Award Icon Image v2To celebrate and honor URiM faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in their careers, as well as emulated the Minorities in Medicine & Science principles, the UAB School of Medicine Office for Diversity & Inclusion created the Professional Excellence Award.

Winners of this award must have significant accomplishments within the past 1-3 years in at least one of the following areas: research, teaching, or service. Additionally, priority is given to individuals who help UAB School of Medicine create an environment where minorities in medicine choose to be.

For its inaugural year, two recipients were selected to win the Professional Excellence Award: Drs. Chrystal Rutledge and Marisa Marques.



Chrystal Rutledge, M.D.
Associate Profession or Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care Pediatrics

Dr. Rutledge, member of African American Faculty Association, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics where she serves as the Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Pediatric Residency Program and the Associate Medical Director of the Pediatric Simulation Center. In those roles, Dr. Rutledge has made sustained and significant contributions to the Department's and the School's efforts to foster a more diverse work environment and eliminate health disparities.

Chrystal’s Service, Teaching, & Research Activities

  • This year, Dr. Rutledge co-led the development and implementation of virtual informational sessions for potential URiM residency applicants and post-interview question-and-answer sessions for URiM interviewees.
  • Dr. Rutledge helps coordinate luncheons that allow the Meharry students to interact with resident, fellow, and faculty members of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.
  • Dr. Rutledge is the Director of the COACHES Program, a community outreach simulation program designed to provide educational training to community hospital staff on pediatric emergencies.

Marisa Marques, M.D.
Professor and Interim Director of the Laboratory Medicine Division in the Department of Pathology

Dr. Marques, co-chair of Hispanic/Latinx Faculty Association, has been at UAB since 1994 when she joined the Department of Pathology residency program in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and completed a fellowship in Hematopathology here. She was appointed to faculty in 1998 and since that time has moved through the ranks until her last appointment to Professor in October 2008. Dr. Marques’ leadership roles in the Department of Pathology include Associate Director of Laboratory Medicine Division, Section Head of Transfusion Medicine, Director of the Transfusion Medicine/Blood Bank Fellowship, Chair of the Blood Utilization and Management Committee, Medical Director of UAB Highlands Blood Bank, and Medical Director of Transfusion Services and the Apheresis Collection Facility at University of Alabama Hospital.

Marisa’s Service, Teaching, and Research Activities

  • Dr. Marques is well known for her efforts in promoting the retention and advancement of tenure-track minorities by writing letters of support for promotion and tenure and devoting large portions of time for career advice.
  • As President of the UAB Chapter of AMWA for the last 1.5 years, she has organized many meetings for women in medicine to improve networking and increase the awareness of barriers to their advancement in academic medicine as well as how to overcome them.
  • Dr. Marques contributed to the creation of the Diversity Task Force for her Department. This task force tackles important inclusion topics such as race/language, sexual orientation, religion, and academic degrees.