News & Events

  • Dr. Mona Fouad Inducted into the National Academy of Medicine

    Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Founding Director of the Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center and Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the UAB School of Medicine, was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine on October 13, 2018. Fouad’s husband, Fouad Fouad, their two daughters, and Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine, attended the induction ceremony. 

    This exceptional honor, which is considered one of the highest attainable in the fields of health and medicine, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Only 70 national members and 10 international membersScreen Shot 2019 01 08 at 2.04.05 PM are elected each year. 

    Fouad was the first person elected to the National Academy of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in two decades. Her wide-ranging and extensive career in medicine and research boasts local, regional, national, and international achievements. A nationally recognized expert in health disparities research, she was one of the scientists who established health disparities as a valid field of scientific study. Not only did Fouad serve two terms as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities, she was among the experts tapped to assist in the establishment of the health disparities initiatives for the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities. Her work as the founding director of the Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) at UAB has given her the opportunity to impact the way health disparities research and interventions are conducted not only in the United States, but around the globe. 

  • Women Faculty Celebrated at November Promotion Event

    Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, dean of the School of Medicine, welcomed faculty members and their families to the Women in Medicine and Science Promotion Reception on Nov. 15 in the Partridge Atrium of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. The faculty and their families gathered to celebrate the promotion of eight women faculty members to the rank of professor and 19 women faculty members to the rank of associate professor. Vickers lauded the accomplishments of the women present and recognized the importance of their work.

    Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, senior associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion, also addressed the attendees, their colleagues and their families. “In achieving your personal professional goals, you are helping create an organizational climate that fosters the growth of other women,” said Fouad. She referenced Nobel Laureate Gertrude Belle 3n5a6502 32208134848 oElion, who helped develop drugs to treat many major diseases, including cancer, malaria and AIDS. Fouad quoted Elion saying, “Don’t be afraid of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Don’t let others discourage you to tell you that you can’t do it. In my day I was told women don’t go into chemistry. I saw no reason why we couldn’t.”

  • Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs Update

    The Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs (ODI SA) has had a full autumn. Currently celebrating Hispanic Heritage month, ODI SA has partnered with the UAB School of Medicine chapter of the Latino Medical Association (LMSA) to showcase and celebrate Hispanic and Latino medical students, staff and faculty. Screen Shot 2018 09 21 at 1.36.19 PM

                The Student Advisory Board launched a lunchtime series of “Difficult Dialogues Lunch and Learn,” intended to spur discussion and engagement on pressing matters in the practice of medicine. The first speaker was Dr. Kari White, an Associate Professor of Public Health Care Organization and Policy, who spoke on “Healthcare and Immigration: the intersection of National and state policies in Alabama.” This inaugural speech took place on September 18.

                The Diversity Ambassadors Program is also underway. The purpose of the Diversity Ambassadors is to work in partnership with Admissions and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs to help promote UAB School of Medicine and its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and the ongoing spirit of community. Diversity Ambassadors are drawn from the pool of current medical students.

                For information on current and future activities for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs, email Jenna Blythe-Tjia at or Carolyn Maddox at

  • UAB AMWA Chapter Kicks Off the Academic Year

    The UAB Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) kicked off in August with an inaugural business meeting on August 28. Now in its third year of operations, AMWA will offer a series of lunch lectures and panel discussions every other month, beginning on Tuesday, October 9. 

    AMWA membership is open to women faculty, students, and trainees at UAB School of Medicine. The intention of AMWA is to provide resources, support, and networking opportunities to women pursuing careers in academic medicine, although men are welcome to join as well. 

    This academic year will also mark the second time that the UAB AMWA chapter has hosted the regional conference, which includes several southeastern states as well as the Caribbean. Last year’s conference boasted nearly 100 enrollees; the upcoming conference, scheduled for February 15-16 2019, will have the capacity to include more. 

    AMWA is still seeking several key officers for the academic year. Those with questions should email

  • UAB School of Medicine Celebrates Successful Summer Training

    In the United States, students of color, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are less likely to be given the educational resources they need to pursue a career in the health professions.

    A parallel, and related, issue confronting health care is that patients of color are less likely to be given equitable treatment. SHPEP 2018

    These two problems are connected, in that patients are more likely to visit health care providers who look like them, and health care professionals from underrepresented populations are more likely to engage with the communities in which they grew up. One way in which UAB School of Medicine is attempting to rectify the shortage of physicians and other healthcare providers who are members of underrepresented populations is through summer training programs.

