The Office for Diversity and Inclusion is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence through a commitment to diversity in education, research and patient care. About Us.

Light jazz music riffed in the background at the UAB Alumni House as prospective medical residents and current UAB School of Medicine faculty moved through the large ballroom on the evening of February 2. The annual Minority Faculty Reception, held to recognize the crucial contributions of minority faculty at the UAB School of Medicine, was underway at the same time that many departments within the school welcomed back prospective residents for a "second look." 25 medical students considering IMG 0144residencies in 10 School of Medicine departments chatted easily with faculty members while enjoying a buffet. 

February 2-3, 2017 marked an eventful week's end for the School of Medicine's Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). In addition to the Minority Faculty Reception, on the evening of February 2, the ODI was sponsoring Diversity Grand Rounds, featuring John Ruffin, Ph.D., at noon on February 3, followed by the launch of the School of Medicine's first annual Diversity Fair. 

As Selwyn Vickers, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine, pointed out at the Minority Faculty reception, these events served as a crucial reminder of the importance of diversity in fulfilling the mission of UAB School of Medicine. "Diversity and inclusion are what allow us to seek excellence," he told the assembled faculty and students. "We believe in bringing together varying experiences and backgrounds, not only to serve patients, but to pursue excellence."

These sentiments were echoed by Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion for the School of Medicine. "Diversity isn't just something we talk about," she said. "We are really committed to it; we believe in it." 

IMG 0127John Ruffin, Ph.D., delved into the topic in more depth in his lecture at Diversity Grand Rounds the following day. "Diversity and inclusion are terms that we hear commonly today in our society," he said, "but if you pay close attention, you will realize that not everyone has the same definition of diversity and inclusion."  He stated that often individuals and institutions pay lip service to concepts of inclusivity, without fully attempting to understand its meaning or implications. "Some people look only at race," he said. "Baby Boomers tend to think in terms of equity; Millenials tend to refer to cognitive diversity."

Defining inclusivity in broad terms, and striving to enhance diversity requires clarity of thought and purpose, Ruffin explained. "Diversity is the overarching goal, and inclusion is the tool by which the organization operationalizes that goal."

He also cautioned that disregarding and failing to embrace diversity and inclusion results not only in the stifling of innovation, but functions as a signal of injustice. "It's a challenge to know how to accept, and how to respect," he said. "This must be incorporated into the institutional culture. We must be certain that no person is left behind."

"Diversity and inclusion are about many things, but most of all, they're about excellence."

Selwyn Vickers, M.D.
Senior Vice President for Medicine
Dean, School of Medicine
"Promoting diversity is universally good for everyone. It's about all of us."

Lauren Walter, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
"The emphasis on diversity at UAB positions us to be a true leader and will enhance our abilities as care providers, educators and researchers."

Herbert Chen, M.D.
Chair, Department of Surgery
Promoting diversity is universally good for everyone. It's about all of us. See how.