An Evening with Maya Angelou
MHRC Gala Features Literary Icon
Acclaimed author Maya Angelou captivated a sellout crowd at the fifth UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) gala, presented by BBVA Compass, on September 25, 2009, in the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. Angelou eloquently expressed the evening’s theme—a renewed commitment to eliminating health disparities among minorities and the poor—through song, poetry, and stories of her childhood.
Angelou has written 12 best-selling books and numerous magazine articles, for which she has received multiple Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominations. Her most recent work, Letter to My Daughter, won the 2008 NAACP Image Award for outstanding literary work in the nonfiction category.
NBA Hall of Fame star Charles Barkley was the honorary gala chair. His colleague at Turner Sports Network’s Inside the NBA, Ernie Johnson Jr., co-emceed the gala with Linda Mays of ABC 33/40. Among the nearly 700 guests was newly appointed U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, a School of Medicine at UAB alumna.
On presenting the annual Charles Barkley Health Disparities Research Awards to three UAB faculty, Barkley retold the story of how he became involved with the MHRC. His initial interest in promoting health care grew into a movement promoting better health for all and an annual event that has raised $1.3 million over five years for that cause.
“The MHRC is translating scientific discoveries into service for those who need it most,” says Mona Fouad, M.D., M.P.H., director of the MHRC. “We have reached thousands of people in urban and rural communities, conducting health screenings, establishing walking teams, and going into schools with nutrition and physical activity programs for underserved children.” Funds raised also are invested in training junior faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate minority students to build a pipeline of scientists, physicians, and health professionals who will work to eliminate health disparities. “Many of these young men and women are reaching their dreams of attending medical, dental, or nursing school,” Fouad adds.
Maintaining the Momentum / Winter/Spring 2010