Parent Page: About id: 21458 Active Page: Who We Areid:25708


The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine (OUCOM) is committed to advancing diversity at all levels. OUCOM recognizes that the inclusion of talented individuals from different backgrounds benefits medical education, patient care, population health, and scientific discovery. The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (ODICE) was created by the Office of the Dean to further enhance its commitment to recruiting and retaining a diverse student body.

The office works closely with the University of Oklahoma, as well as the Health Science Center Office of Diversity & Inclusion to enhance and preserve diversity and inclusion within the HSC campus and to continue to cultivate meaningful relationships with the surrounding community through outreach initiatives.

 ODICE will routinely engage in ongoing, systematic, and focused recruitment and retention activities to achieve our mission focused outcomes among students.

OU College of Medicine Diversity Staff



Robert C. Salinas, MD 

Assistant Dean of Diversity College of Medicine

Roberto C. Salinas, MD is an Associate Professor at the University Of Oklahoma College Of Medicine and holds an appointment in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Being the son of parents who were migrant farmworkers and the first in his family to graduate from college, continuous self-development and service to others help define Dr. Salinas’ approach to academic life. Dr. Salinas is board certified in family medicine and holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications in geriatric medicine as well as hospice and palliative medicine. Dr. Salinas is a graduate of the University of California Irvine and the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. Dr. Salinas completed his residency training in family medicine at the University of Oklahoma where he served as chief resident before completing a fellowship in geriatric medicine. Dr. Salinas is also a graduate of the Stanford University School of Medicine Faculty Development program and the Harvard Medical School Faculty Scholars Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice. Dr. Salinas has also taken graduate-level coursework at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and earned a certificate in Patient Safety from the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. He serves as Director of Community Medicine for the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine where he teaches a curriculum that introduces medical learners to community-based health services. This program is aimed at improving health status and reducing health care disparities. Dr. Salinas is also the founding Medical Director of the OU Medicine program in Palliative Care that now includes both an adult and pediatric hospital-based consultative service. He also serves as Assistant Dean for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement. Dr. Salinas has been recognized for his contributions to medical education and has received numerous teaching awards.

Maria Mendez

Maria F. Mendez, Ph.D.

K-20 STEM Outreach Coordinator

Maria F. Mendez, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Research and the Director of the Community Outreach Program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She earned her doctorate degree in Biochemistry from OUHSC, where her research focused on the metabolic link between diabetes and heart disease. During her graduate career, Dr. Mendez was named a National Science Foundation Fellow, and she began the first science policy nonprofit organization in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Policy Engagement Network. Dr. Mendez is passionate for community outreach and science communication, and has received multiple civic engagement grants to fund a variety of community outreach events in OKC.

Untitled design (15)638007470022671647


Cassandra Henion

Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator

Cassandra Henion earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Johnson & Wales University of Denver.  As a student, Cassandra had the opportunity to participate in the university’s community education and outreach academy.  The program allowed her to attend educational seminars on social responsibility and partner with local nonprofit organizations that supported underserved populations.  Cassandra also had the opportunity to sit on the board of a Denver-based non-profit that focuses on providing at-risk youth with experimental learning in outdoor settings.  Upon graduation, Cassandra started her career as recruiter, allowing her to implement equitable interviewing and hiring practices within multiple organizations.  During this time, she was also involved in employee engagement, retention, and training initiatives, promoting an inclusive culture for all employees.  Today, Cassandra serves as a Coordinator for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement for the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.  She is responsible for outreach and recruitment efforts and is eager to join the university’s goal to cultivate an environment of equality and inclusion for all.


Untitled design (14)638007470836423111


Shelby Hill
Administrative Coordinator
Shelby Hill earned her Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Religious History and African+African American Studies and a minor in Spanish from the University of Oklahoma. These academic programs allowed a young woman from a rural, low-socioeconomic background to see the importance of global culture and develop a passion for social justice causes.
She began her higher education career at the OU College of Education and later moved to OU School of Meteorology, where she served as the Coordinator of Undergraduate programs, working to ensure that all students felt wanted, welcomed, and prepared for, given their intersectional identities involving race, gender, sexuality, religion, age, and disability.
In the College of Medicine, Shelby serves as the Administrative Coordinator for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, working with Dr. Robert Salinas and team to recruit and retain a diverse student body and to train faculty, staff, and residents to work collaboratively to address health disparities.
Outside of the office, Shelby enjoys volunteering through her religious organization and running a food blog.