September 26, 2023

Fouad elected to exclusive NIH advisory committee

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Fouad resizeMona Fouad, M.D., MPH, senior associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Heersink School of Medicine and director of the Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center, has been elected to the National Institutes of Health’s Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on Diversity.

The ACD Working Group on Diversity seeks to develop effective diversity-related strategies for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on research. Some of their priorities include enhancing access and opportunities for the biomedical research workforce to nurture a diverse community, identifying strategies to address underfunding of minority health and health disparities research, and advancing programs that enhance recruitment and retention of individuals from wide-ranging backgrounds. The group also advises on policy and procedural changes relating to addressing disparities in research, training, and professional development.

Fouad sits among a small, selected group of experts from nationally renowned institutions, including Yale University, Hopkins Medicine, University of Michigan, and New York University, among others.

Fouad has dedicated her career to pioneering advancements in health equity and is devoted to making a difference in Alabama. Her groundbreaking research at the turn of the century recognized that social factors affect health outcomes.

Now, she has developed innovative models for clinical trials, developed approaches to reducing cancer disparities, and founded programs like Live HealthSmart Alabama (LHSA), where she serves as CEO. LHSA’s goal is to improve the health of all Alabamians and move the state out of the bottom ten in health indicators by 2030, while partnering with multiple communities in Birmingham and beyond to offer access to healthy and affordable food, health screenings at no cost, physical activity resources, nutrition education, and more.

On her new role on the NIH’s ACD Working Group on Diversity, she says, “Serving in this way allows me to bring the work we are doing at UAB to a national level and ensure diverse populations throughout the nation have equitable access to health care and research opportunities.”

Anupam Agarwal, M.D., dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, says Fouad’s accomplishment is a testimony to her dedication and unwavering commitment to seeking new strategies to bolster funding for health disparities research. "Her remarkable achievements inspire all of us and are a powerful testament to the great work happening in this area at Heersink School of Medicine," he says.

Fouad says she is looking forward to establishing new partnerships that contribute to UAB’s reputation as an inclusive institution dedicated to advancing biomedical research.

“Most of all, this group will make a tangible difference in people's quality of life by improving equity in health care.”

Fouad also serves as the assistant vice president for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UAB, a Division of Preventive Medicine professor, and holds the Edward E. Patridge, M.D., Endowed Chair for Cancer Disparity Research.