Bastyr University Welcomes DEI Leader Dr. Erika Lorenzana Del Villar

Dr. Erika Lorenzana Del Villar headshot in front of trees

Dr. Erika Lorenzana Del Villar joins the leadership cabinet at Bastyr University as Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).   

Most recently, Dr. Del Villar served as both the Director of Engagement and Belonging and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practitioner at Forest Ridge School in Bellevue, WA. During her time with Forest Ridge, Dr. Del Villar developed professional development/education programs for faculty, staff, and administration, and also designed and taught courses called "Race and Religion in America," "Ethics, Social Justice and World Religions," and "Ethics in International Relations," to high school students.  

Dr. Del Villar earned both her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut. During her time there, she researched issues related to human rights, political violence and terrorism, political participation, and the link between a climate (milieu) of inclusion and learning success in institutions of higher education. Dr. Del Villar also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in French studies from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.  

As part of Bastyr University’s leadership cabinet, Dr. Del Villar will assist Bastyr University in the following initiatives:  

  • Develop and implement a strategic plan to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.  
  • Oversee the Bastyr University Center for Social Justice and Diversity. 
  • Help bridge economic divides and decrease food insecurity through creating partnerships with local businesses and institutions.  
  • Play an integral role in achieving goals related to the Bastyr Community Initiative (BCI).  
  • Mentor and train academic leadership, faculty, and administrative staff with the objective of advancing topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the University’s curriculum.  
  • Assist individuals through the grievance process to address specific issues or incidents. 

“Bastyr University is committed to building an inclusive and engaged community that values social justice,” said Bastyr University President Dr. Devin Byrd. “It’s our mission to transform the health and well-being of the human community, and this cannot be achieved without attracting and retaining students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Del Villar’s vision supports our shared ideals for Bastyr graduates who are culturally sensitive and inclusive health care practitioners.” 

Bastyr University is a nonprofit, private university offering doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degrees, with a multidisciplinary curriculum in science-based natural medicine. Recognized globally for its rigorous curriculum and strong research, Bastyr University has campuses in Kenmore, Washington, and San Diego, California. Bastyr's international faculty educate future leaders in the natural health arts and sciences, with an emphasis on integrating mind, body, spirit and nature.  For more information, please visit: