Bakitas named MHRC Barkley Excellence in Mentoring Award winner
The $500 award, named in honor of the former Auburn University and NBA star, was presented at the 11th Annual UAB Health Disparities Research Symposium.
Bakitas, the School’s Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair, was nominated by Postdoctoral Fellow and mentee J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN, and was chosen the winner of the Excellence in Mentoring Award: for Post Doctoral or Junior Faculty. In his nomination, Dionne-Odom detailed how Bakitas has served as a coach, challenger, connector and cheerleader for more than 50 nursing and inter-professional pre- and postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty since 1987.
He further noted that Bakitas has formally mentored five junior faculty from three universities, four international junior faculty, seven palliative care fellows, five psycho-oncology post-doctoral fellows, nine pre-doctoral students from four universities and 17 National Cancer Institute R25 Cancer Research Scholars, many who have gone on to become National Institutes of Health-funded independent investigators.
“She is an elite and internationally recognized clinical researcher and intellectual leader in palliative care for rural underserved populations and the most brilliant, inspiring and dedicated mentor with him I have had the privilege of working,” Dionne-Odom said. “As her mentee for the past five years, I have personally experienced and witnessed her efforts to pave the way for a new generation of palliative care disparities researchers.”
Bakitas, the associate director of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, was thrilled by Dionne-Odom’s nomination, his glowing words and the honor itself.
“Being a mentor to someone as skilled and as hard-working as Nick is easy and a joy,” Bakitas said. “Mentoring the next generation of scientists is my most important job. While the role is equal parts teacher, parent, best friend, counselor and critic, the most important mentoring skill is listening.”
Bakitas is the third recipient from the UAB School of Nursing honored with an MHRC Barkley Excellence in Mentoring Award, joining Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN, who was selected in 2010 and Professor and Associate Dean for Research Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, who was selected in 2009.