  • Lenora Billings-Harris Provides Implicit Bias Training

    The SOM ODI engaged the services of external consultant Lenora Billings-Harris to provide implicit bias educational sessions for more than eighty key members of UAB Medicine leadership on August 15, 2018.  Involving leaders from a wide range of areas, this initiative was launched as a follow-up to implicit bias training held in August, 2017. 

    The session was entitled: Maximizing the Power of Inclusion, Part II.  All participants from the earlier session (in August 2017) were invited to attend Part II. 

    LBH 2Participants engaged in an interactive lecture, as well as in role-playing exercises to provide practical tools for combatting bias when it occurs. The intention of the initiative was to be practical, meaningful, and actionable.

    Lenora Billings-Harris of Ubuntu Global has trained business and nonprofit leaders, as well as educators, health system professionals, and politicians, in numerous topics related to diversity and inclusion around the world. Decades of hands-on experience has helped her isolate the most effective tools for engaging and addressing bias without creating new sources of conflict or isolation. She taught workshop participants her S.T.O.P. technique, which empowers individuals who are the target of bias, or who witness bias, to speak about their experiences and perceptions effectively without assigning blame or increasing hostility.

    Billings-Harris also serves as a consultant to the UAB School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion in the development of the Toolkit for a Healthy Environment, “The Common Thread.”

    “I’m pleased that we were able to create a meaningful educational experience to equip leaders to deal with bias in all its forms,” said Mona Fouad, MD, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. “Bias is a human characteristic, and something that impacts all of us in subtle ways. Lenora’s tools are helpful and timely.” 

  • "Understanding Bias": the Most Recent Module in "The Common Thread"

    “I’m an older employee,” wrote one UAB staff member, “and leadership has made it clear that I’m no longer part of ‘the team’ because I’m at the higher end of the age range. I feel stuck, humiliated, and frustrated.”

    This true story from a UAB staff member is one of a many stories dealing with implicit bias, the unspoken – and often invisible – set of assumptions that each person carries around with them. These assumptions comprise a set of biases that inform the function of every individual, and everyone has biases.Screen Shot 2018 09 19 at 4.09.21 PM

    Simply put, a bias is a preference, and not all preferences are bad. Some biases are healthy and intended to aid with our survival – for example, a bias against unsafe heights or small enclosed spaces. Other biases can be harmful, particularly when those biases of which we’re unaware, called unconscious or implicit bias, cause us to act in discriminatory ways toward our colleagues, fellow students, or patients. 

    This is the overarching premise for “Understanding Bias,” the second in a series of modules for “The Common Thread: Find Yourself in Everyone.” The Common Thread is a Toolkit, offering resources for dealing with fostering belonging, addressing bias, cultural competency, and conflict resolution. Beginning with a concept launch video early in the spring, “The Common Thread” has been rolling out materials for workshops and discussions throughout the year. 

    “The Common Thread” adopts a revolutionary new approach to questions of diversity and inclusion, proposing that diversity efforts by themselves are not only insufficient, but often counterproductive. Diversity, which empirical data indicates leads to greater innovation, insight, excellence, and profitability, is only successful when paired with intentional inclusivity initiatives. The toolkit offers practical resources for building this inclusivity.

  • "The Common Thread" Toolkit Announces Release of "Building Belonging" Module

    The absence of a sense of belonging can lead to lower morale, higher attrition, and an uncomfortable, or even toxic, workplace culture. Unfortunately, building belonging isn’t something that happens by chance – it takes a series of intentional, determined actions, and a dedication on the part of all leaders and employees. 

    This is the beginning of the message of “Building Belonging,” the first in a 4-module series for an exciting new “toolkit,” designed to provide all staff, faculty, trainees, and students within UAB School of Medicine with the practical resources to build a strong, resilient, healthy environment. The toolkit, entitled “The Common Thread: Find Yourself in Everyone,” deals with essential topics in cultural inclusion, and can be found at Thread Screenshot

    “Building Belonging” discusses the crucial nature of intentionally fostering inclusivity within the workplace and learning environment. Successfully piloted during Patient Experience Week in April 2018, this module includes an introductory video, and a series of TED Talk-style speeches featuring UAB’s Michael Saag, M.D., covering all components of the module. The toolkit also offers downloadable print resources with discussion questions, citations, and the PowerPoint presentation used by Saag in his speech. All of these resources are available through the toolkit website.

