News & Events

  • Second Look & Diversity Grand Rounds Recap (2020)

    Dr Hildreth Email ImageAt the end of January, the School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion hosted the annual “Second Look” weekend. During this time, minority students underrepresented in medicine (URiM) considering residencies at UAB were invited to join current students and faculty for Diversity Grand Rounds, featuring James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D, MD.

    In addition to hearing Dr. Hildreth inspire listeners through “The Transformative Power of ‘ONE,’” prospects were encouraged to participate in the fun of our annual diversity fair, as well as attend a reception that recognized the critical contributions of URiM faculty at UAB School of Medicine.

  • Howard University College of Medicine Residency Fair (2020)

    Howard Residency Fair Training LeadersThe annual Howard University College of Medicine Residency Fair is a unique experience that allows medical students to speak with dozens of representatives in one day. Last month, over 80 specialty programs gathered to share their residency and research opportunities with potential applicants. UAB joined academic medical centers from across the country, including Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic, to connect with future physicians and health care industry leaders.

  • 4th Annual Diversity Fair (2020) Recap

    Diversity Fair Cover Photo Resized

    Earlier this year, UAB School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion celebrated its 4th annual diversity fair. Coinciding with second look weekend for resident applicants, the diversity fair brings together food, decor from around the world, international music, and a little friendly competition as School of Medicine departments compete for best table.

  • Looking Forward: the 2020 Diversity Fair

    On January 31, 2020, the UAB School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion will host its 4thannual Diversity Fair, celebrating the wealth of experiences, perspectives, 1.25.19 UAB SOM Diversity Fair DMS 34and cultures in the School of Medicine. 

    The Diversity Fair will be held from 4:00 – 6:00 pm in the second floor atrium of North Pavilion, and will feature cuisine from around the world, presented by the School of Medicine departments, as well as a live international band. Judges will circulate from table to table, evaluating each department’s entry based on both food quality and presentation, and the winning tables will be awarded gift cards. 

    “The Fair is an exciting opportunity for us to enjoy all the ways in which we are both similar and different,” said Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. “The atmosphere of the Fair is joyous and celebratory; it’s a chance to come together.”

    The 2019 Diversity Fair drew roughly 700 participants. The Fair is open to all faculty, staff, and students of the School of Medicine and their families, and is free to attend. 

  • Diversity Ambassadors Boost Key Functions for Medical School

    DApanelThe UAB School of Medicine Diversity Ambassadors have been active this inverview season. Diversity Ambassadors serve all four campuses for the UAB School of Medicine, and are an integral part of the ODI Student Affairs interview day. In addition to other functions, they participate in pre-interview dinners with prospects. 

    "Diversity Ambassadors are key to our recruiting efforts, and the feedback from candidates that have interviewed here at the UAB School of Medicine has been very complimentary," says Jenna Blythe-Tjia, who heads recruiting for ODI Student Affairs.

    In October 2019, the application process for MS1s to apply to be Diversity Ambassadors will open.

  • Ashley Turner Awarded AAUW American Fellowship

    The American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded its 2019–20 American Fellowship to Dr. Ashley Nicole Turner of Tallapoosa, GA. Turner is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    “I am truly honored to receive an AAUW American Postdoctoral Fellowship based on my personal commitment to education and equity for women and girls in STEM,” said Turner. “During my postdoctoral training, I am acquiring experience working with the microscopic nematode C. elegans in theScreen Shot 2019 09 27 at 3.42.56 PM basic biology of aging.”

    Turner plans to continue research, mentoring, and teaching as an academic scientist and professor. She wants this to include a C. elegans research lab exploring questions involving the interplay between aging and neurodegeneration, as well as teaching and offering unique research and learning opportunities to students.

    “With the support of AAUW, I will gain the C. elegansmodel, tools, and expertise I need for my professional career aspirations,” said Turner.

  • Defining Success

    Success means something different to each individual, and there is no singular formula for achievement.

    Some of UAB Medicine's most successful women leaders weigh in on success, and how to achieve it.

    Bulgarella Dawn 2018web

    S. Dawn Bulgarella, MSHA, CPA
    Senior Associate Dean
    Administration and Finance

    A major component of being successful is about willingness to work well as a member of a team.  Sometimes you are the team leader and other times you are not. Be open to learning new things and periodically working outside of your comfort zone.

    Cheri CanonCheri L. Canon, M.D.
    Professor and Witten-Stanley Endowed Chair of Radiology

    Discover leadership opportunities at each stage of your career. Identify sponsors to help you get there, and ignore self doubt.

