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Settlement reached in Dr. Aysha Khoury’s lawsuit against the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine



LOS ANGELES /PRNewswire/ — Dr. Aysha Khoury is pleased to announce the settlement of her lawsuit  and withdrawal of her National Labor Relations Board charge against the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (“KPSOM”).  Dr. Khoury is represented by Lisa Holder of the Law Offices of Lisa Holder, and Nathan Smith and Anita Wu of Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP.

Dr. Khoury alleged in her lawsuit that on August 28, 2020, Dr. Khoury facilitated a small group session on racially disparate treatment of black patients in medicine and spoke from the heart about her own experiences with bias. Nine hours later the KPSOM administration discharged her from her teaching duties and told her they did not want to see her, pending an investigation into her classroom activities. She was replaced with a white male instructor. Dr. Khoury’s small group students wrote letters to KPSOM’s administration reporting that none of them complained to the school, that the class represented the most enlightening hour of their medical school education – one that would resonate with them throughout their medical careers, and that Dr. Khoury’s participation was critical to achieving KPSOM’s stated DEI mission.

Dr. Khoury further alleged that although the KPSOM investigation found that Dr. Khoury did nothing wrong in the classroom, leading to her reinstatement with the Kaiser Medical Group as a clinical physician, KPSOM refused to reinstate her to the faculty. To the contrary, after Dr. Khoury reported and publicly complained of KPSOM’s discrimination, retaliation and lack of due process, KPSOM further retaliated against her by reversing its offer to extend her contract and permanently discharging her. 

Dr. Khoury and KPSOM join in the following statement:

The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine and Dr. Aysha Khoury are pleased to announce that they have resolved Dr. Khoury’s civil case and a National Labor Relations Board proceeding. The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine was founded with a primary objective of advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion in medical education and health care. The settlement includes a demonstrable commitment by the School to conduct further examination of its practices relating to diversity, equity, inclusion and implicit bias in medical education and to enhance those practices as well as share learning to positively influence medical education overall. There has not been any court or agency finding as to the merits of Dr. Khoury’s claims or the School’s defenses, as the parties were able to reach a settlement, allowing the parties to move forward with their shared goal of educating the next generation of physicians.

Dr. Khoury wishes to thank all the people who supported her during this challenging time – deans, professors, doctors, students, thousands of social media supporters. Your support was essential.

Going forward, while honoring her agreement with KPSOM, Dr. Khoury will continue to advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in medical education . She will continue to fight implicit bias. And she will continue to share her experience at KPSOM in the hopes that others experiencing similar discrimination will know they are not alone.

SOURCE Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP


MBAStack Releases Its Ranking of the Best HBCU MBA Programs for 2023-2024



HOUSTON, Nov. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — MBAStack, the leader in free online MBA introductory courses, has released its ranking of the Top 10 HBCU MBA Programs in America. 

You can view the HBCU ranking here: https://www.mbastack.org/top-hbcu-mba-programs/

According to Tammie Cagle, the owner and editor-in-chief of MBAStack:

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities play a crucial role in empowering and educating students, particularly in the field of business. HBCU business schools are not just centers of learning; they are beacons of leadership and innovation.

HBCU’s provide a unique blend of cultural heritage and academic excellence, equipping students with the tools and perspectives necessary to succeed in a diverse global marketplace. By nurturing talent and fostering an inclusive environment, these institutions contribute significantly to bridging the economic and leadership gaps in our society.”

To find the top HBCU MBA programs, we collected data on the top colleges and universities in the country. To do this, scores were collected from the Wall Street Journal, Quacquarelli Symonds, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. We then identified the top colleges and universities identified as HBCUs by the National Center for Education Statistics. The ranking order of this list is based on the averaged scores from the four ranking systems. Students can rest assured that every school on this list is a prestigious HBCU institution with a great MBA program.

Schools that made the list of the 10 best HBCU MBA Programs include (in alphabetical order):

– Clark Atlanta University – Atlanta, Georgia

– Florida A & M University School of Business and Industry – Tallahassee, Florida

– Hampton University School of Business – Hampton, Virginia

– Howard University – Washington DC

– Jackson State University – Jackson, Mississippi

– Morgan State University – Baltimore, Maryland

– North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University – Greensboro, North Carolina

– Prairie View A&M University – Prairie View, Texas

– Tennessee State University – Nashville, Tennessee

– Winston-Salem State University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina

MBAStack is an educational company focused on providing free online courses designed to help give students a basic understanding of various MBA specializations.



