University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Victoria Gardner bio

Victoria Gardner bio


Maria Victoria Arceo Dequina Gardner, EdD, MEd, is an anti-racist educator and community organizer with 27 years plus experience in higher education from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Dr. Gardner led the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the UW School of Medicine (UWSOM) using an anti-racist framework and held an adjunct appointment in the Department of Family Medicine, where she designed and taught courses on health disparities with the patient’s voice in mind.  These courses led to the development of several health pathways that continue to provide focused training on how best to serve and empower underserved communities.

She is the first and still the only person in her family to receive an advanced degree.  In 2009, she received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the UW and her Masters in Educational Communications in 1985.

During her stint as OMCA Director, she became adviser for several new student organizations, including the Student National Medical Association and the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students.  She helped grow the number of student organizations from zero to eight affinity groups, which all remain active today.  Through mentoring and collaboration, Dr. Gardner rose to the challenge of increasing medical student and faculty diversity through tracking, cohort development, and professional development and training.  Of the 3,000 young people she has worked with in summer programs, over 1,000 are now practicing physicians or currently in medical or dental school.  Her track record and approach to collaboration resulted in several nominations by colleagues for the UW Distinguished Service Award for staff and faculty.

Dr. Gardner recently served as an Adviser for the Pride Foundation’s TransForm WA campaign to educate voters on the rights and resiliencies of trans* identified and gender diverse people.  She is also a trainer for Non-Violent Direct Action in collaboration with  As a community member and artist she has been involved with Beacon Arts to reclaim unused warehouse space as an exhibit hall and work space for local artists.  She has collaborated on community-designed art such as the Growing Pains project to show how residents feel about gentrification and the ongoing displacement of communities of color from Beacon Hill.

Dr. Gardner is a US Passport-bearing citizen who was born and raised in the Philippines, survived martial law and immigrated to the US immediately after college.  She was married to Matthew for 25 years before he walked on in 2008 due to liver cancer.  They have three adult children.  She travels to the Philippines each year to visit her family, including a sister who was deported in 2005 by the US Government.  Dr. Gardner is a strong advocate for immigration reform and cessation of all deportations.  Dr. Gardner, who goes by she and they pronouns, is pansexual and is an active member of the Northwest Two Spirit Society. 

Dr. Gardner speaks English, Tagalog, some Spanish and Visayan, her mother’s indigenous language.  She writes in baybayin, her indigenous calligraphy script, and educates other Filipinos about precolonial Philippine culture and gender roles.  She is an immigrant on the path of decolonization and lifelong learning.  She enjoys travel, photography, mixed media collage, sewing and making jewelry in her spare time.