  • Office for Diversity and Inclusion Introduces "The Common Thread" at AAMC Conference

    Over the first weekend in June, diversity and inclusion faculty and staff from academic medical centers throughout the U.S. gathered in New Orleans to discuss the most pressing issues related to execution of their mission. The annual Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Diversity and Inclusion conference featured, as always, an array of well-qualified speakers and presenters and a wide range of workshops.AAMC 2018

    UAB School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) was selected to lead a deep-dive workshop at the conference, entitled “Diversity and Inclusion Programming in Academic Medicine: An Interactive Development Model.” Co-presenters Lori Bateman, Ph.D., Laura Heider, MBA, and Evelyn Jones, MA, Business Administration, not only explained the historical development and operations of the ODI but also the most recent research available on diversity and inclusion within UAB. The workshop also highlighted a key new initiative for programming for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion: the Toolkit for a Healthy Environment.

    This toolkit, entitled “The Common Thread: Find Yourself in Everyone,” is a collaborative educational initiative developed through a Health Services Foundation grant in conjunction with the School of Dentistry and the School of Health Professions. The resources for the toolkit, which are still under development and intended for use among all departments in the School of Medicine, can be found at

    Under the direction of Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion has been developing numerous educational initiatives, including the toolkit, to facilitate the creation of an inclusive culture at UAB School of Medicine. 

  • Summer Health Professions Education Program Launches

    For the second summer in a row, first and second year college students, as well as community college students, have gatherered at UAB for the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). This program, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a 6-week-long in-depth exposure to health professions. Labs, lectures, and simulations combine with networking and recreational activities to make SHPEP an experience to remember. 

    SHPEP UAB accepts 80 students annually. The goal of the program is to increase diversity in health professions by recruiting and preparing underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students for successful educational experiences and a SHPEP 1careers in health care. The UAB School of Medicine partners with the School of Dentistry, the School of Optometry, and the School of Health Professions to offer comprehensive and educational programming. 

    The 2018 summer program kicked off June 4. On orientation day, students not only received their ID badges and visited Undergraduate Career and Devleopment, they participated in a scavenger hunt with GeoTrek Monday to learn about UAB's campus. Their experiences have also included anatomy lectures, shadowing orientation, an ultrasound workshop, and leadership/professional case conferences. 

    SHPEP will include many additional offerings, including community-based experiences, including primary care in underserved populations, workshops on study and life skills, and instruction on health science topics, scientific writing, and critical reasoning.

    This free program is open to all first and second year college students through an application process. For more information, click here.

  • UAB Medicine Celebrates 3rd Consecutive Year as Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equity

    2018 marks the third consecutive year that UAB Medicine has been named a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by the Healthcare Equity Index.

    The Healthcare Equity Index (HEI) is a unique annual survey admnistered by the Human Rights Campaign that promotes and encourages inclusive crare for LGBTQ people in healthcare facilities across the United States. A record 626 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2018 HEI survey. In addition, the HEI includes ratings from 901 hospitals that the Human Rights Campaign Foundation independently researched on behalf of LGBTQ patients to ascertain their existing policies. 

    In order to be named a "Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equity," a facility needs to receive a score of 100 points. Facilities receive points for meeting specific requirements and by having a certain number of best practices and policies in place. 2018 LGBTQ HEI

    The four core objectives of the HEI are to:

    • Ensure foundational protection for patients, visitors, and staff in patient and staff policies, and provide cultural competency training on LGBTQ inclusion

    • Demonstrate progress toward inclusion on LGBTQ patient care and support

    • Cultivate an inclusive workforce by providing LGBTQ-inclusive employee support and benefits

    • Demonstrate public commitment to the LGBTQ community

    UAB Medicine will celebrate this achievement with a reception on May 30, 2018, from 4:00 - 5:00 pm in the North Pavilion Atrium first floor.

  • SNMA Honored at UAB Student Excellence Awards

    The UAB Student National Medical Association (SNMA) was honored at the 2018 Student Excellence Awards on April 12, 2018, as the recipient of the 2017-2018 Program of the Year Award. The award recognized the Annual Integrative Healthcare Summit, which enjoyed its 14th year on February 24, 2018. 

    Each year, the Integrative Healthcare Summit brings togther high school and college students from within and beyond Alabama, exposing these students to a vast array of healthcare fields and professions. Although targeted at underserved andSNMA Award under-represented minority populations, any student in the relevant age group is invited to attend. The 2018 Summit represented the 4th year that high school students were invited to participate, and included workshops, interactive hands-on sessions, and student-led panels.

    "We had a record number of attendees, volunteers, and community affiliates. There were over 20 programs representing dental, medical, nursing, veterinary, allied health, and optometry institutions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee," say members of the Summit's planning committee. "Our committee worked tirelessly on this event and we are thankful that the Summit is receiving recognition. We are hopeful that the success of this year's Summit will garner more support for future years."

