This is unpublished
Leila Armas
May 7, 2024

Staff Spotlight: Leila Armas-Valencia

Leila is a program operations specialist and the fellowship administrator for sleep medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. She also recently became a Department of Medicine Bias Navigator.
Scroll for more
arrow icon
Back to top

Life at UW

Within the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Leila supports the division faculty and fellows with everything from on-site onboarding to managing rotation schedules and educational conferences. As the sleep medicine fellowship administrator, she is the point of contact for the nationwide candidates who apply to the program each year, and once onboard, she helps guide fellows throughout their one-year program.

Leila particularly enjoys the diverse and passionate people that make up the UW.

“I’ve encountered people who have challenged my previous way of thinking, people who make me want to work harder and become a better person, and people who remind me of the goodness that this world is capable of,” she said.

“UW has such a diverse population of individuals who come from all over the world. What better way to learn about this world than by the people themselves? Being the child of immigrants, the importance of diversity and inclusion was engrained in me.”

Sharing support

Leila discovered the Bias Navigator Program when she reached out to a colleague, Shinetra Pryor, for support. Shinetra let Leila know that she was a Bias Navigator. The conversation between the two helped to alleviate Leila’s self-doubt and concerns about the situation. Shinetra was a listening ear for Leila’s experience and ultimately explained Leila’s options for how to proceed and what she might expect. Having shared her experience and learning her options, Leila left the conversation feeling validated and empowered.

“The one resounding theme that I hear from a lot of people is that they just want to be heard,” Leila said.

“They don't necessarily want everyone to hear their story. They just want to share it with someone to know that they're not overreacting, that their feelings are valid, that they're not alone, that there are other people also experiencing the same things. And sometimes it's just therapeutic to know that there's someone else feeling that, too. You're not alone."

Inspired by the support she received, she decided to become a Bias Navigator herself. Leila hopes to provide the same support she received to others who experience bias incidents in the workplace. 

“I think [the program] is a great resource because it’s sort of that middle step between the incident happening and having a formal investigation. What I think a lot of people don't even realize is that there is something in between those two areas."

Leila credits her role as a Bias Navigator as her way of helping learn more about one another and celebrate diversity.