Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

In the VERG lab, we are continually looking for enthusiastic and committed individuals from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences to join our team. We believe that our lab members’ diversity makes us a more substantial research group and better able to serve our fellow humans. We welcome different races, ethnicities, gender, ages, religions, languages, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, country of origin, or other perceived differences toward creating a broader pool of thought processes and worldviews. 

Much of our current research focuses on reducing health disparities in under-represented and rural populations. Our commitment to diversity reflects our day-to-day activities and our published research work. Previous work in our lab has focused on reducing racial bias, particularly in health communication. (See references for more details)

Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice, but belonging is a feeling that can be enforced by a culture that you can purposefully create. Diversity and inclusion may capture your head, but belonging captures your heart.

References to work regarding diversity:

  • Rossen, B., Johnsen, K., Deladisma, A., Lind, S., & Lok, B. (2008, September). Virtual humans elicit skin-tone bias consistent with real-world skin-tone biases. In International Workshop on Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 237-244). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  • Ferdig, R. E., Coutts, J., DiPietro, J., Lok, B., & Davis, N. (2007). Innovative technologies for multicultural education needs. Multicultural Education & Technology Journal.
  • Wandner, L. D., Heft, M. W., Lok, B. C., Hirsh, A. T., George, S. Z., Horgas, A. L., … & Robinson, M. E. (2014). The impact of patients’ gender, race, and age on health care professionals’ pain management decisions: an online survey using virtual human technology. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(5), 726-733.
  • Bartley, E. J., Boissoneault, J., Vargovich, A. M., Wandner, L. D., Hirsh, A. T., Lok, B. C., … & Robinson, M. E. (2015). The influence of health care professional characteristics on pain management decisions. Pain Medicine, 16(1), 99-111.
  • Rivera-Gutierrez, D. J., Kopper, R., Kleinsmith, A., Cendan, J., Finney, G., & Lok, B. (2014, August). Exploring gender biases with virtual patients for high stakes interpersonal skills training. In International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 385-396). Springer, Cham.
  • Chuah, J. H., Lok, B., & Black, E. (2013). Applying mixed reality to simulate vulnerable populations for practicing clinical communication skills. IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics, 19(4), 539-546.
  • Wandner, L. D., Letzen, J. E., Torres, C. A., Lok, B., & Robinson, M. E. (2014). Using virtual human technology to provide immediate feedback about participants′ use of demographic cues and knowledge of their cue use. The Journal of Pain, 15(11), 1141-1147.
  • Hirsh, A. T., Miller, M. M., Hollingshead, N. A., Anastas, T., Carnell, S. T., Lok, B. C., … & Ashburn-Nardo, L. (2019). A randomized controlled trial testing a virtual perspective-taking intervention to reduce race and socioeconomic status disparities in pain care. Pain, 160(10), 2229-2240.
  • Carnell, S., & Lok, B. (2018, November). The Effects of Author Identity on Dialogue for Virtual Human Communication Skills Training. In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 65-70).