    Medical students Alana C. Jones and Alana C. Nichols were present to receive the award.

  • UAB SNMA Earns Distinction at National Conference

    The annual Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Conference was held this year in San Francisco from March 28 – April 1. For more than half a century, this conference has served as the largest nationwide gathering of under-represented minority medical students and health professionals. The 2018 conference was entitled, “Embracing Our Diversity: Filling the Gaps and Building the Future,” and included five attendees from the UAB chapter of the SNMA at UAB School of Medicine. Their notable achievements include:

    • Co-recipient of the 2017-2018 service grant award, along with Vanderbilt UniversityScreen Shot 2018 04 19 at 10.04.24 AM
    • 3rd place award in the Poster Session
    • Alana C. Nichols awarded 2017-2018 SNMA Member of the Year
    • Election of Alicia Williams as Region IV liaison
    • Induction of local physician Dr. Christopher Carter to SNMA’s Hall of Heroes

  • American Medical Women's Association Holds Region 5 Conference at UAB

    On February 9-10, 2018, UAB’s Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) hosted the first ever Region 5 AMWA conference. Region 5 includes Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and the Caribbean, and students, residents, fellows and faculty from schools in all of these areas were invited to attend.

    Beginning with a reception at The Wine Loft on the evening of February 9, the conference gave attendees the opportunity to network, share research, and examine germane issues related to personal and professional development.

    The formal conference events were held on February 10, at The Edge of Chaos at Lister Hill Library. Nearly 100 faculty, trainees, and students registered for the conference.P1020592

    A poster session beginning at 8:00 am gave attendees the opportunity to showcase current research endeavors. Following the poster session, the women and men in attendance were welcomed by Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, and by Lauren Walter, M.D., UAB AMWA Chapter President and Region 5 Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine. Yvonne Chodaba, a 4th year Medical Student and Region 5 Student Director also offered words of welcome.

  • UAB Medicine Celebrates Second Annual Diversity Fair

    On the afternoon of January 26, the second floor atrium of North Pavilion began to fill steadily: first with representatives of each department of the School of Medicine, and then, as brightly-colored and eye-catching displays were constructed, with guests. The School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion celebrated its second annual Diversity Fair from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, with food, drink, and entertainment.

    2017’s inaugural Fair enjoyed more than 500 attendees; the 2018 Fair welcomed roughly 700 guests from across UAB Medicine. Each School of Medicine department was challenged to bring food and1.26.18 UAB Diversity Fair DMS Web 20 décor that represented some aspect of the faculty and staff of their department. Some chose to bring food representing as much of the national and international composition of their employees as possible; others focused on a single region or nation.

    Departments competed for the honor of best table, and were judged on their decorations, presentation, and the taste of the food they offered. Food selections from as far afield as India, Japan, Germany, England, China, and a wealth of other world locations filled the tables. A panel of six judges evaluated the tables. Restaurant gift cards will be awarded to the top ranking departments.

  • Dr. Feranmi Okanlami speaks at Diversity Grand Rounds

    “Diversity is a taboo word,” said Feranmi Okanlami, MD, MS, addressing an audience of UAB Medicine employees. “I asked people yesterday, ‘What is it that you feel when someone says, “diversity”?’ I know, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, certain people out there get uncomfortable. They think that you’re talking about bringing people who aren’t qualified in to replace people that are. . .  theFeranmi Okanlami conversation to be had is not that this side is right, and this side is wrong, but that there is right and wrong on both sides of the fence.”

    Dr. Okanlami’s address was the result of a collaboration between the School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion’s Diversity Grand Rounds and Nursing Schwartz Rounds. The January 26 lecture was one of the key events of Diversity Weekend, which coincided with second look weekend for resident applicants. The unique nature of the joint event between the School of Medicine and Nursing allowed Okanlami’s message broader reach.Oluwaferanmi “Feranmi” Okanlami was born in Nigeria before immigrating to the United States with his parents at a young age. His significant academic achievements earned him a spot at Stanford University for his undergraduate education, where he majored in Honors Interdisciplinary Studeis in the Humanities for PreMed students with an eye toward attending medical school. He ran Track & Field all four years, captaining the team his last two seasons, and achieving Academic All American recognition.

  • Department of Surgery Presents Dr. George Yang for Diversity Lectureship

    On February 13 at 7:15 am, the Department of Surgery will be hosting a Diversity Grand Rounds lecture featuring George Yang, MD, PhD, who will be speaking on the topic: "Impact of Immigration George YangonAmerican Surgery." This lecture is an initiative within the broader initiatives within the Department of Surgery.