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Amtrak’s Return to Phoenix: A Promising Step Towards Improved Connectivity

“Amtrak’s return to Phoenix brings hope for improved connectivity and economic growth, linking Arizona’s largest cities by passenger rail. #TransportationRevival”



The Revival of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited Train Line:
Amtrak’s Sunset Limited train line, which currently operates between Los Angeles and New Orleans, plays a vital role in this project. By routing the Sunset Limited through Phoenix, the nation’s largest city without intercity passenger train service, Arizona aims to bridge the gap in its transportation infrastructure. Currently, the train has stops in various states, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. However, it falls short of reaching Phoenix, with Maricopa being the nearest stop, approximately 40 miles to the south. The reintroduction of Amtrak service to Phoenix would mark the revival of a rail connection that was discontinued in 1996.

Benefits for Arizona:
The Phoenix-Tucson passenger rail project holds immense promise for Arizona, both economically and environmentally. Representative Stanton, a strong advocate for this initiative, highlighted the advantages during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing. Connecting the state’s two largest cities by passenger rail would enhance accessibility, productivity, and economic opportunities for the communities along the route. By easing congestion and reducing air pollution caused by traffic on Interstate 10, this rail service would be a sustainable alternative for commuters and travelers.

Economic Opportunities and Regional Development:
As numerous communities across the country have experienced, the introduction of passenger rail brings a wave of new economic opportunities. Arizona, thus far, has been unable to tap into these benefits. However, with the allocation of federal funds and the state’s contribution of $3.5 million, the planning phase for the Phoenix-Tucson rail project is underway. This phase includes developing a comprehensive cost estimate, addressing route logistics, and evaluating the necessary infrastructure enhancements. By investing in this much-needed transportation link, Arizona can unlock the potential for increased tourism, job growth, and business development in the region.

aerial view of downtown Phoenix, Arizona

The allocation of federal funds for reestablishing passenger rail service between Phoenix and Tucson marks a significant milestone in Arizona’s pursuit of improved transportation connectivity. With strong local and state support, the Phoenix-Tucson rail project has the potential to revolutionize mobility within the state. By linking the two largest cities, this initiative will foster economic growth, alleviate traffic congestion, and contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. As the planning phase progresses, Arizona stands poised to embrace the economic opportunities and enhanced quality of life that passenger rail service can bring.

Story in Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynerash/2021/07/28/amtrak-announces-plan-to-begin-passenger-service-between-tucson-phoenix-and-la/?sh=1abacad61793



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Business and Finance




NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — Coqual, a leading global think tank, today released a new white paper with the results of its second annual Black Equity Index (BEI), a benchmarking tool created for companies to drive measurable change, track true progress, and demonstrate their commitment to racial equity in the workplace.

New Black Equity Index logo

Coqual finds most (86%) companies that participated in the BEI are concerned about the outcome of the US Supreme Court Affirmative Action case, and its implications for workplaces. Compared with last year, companies’ involvement in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion conversation is diminishing from the public eye—with its risk of public and legal scrutiny—and some are shrinking their investment in DE&I teams.

“Despite the recent attacks on DE&I initiatives nationwide, companies have maintained ongoing efforts to improve equity in the workplace,” said Coqual CEO Lanaya Irvin. “Participating companies are committed to driving racial equity, transparency, and are dedicated to making meaningful strides in the workplace.” 

Established in 2022, the BEI harnesses the power of data to create opportunity for Black professionals and measures an organization’s efforts in six domains: accountability, advancement, representation, investment, sustainability, and public engagement. Informed by Coqual’s decades of research and DE&I expertise, the white paper presents actions within each domain that companies can take in the complex pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

More than 40 companies participated in Coqual’s second annual BEI survey, representing a diverse group of the corporate sector — both small and large public and private companies from industries such as healthcare, tech, banking, and retail. The number of participating companies nearly doubled from the BEI’s inaugural year, indicating that corporate America is working hard to improve their DE&I efforts.


