January 23, 2024

A memorable Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

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Miles College ChoirOn Jan. 18, the Heersink School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion and UAB Health System hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration that brought together the entire UAB community to reflect on Dr. King's legacy and discuss pressing issues of equity.

The theme was “Breaking Barriers: Achieving Health Equity Through the Practice of Inclusive Care.” Bobbie Knight, president of Miles College, was in attendance, introduced by Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH. Plus, a lineup of inspiring speakers and performers were present.

“The success of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration exemplifies the power of fostering important dialogue and inspiring positive change. It is a testament to our shared commitment to equity at Heersink School of Medicine and across all of UAB," said Fouad.

The commemoration was introduced by Raegan Durant, M.D., MPH, associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion, who also took on the role as an event moderator alongside Andre Lessears, MBA, chief diversity officer for UAB Medicine. To open the commemoration, Durant set the stage for a meaningful discussion by introducing the performers and panel discussion members and sharing personal sentiments about Dr. King.

“Through engaging discussions and a powerful choral performance, the event was very meaningful and hopefully will spark subsequent thought and dialogue about how we can, individually and collectively, contribute to inclusive care toward a goal of health equity,” said Durant.

The Miles College Golden Voices Choir took center stage, opening the event with a powerful rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," often referred to as the Black National Anthem. The choir's emotional delivery set the tone for reflection and celebration.

53480364126 70f417a81f wFollowing their opening song, the choir continued to captivate the audience with "Amazing Grace," featuring two remarkable soloists. The inclusion of the Miles College Golden Voices Choir has become a cherished tradition at this annual event, adding a touch of artistry and spirituality to the commemoration.

The event featured a panel discussion with three distinguished panelists: Audra Williams, M.D., MPH, associate professor in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; DeWayne Bailey, MBA, director of the UAB Alabama Rural Health Collaborative; and Ed Fields, chief strategist for the Birmingham Mayor's Office. Each speaker shared insights into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s role in promoting equity, connecting it to their individual areas of expertise.

One notable aspect of the panel discussion was the exploration of the concept of health equity. The speakers delved into what health equity means to them, offering valuable perspectives on addressing disparities in health care. They engaged in a dialogue about the collective responsibility of the community in working towards health equity. Attendees were encouraged to consider actionable steps that can be taken to contribute to a more just and equitable society. The event served as a platform for meaningful conversations and reflections on how Dr. King's principles can be applied to health care and various other aspects of our lives.

To enhance the overall experience, Happy Catering provided boxed lunches.

Peruse photos from the event here.