They did a really good job talking about disparities and the different kinds of biases that we experienced, but I thought our residency program was lacking all of that. Honestly, I think that's kind of what sparked a lot of my interest in this initiative.

What are your goals in implementing this curriculum?

Initially in my residency training, there wasn’t as much emphasis on disparities that I noticed. However, in 2020, after a series of unfortunate events across the country, our program leadership realized the need to implement health care disparities awareness and curriculum into residency training. The chief residents at that time (in 2020), started a bare bones skeleton of a disparities curriculum hosting one lecture every two to three months – this set the foundation which this past year’s chiefs worked to build upon. My next step as chief resident is to further expand upon that by implementing more didactics into academic half-day, and by actively engaging our speakers (from grand rounds or academic academic half-day) in discussions about what disparities they see in their practice to give us further insight into what they see from their patients.

My next goal in clinic is to investigate some of the common barriers that patients have in accessing our clinics. Whether they live in a small town where they don’t have access to transportation services such as Uber or are unable to take time off work, etc... There's a whole host of different things that could be going on. That's the gist of what we're trying to develop this year: more education, more clinical oversight to figure out what trends exist among our patients and then develop and implement ways that we can promote that awareness among our residents.

My plan is to develop a metric in the form of a survey that we will use to evaluate the success of this initiative and to determine the needs of our residents in terms of health care disparities education and what they want to learn more of – we can then tailor our speakers and curriculum accordingly to their interests.