Representation: Building Black representation at every level of an organization is critical to moving DE&I efforts forward. Representation continues to lag and ranks as one of two BEI domains most in need of improvement.

  • Fewer than 2 in 5 BEI participating companies have 10% or greater Black representation in their workforce.
  • Only 7% of people managers—and only 3% of executives—are Black.
  • Black professionals are more likely to be represented in HR and support functions. On average, 13% of support professionals and 12% of HR employees are Black.
  • Half of BEI participating companies have surpassed 10% Black representation at the Board of Directors’ level. Yet one in eight companies (13%) still do not have a single Black board member.

Accountability: Companies must hold their leaders accountable for the state of DE&I as they do for other business priorities. Transparency is transformative—and Coqual finds opportunities within the accountability domain for companies to be more vocal about the great equity work they are already undertaking.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (67%) participating companies include a DE&I-related focus in C-suite performance evaluations.
  • Fewer companies (58%) hold leaders to this level of accountability by considering workforce diversity in performance evaluations.
  • Even fewer still (44%) tie C-suite pay to progress on diversity metrics.

Investment: Companies must back their commitments with tangible resources. Deepening and sustaining investment in DE&I is integral to rooting out inequity and ensuring that inclusion is a top priority throughout the organization.

  • Nearly all respondents (81%) have an organization-wide DE&I task force, council, or working group that is separate from their DE&I team.
  • Of companies that provide anti-bias training, 5 out of 10 companies (55%) make it mandatory for senior leaders.

The full findings for the report can be found here.

Coqual’s 2023 BEI results indicate great progress, as well as great opportunity for increased investment. This is not the time to slow down. Coqual suggests the following data-based actions for leaders to use moving forward. As always, Coqual’s corporate guidance is backed by decades of intersectional, deep-dive research and advisory work and thought leadership on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Recommendations include:

  • Study and champion sponsorship. Get clear on the critical distinctions between mentorship and sponsorship, and work towards building a culture of sponsorship. Sponsorship programs should be monitored for effectiveness and refined accordingly.
  • Recruit from the top down. Pay attention to your board, your executives, your people managers, and other key positions of power within your organization. If Black professionals are concentrated at entry level, and siloed in certain positions, the work is not done.
  • Disaggregate, always. While overall representation numbers may seem positive, Black professionals may be overconcentrated in certain roles and lack access to others, as our BEI results show. Companies should aspire to reflect the regions in which they operate, and in certain parts of the country, Black representation far exceeds 14%.
  • Get high-tech. BEI companies share that they are tapping into technology to help make their recruitment and hiring processes more equitable. Leverage the growing body of technology built to help the mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion—but of course, vet it critically and thoroughly.
  • Connect with Black youth. In addition to college recruitment, invest in and improve representation long-term by partnering with schools, and grassroots and nonprofit programs that serve Black youth.

Companies can sign on to learn more and participate by emailing [email protected] 

Methodology: The 2023 Black Equity Index is an annual survey that captures information on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts focused on Black professionals. This computer-assisted survey was fielded online between February and May of 2023. A total of 43 companies submitted completed forms. All information was provided by representatives from respective companies and relied on voluntary, self-report data. Activities associated with instrumentation, fielding, and analysis were conducted by Coqual, an independent, nonprofit research organization. Additionally, each company that submitted a completed interview received an individual company scorecard documenting their standing across each of the six BEI domains. Weighted calculations of domain totals were applied for a maximum index score of 180. Response items that were left blank were treated as missing or non-applicable. The findings presented here are descriptive in nature and do not attempt to make any inferences about the programming impact of participating companies, or their related outcomes.

About Coqual: Coqual (formerly Center for Talent Innovation) is a leading global, nonprofit think tank dedicated to helping leaders design diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces where every person belongs. Founded in 2004, Coqual provides in-depth research, thought leadership, and data-driven, actionable solutions for companies to address bias and barriers to inclusion for underrepresented populations in the workplace. Coqual’s cutting-edge research and Advisory Services focus on gender, race, ethnicity, disability, veteran status and LGBTQ identities, and others—as well as the intersections among these groups. For more information, visit www.coqual.org.


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