News Release

BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine names Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility of the Year recipients

Grant and Award Announcement

Boston University School of Medicine

(Boston)—Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine faculty members Ricardo Cruz, MD, MPH, MA, assistant professor of medicine, and Shamaila Khan, PhD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry, each have received the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) of the Year Award. Given annually by the school, the award recognizes faculty and staff who have done an extraordinary job at addressing and improving diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion, equity and accessibility throughout the school community.

Cruz joined the faculty in 2014. His clinical work at Boston Medical Center (BMC) focuses on primary care and treatment of substance use disorders for vulnerable populations including racial and ethnic minority communities and individuals with history of criminal justice involvement. He is also a physician in the Faster Paths to Treatment clinic, BMC’s innovative, low-barrier, substance use disorder bridge clinic.

His research interests include clinical innovations to address health and treatment disparities among people with substance use disorder. He was the principal investigator of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health-funded Project RECOVER (Referral, Engagement, Coaching, Overdose preVention Education in Recovery), a project that utilizes peer recovery coaches to assist with engagement and retention of individuals with opioid use disorder into treatment and primary care services after completion of acute treatment services (detoxification). He has been a co-investigator on National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded randomized clinical trials testing medications for alcohol and cocaine use disorders.

Additionally, Cruz serves in the school’s Academy of Medical Educators where he teaches medical students during the preclinical doctoring courses with a focus on development of communication, physical exam, and clinical reasoning skills and is also an Associate Clerkship Director of Internal Medicine 3rd year clerkship teaching medical students how to care for patients in the hospital. 


“Dr. Cruz is a committed advocate for DEIA not only as a primary care clinician and addiction medicine specialist in the Section of General Internal Medicine, but also as an educator and innovator of programs addressing health inequities,” a colleague said in recommending Cruz for the award. “He provides exceptional care to Boston’s most underserved groups, many of whom face barriers to obtaining equitable health care.”

According to another colleague, Cruz educates medical students and residents on the health impact and inequities driven by the criminal justice system. “Dr. Cruz is known as an excellent clinical teacher and his educational scholarship is deeply tied to the values of antiracism.”


Khan is a licensed clinical psychologist with a psychodynamic background and an interest in post-colonial theory. Her clinical, academic and research experience entails trauma and disaster relief work with a multicultural, decolonizing and social justice focus. She treats people with individual trauma, community-based trauma, immigration, racial and postcolonial trauma. She travels globally to provide culturally attuned disaster relief services.

Khan is the director for the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology (CMTP) and Center for Multicultural Mental Health (CMMH). She was director of the Haiti SERG Program and then clinical director of the Resilience Training Program at BMC. She was also the first responder and the director of behavioral health services at BMC's Massachusetts Resiliency Center, serving the victims/survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Most recently, she was director of the Family Support Center providing services to those impacted by the pandemic. 

Khan is a member of the Multicultural Concerns Committee and the Professional Issues Committee of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division of Psychoanalysis. She is APA's CoA (Committee on Accreditation) multicultural expert and site visitor. She additionally serves on the Disaster Behavioral Health Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. She is also the co-chair for the DEI Committee and diversity champion for the department of psychiatry.

“Dr. Khan embodies what this award is meant to honor. I can think of no one at the medical campus who is more deeply engaged in promoting diversity among students, trainees, staff, and faculty—and who is more deserving of this recognition,” said a colleague who recommended her for this award.

According to another colleague, Khan creates and implements programs designed to improve DEIA, including pathway programs such as the Black Lives Matter Training series, and she has led a range of affinity groups, listening sessions and healing circles within the Medical Campus and the Boston community. “These efforts have made meaningful impacts as healing spaces related to the Boston Marathon bombing, COVID pandemic, George Floyd incident, anti-Asian hate incidents, LGBTQI hate crimes and, most recently, in relation to Israeli/Palestinian world events.”




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