    Dr. Yang is an Associate Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency and internship. He is a fellow of the American Surgical Association and former President of the Society of University Surgeons. He is a recipient of the wound care management award, and previously served as the Chair of the publications Committee for the Society of University Surgeons. 

    The lecture will be held at Margaret Cameron Spain auditorium and is open to employees of UAB Medicine.

  • Celebrating Mona Fouad's Election to the National Academy of Medicine

    In October 2017, Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine. This exceptional honor, which  is considered one of the highest in the fields of health and medicine, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Only 70 national members and 10 international members are elected each year.

    On November 16, UAB leadership, as well as Fouad’s colleagues, friends, and family, gathered to celebrate her achievement in the lobby of Wallace Tumor Institute.

    Acknowledging that Dr. Fouad was the first person elected to the National Academy of Medicine at UAB in two decades, Selwyn Vickers, M.D. FACS, dean of the UAB School of Medicine and senior vice president for Medicine, illustrated the significance of Fouad’s accomplishment. “This is one of the highest honors at any level given to a physician scientist in the United States,” he said in his introductory remarks. “In this process, the National Academy will receive anywhere from 800 to 1,000 nominees a year. Dr. Fouad is a nationally 11.16.17 UAB Mona Fouad Faculty Celebration 30recognized leader who had the fortune to be elected this year.”

    Mona Fouad’s wide-ranging and extensive career in medicine and research boasts local, regional, national, and international achievements. A nationally recognized expert in health disparities research, she was one of the scientists who established health disparities as a valid field of scientific study. Not only did Fouad serve two terms as a member of the NIH Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities, she was among the experts tapped to assist in the establishment of the health disparities initiatives for the National institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities. Fouad is also the founding director of the Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), which celebrated 15 years of continuous operations in 2017.

    “Mona worked tirelessly to establish the MHRC,” Vickers said, “and has been one of the founders of the field of health disparities. Her work has generated and combined research in multiple areas across cancer, behavioral disciplines, and social sciences, as well as multiple interdisciplinary programs across UAB.”

  • Office for Diversity and Inclusion Celebrates Promotion of Women Faculty

    “We are here tonight to celebrate exceptional women,” said Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, “who are working to make significant advances in research, in teaching, in mentoring, and in clinical work. Years ago, each of the women recognized tonight made a deliberate choice to seek out excellence regardless of inequities or of personal and professional obstacles. Tonight, we rejoice in your achievement.”

    Dr. Fouad was addressing a group of women faculty and their families, colleagues, division leaders, and department chairs, who were gathered in the Wallace Tumor Institute Lobby to celebrate the promotion of 14 women to the position of professor. An annual event sponsored by the School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the October 19 reception was the third of its kind, intended to recognize the exceptional strides women are making within the School of Medicine.

    In 2015, when the Women in Medicine and Science Promotion Reception was launched, four women were promoted to the position of professor. In 2016, that number more than doubled, to ten women. In 2017, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion was delighted to recognize 14 women attaining the rank of professor.IMG 0090

    After light refreshments, each honoree was introduced by her department chair, or a representative sent by the chair. Each of the women faculty honored was outstanding in her field in important ways, from innovative contributions to research, to exceptional clinical achievements, to the attainment of significant grant funding. Many of the women honored had gained not only national recognition for their work, but had made a name for themselves on the global stage as well.

  • DCGME Annual Reception Honors New Faculty, Residents and Students

    In celebration of Global Diversity Awareness Month, the UAB Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion and DCGME Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion held its annual reception welcoming new faculty, residents and medical students on Tuesday, October 17. The lobby of the Wallace Tumor Institute filled with the sound of conversation as new and existing members of the UAB medical community gathered to network and converse.

    The Welcome Reception was an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to gather and celebrate the diverse and inclusive nature of our university,” explained Latesha Elopre, M.D., who, along with Marquita Hicks, M.D., runs the DCGME. “Our intention is to promote and foster an atmosphere of acceptance and collegiality to strengthen our UAB community.”P1020414

    Among the UAB leaders attending the event were Selwyn Vickers, M.D.; Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH; Deborah Grimes, R.N., J.D.; Craig Hoesley,M.D.: Alice Goepfert, M.D., and Anthony Patterson, MSHA. Marquita Hicks. M.D., and Latesha Elopre, M.D., who work with the DCGME, welcomed the evening crowd.