The mission for the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs is to educate the next generation of physicians to be culturally and socially sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of fellow students, faculty, staff, and patients. By doing so, we believe that we will contribute to the elimination of health inequities locally and globally. To accomplish our mission, we recognize that diversity, social change, and equity must be addressed at multiple, interconnected levels. Therefore, we strive to strengthen and empower our faculty, staff, and students to develop and use their knowledge to serve and heal the world around them. 


youngCarlton Young, MD
Dr. Carlton Young serves as the Assistant Dean for Medical Student Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM), a step in UAB's ongoing commitment to combat health disparities by educating a health care workforce that meets the needs of a diverse state and nation. As part of the Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, Young is responsible for developing partnerships with undergraduate students and programs to help those students be more competitive in applying to medical school. He has been and continues to serve as a professor in the Department of Surgery since 1997, director of the pancreas transplant program and director of pediatric renal transplantation. His research focuses on health disparities in transplantation, primarily in African Americans, an interest he says will dovetail well with his current responsibilities.

marquita hicksMarquita Hicks, MD
Dr. Marquita Hicks is an Associate Professor for the UAB Department of Emergency Medicine and serves as the Director of Community Engagement in the Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs. She was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and completed her undergraduate education at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. She attended medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, in Kansas City, KS. She completed her internship at Howard University, in Washington, D.C., and residency training at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, MI. Dr. Hicks' professional and community interests include communication skills, diversity education and healthcare disparities. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and young son.


jenna blythe tjia copyJennifer (Jenna) Blythe-Tjia, M.Ed.
Jenna Blythe-Tjia holds the role of Program Manager II for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She is responsible for bringing underrepresented student populations to UAB School of Medicine. While building cooperative partnerships with HBCUs throughout Alabama and the Southeast, she helps to provide pipeline programs that foster a robust URiM student interest in medicine and research. Jenna’s core intent is to enhance outreach, education, and resourceful services for underrepresented student populations so they can best become tomorrow's healthcare leaders. Jenna, along with UAB School of Medicine and other health career professional schools participate in a variety of recruitment visits, presentations, and on-campus tours for students considering medical school.

Prior to joining the ODI Team, Jenna served eleven years in various Talent Acquisition roles for UAB Human Resources and others. “I have always had a genuine interest for workplace inclusion and bringing underrepresentation to the forefront. Being able to advocate for students while serving diverse and underrepresented student populations, is work I find meaningful and needed.” Jenna stems these passions from having grown up in what nationally is ranked as the poorest town in her home state of Washington, where she lived on a Native American Indian Reservation, raised by a Caucasian family, and where agriculture and Hispanic and Latino populations still flourish today. She loved being immersed in bilingual classrooms and carries the fond memories of having grown up in such a diverse and extremely rural community. Although she’s a Washington State native, where she earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education, she has lived and worked for The University of Florida in Gainesville and The City of Fort Worth in Texas, prior to moving to Birmingham, AL where she proudly wears her green and gold. Jenna currently resides in Highland Park with her husband and two dogs.


carolyn maddoxCarolyn Maddox
Carolyn serves as administrative support for the faculty and staff of ODI. She brings 20+ years of administrative experience to this new role. Her primary responsibilities in fulfilling the overall mission of the ODI will be to assist the Program Managers and Faculty with coordinating specialty programs designed to complement the existing multi-cultural inclusion and awareness efforts of the School of Medicine. She works closely with Drs. Marquita Hicks and Carlton Young to grow medical student collaborations and to promote the exchange of knowledge and to create relationships with medical/health profession students across diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ODI serves that purpose by developing and coordinating summer enrichment programs for UAB students, as well as for visiting medical students and other health professions students who wish to participate in clinical or research electives. Carolyn has previously worked as Administrative Associate for the UAB Department of Surgery as well as the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology. Outside of loving her day job, Carolyn enjoys spending quality time caring for her family, volunteering for Breast Cancer and Pancreatic Cancer fundraisers and events, supporting the efforts of Patient Advocates and working in various ministries with her church.