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Office of Racial Equity & Social Unity

Vital Voices Podcast

About the podcast

Vital Voices is a podcast from Corning Incorporated that explores innovative ways companies can be a force for good in our communities. Join co-hosts Dr. Millicent Ruffin, director of Corning's Office of Racial Equality and Social Unity, Community Affairs, and Sissy Siero, founder and CEO of Siero Media, this season as they explore how Corning partners with community leaders to realize our vision of facilitating equity and access in educational pursuits, in employment opportunity and in physical and mental safety for groups who have been institutionally disadvantaged at work and in society.


Season 2

Dec 13, 2023

Longtime Corning employee Leon Washington was the picture of health -- until the avid mountain biker was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.  When diagnosed early, colorectal cancer is treatable. Unfortunately, by the time people start to experience symptoms they are typically in the later stages of the disease. Sadly, colorectal cancer has for decades disproportionally affected the Black community – particularly Black men – in both incidence and mortality. We’ll hear from those who have been personally affected by the disease, including a researcher whose aim is to spread awareness of early testing.

Nov 29, 2023

Episode 4: The Science Behind Health Equity

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is more than just a renowned leader in cancer treatment and research, it has also made a commitment to advance health equity. Three doctors from MSK give us insight into how they are working to eliminate health disparities among people of color. 

Nov 15, 2023

Episode 3: Serving the Community, One Smile at a Time

Heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S., can have a surprising cause – gum disease. In this episode, we continue the discussion around the importance of dental care and hear how Corning is partnering with the county and health organization to address the crucial need for dental care in Western New York.

1 Nov, 2023

Episode 2: The Case for Addressing Health Equity

Health equity, or the lack thereof, affects more than the patients who aren’t able to receive quality health care; there’s also a hefty economic impact. An epidemiologist digs into the impact of the U.S.’s health equity issues, including the disparities surrounding dental care; leading to a personal story of just how critical dental care and representation can be.

18 Oct, 2023

Episode 1: Race and Health Disparities: A Matter of Life and Death

When Dr. Angela Anderson went to the hospital in pain, she expected to leave knowing what was wrong – and how to fix it. What she encountered instead was racial bias so serious, and potentially dangerous, that it made the DEI executive an advocate for healthcare equity.


Season 1

Dec 21, 2022

Episode 5: Corning Scholars at Freedom School

Corning Scholars have finished teaching their first Freedom School on the campus of North Carolina A&T University. Hear from some of the Corning Scholars about their experiences, learn about the unique educational approach at Freedom Schools, and find out what NC A&T’s Dean of Education is doing to bring more Black students into teaching – and why “pipeline” is a misnomer.​

36 min

Dec 21, 2022

Episode 4: North Carolina's Black Educator Pipeline

High school student Joshua Webb has never had a teacher who looks like him. Hear how one North Carolina school district’s grow-your-own teacher program is bringing talented students back to the district as teachers – and how Corning is helping them do it.

32 min

Nov 29, 2022

Episode 3: On the Ground in New York

In this episode, we continue the discussion around DE&I in the classroom and hear from three educators in Elmira, New York on their firsthand experience learning about and implementing DE&I initiatives. Additional resources: Read more about New York state's culturally responsive sustaining-education framework BetterLesson professional development for teachers Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think and Do White Fragility: Why it's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

23 min

Nov 22, 2022

Episode 2: Advancing Equity in Schools

Meet Jarvis Marlow-McCowin and Debbie Fishbeck – ORESU’s DEI education coordinators whose ultimate idea of job success is when the schools they currently serve no longer need them. Additional resources: What is culturally responsive teaching? via EdWeek The Windows and Mirrors of your Child's Bookshelf a Ted Talk by Grace Lin.

34 min

Nov 14, 2022

Episode 1: The Office of Racial Equality and Social Unity

Corning Incorporated has long been known for its long history of technological innovation. In 2020, they took that same spirit – along with their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion – outside the company’s walls. Vital Voices highlights how the company is embedding itself in the community to highlight the innovative ways corporations can be a force for good.

14 min