Dr. Kamal Khan is the Director of The Office for Diversity and Academic Success in the Sciences (ODASIS)—an academic support unit within the Division of Life Sciences at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey on the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus—as well as an Associate Professor for the Department of Africana Studies and the Division of Life Sciences at Rutgers University. For over 30 years, Dr. Khan has dedicated his professional career to undergraduate instruction and academic development in efforts to increase and retain the number of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students at Rutgers who pursue majors and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Since Dr. Khan’s arrival at Rutgers, he has worked tirelessly to expand the university’s graduate pool of professionals and strengthen the country’s workforce by increasing the number of physicians, nurses, dentists, engineers, and mathematicians serving and diversifying the field.
Under the direction of Dr. Khan, the ODASIS program serves over 1000 students per year, an increase of over 85% since before he took leadership of the program. Dr. Khan’s mentorship guides students from underrepresented populations into the STEM professions by fostering opportunities for his students to excel academically and encouraging their undergraduate success. He has developed and implemented a special recitation course in Biology and Chemistry for academic credit, sponsored by the Division of Life Sciences, and coordinates academic support in the areas of pre-calculus, calculus, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, systems physiology, statistics, and other upper-level science and mathematics courses. The objective of the program is to provide a strong academic foundation for students to not only finish their undergraduate degree, but to pursue either medical or graduate and professional schools. The efficacy of the program is furthered demonstrated by its receipt of a direct state grant from 1994 to present.
As Director of ODASIS, Dr. Khan coordinates MCAT, DAT, and GRE courses for ACCESS-MED, and has been integral in the development of new GRE courses. ACCESS-MED is a program offered by Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for undergraduate students that provides academic enrichment and support for groups who are currently underrepresented in medicine. Dr. Khan has also implemented several enrichment programs for high school students and incoming first-year students in order to expand the breadth of ODASIS and the reach of Rutgers, such as the Saturday Scholars Program, Rutgers 12th Grade English Program for college credit, and the Johnson and Johnson High School Program, which includes the High School Saturday Math and English Enrichment Program. In the last four years every student was admitted to a 4-year university.
For his remarkable commitment to undergraduate education and, most importantly, his extraordinary impact on undergraduate students, Dr. Khan has received the President’s Award for Excellence in Administration, the Award for Excellence in Retention, the Rutgers Award for Programmatic Excellence in Undergraduate Education and the New Jersey Medical School Award of Recognition. Among his most recent awards are the Human Dignity Award, Award for Leadership in Diversity, Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education, and the 3 Doctors Foundation Award, all of which were presented to him for his tireless work in creating an entire wing of undergraduate and professional opportunities for his students. The Rutgers-NJMS chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association granted him an award in recognition of his work in 2016. Most recently, Dr. Khan was the recipient this year of the 2018 Clement A. Price Human Dignity Award at Rutgers University.
Dr. Khan shares his experiences and successful program implementation strategies at various conferences such as the National Technical Association Conference, the Tri-State EOF Consortium in Philadelphia, the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund Conference, the Commission on Higher Education, the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee, the American Association of Medical Colleges, Diversity Inc., and the New York Board of Higher Education. He is also a presenter and speaker at New Brunswick Health and Science High School, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Jersey Medical School, the forum for the Superintendent and Principals of New Brunswick Public Schools, New York University Medical School and Rutgers University’s Citizenship and Service Education Program Faculty. Recently, he was approved to join the Adjunct Faculty Supervising Theses/Dissertations in the Graduate Faculty of the College of Graduate Studies at Central Michigan University and became a member of the Rutgers University Service Learning Planning Committee for Citizenship and Service Education (CASE). He also served as a panel member at the UPCEA Mid-Atlantic Region Conference where he also gave a presentation on Increasing Diversity in Health Care.
Most recently, Dr.Khan presented at Western Michigan University on cultivating diversity through an undergraduate pipeline. Dr. Khan was the keynote speaker at the Cedar Hill Preparatory School in Franklin, NJ. He also serves as a member of the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network, which is overseen by the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith-Ellis, as well as specifically as a member of the Equity Action Group (a sub-committee of the network). He also serves as a member of the planning committee and URM Partnerships sub-committee for the National STEM Summit at Rutgers University, which is overseen by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. He participated as a member in the Rutgers National Conference, “Framing the Value of Diversity & Inclusion in Higher Education: Setting the Research Agenda.”
Dr. Khan has also secured funding through several grants for ODASIS- these include Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Diversity Inc., African American Fund of New Jersey, the Robert Wood Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Merck Foundation, Novartis, and the Healthcare Foundation.
Dr. Kamal Khan brings to his position a professional degree in medicine. His excellence as an administrator is based in his dedication to student advancement in the sciences and his commitment to demonstrate the effectiveness of support programs for underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged students. Dr. Khan believes that, “in order to motivate a student you need to build a rapport with the student that consists of trust, relationship and confidence.” A Rutgers alumnus himself, he is known for his “tough love” for the students, which is exactly the kind of attitude that encourages students to go on to professional health education. With his support, in 2020-2021, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) ranked Rutgers University #6 out of 97 schools in number of African-American applicants to medical schools and #29 out of 118 schools in number of Hispanic/Latino applicants to medical schools. With success stories like these, Dr. Khan understands that students enter college with different academic abilities and pressures, but he believes that every student has the ability to succeed given the right guidance, direction and academic support.