  • Diversity Grand Rounds: The Common Thread

    "The Common Thread: Find Yourself in Everyone," is a practical Toolkit for a Healthy Environment, designed to give School of Medicine departments concrete, user-friendly tools for cultivating inclusion, addressing bias, and resolving conflict. Developed through a grant from the Health Servies Foundation, the Toolkit was created by the Office for Common thread icon 2Diversity & Inclusion with help from subject matter experts, and is housed on an independent website here.

    All four modules for “The Common Thread” have been released. The four modules are: Building Belonging, Understanding Bias, Cultural Competency, and Conflict Resolution. Each module is deliverable in two different formats: a downloadable PowerPoint presentation and downloadable discussion sheets, and there a series of TEDTalk-style videos showcasing the PowerPoint contents. The videos for these presentations are divided into shorter segments of 7-8 minutes each, and feature Dr. Michael Saag, Dr. James Willig, Dr. Tony Jones, Evelyn Jones, and Laura Heider.

    Currently, Dr. Mona Fouad, Evelyn Jones and Laura Heider are visiting each department to present one of the Toolkit modules during Grand Rounds. Several departments have already participated in one module, and several others, are slated to do so. The overarching goals are to begin meaningful dialogue on issues related to diversity and inclusion, and to introduce the functionality of the Toolkit.

  • Graduate Medical Education: Building Diversity

    The last few years have witnessed a significant expansion of graduate medical education efforts at UAB School of Medicine in order to increase the recruitment and retention of residents and fellows who belong to groups that are under-represented in medicine. The Dean’s Committee for Graduate Medical Education (DCGME) Subcommittee for Diversity and inclusion has not only sponsored events to increase community among under-represented trainees, but has also initiated crucial research-based strategy initiatives.

    Latesha ElopreRecruitment and retention of a diverse body of residents and fellows is a challenge for most, if not all, academic medical centers in the United States. A myriad of structural and social obstacles means that women, members of the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, and racial and ethnic minorities are often under-represented in medical school classes. This initial under-representation carries forward into training.

    In 2018, Latesha Elopre, M.D., and Marquita Hicks, M.D., conducted comprehensive qualitative research in order to understand why some trainees were choosing UAB, and others were matching with other institutions for their residencies. In addition to analyzing themes related to graduate medical education recruitment at UAB, researchers examined data and recommendations from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). 

  • UAB Chapter of AMWA Holds Second Annual Regional Conference

    When twelve women physicians met in Chicago in 1915 to form the Medical Women’s National Association, which was the forerunner to the American Medical Women’s Association, it’s unlikely that they saw their effort taking hold in academic medical centers throughout the entire nation and serving as a powerful voice for change. A century later, the UAB Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) carries on the legacy of those crucial first voices in advocating for women in medicine and science, offering mentoring and networking, and providing resources for students, trainees, and faculty to use in their professional development. 

    20190216 091654For the second year in a row, UAB School of Medicine’s AMWA chapter hosted the Region 5 conference on February 15 and 16. Drawing together women physicians from throughout the Southern United States and the Caribbean, this event brought participants from as far afield as Puerto Rico to workshop, network, and learn. 

    The Friday, February 15 sessions were targeted at women faculty, and took place in Margaret Cameron Spain auditorium. The conference was introduced by Lauren Walter, M.D., who has served as the UAB AMWA Chapter President since its revival in 2015. Speakers discussed the importance of self-care for physicians, the path to promotion and tenure, and the way to become effective leaders. 

  • Diversity Fair Celebrates its Third Year

    1.25.19 UAB SOM Diversity Fair DMS 78

    On January 25, 2019 the second floor atrium of North Pavilion was filled with the tantalizing scents of a myriad cuisines, as students, faculty, and staff of UAB Medicine wandered from booth to booth to the sound of international music. UAB School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion was hosting its annual Diversity Fair, and the atrium was packed to overflowing as hundreds of guests milled through.

    This is the third year in a row the School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion has sponsored this Fair, in which each department showcases the food, décor, and atmosphere of one or more cultures associated with their staff and faculty.  “It is truly a delight to see the effort each department puts into the Fair,” said Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, “and to enjoy the wealth of diversity UAB Medicine has to offer.”

    In addition to the creative food offerings by each department, attendees were entertained by the musical stylings of Sol Musica, an international fusion band featuring from as far afield as Peru and India. Led by band director Arturo La Cruz, Sol Musica played a range of unique songs from around the world, as well as American classics.

  • 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.