February 06, 2024

Black History Month, Part 1: A quick word with Tiffany Mayo, M.D.

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Black History MonthEach year, Black History Month is celebrated in February and focuses on a particular theme or premise. This year, the topic centers around “African Americans and the Arts.”

The Heersink School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion sat down with a faculty member, a few staff, and a student who are making a difference around UAB. This series aims to capture their memories, sentiments, and favorite Black/African American art during the month of February.

For Part 1, we talked with Tiffany Mayo, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Dermatology, to understand the diversity, equity, and inclusion work she is doing in Dermatology and to learn about her personal memories and arts recommendations.

Black History in Academic Medicine

In addition to her roles of associate professor and department director of Clinical Trials, Mayo is the vice chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Dermatology at UAB.

“Black History Month is a dedicated time for us to all reflect on the rich and unique contributions African Americans have made throughout history,” says Mayo.

“Importantly, as we continue to strive toward improving DEI, it is an opportunity to engage in much needed dialogue and to ensure we are being intentional in moving toward a more equitable future.”

“As a physician, Black History Month is a time to acknowledge how history has contributed to racial health disparities, and to work toward efforts to rebuild trust and health related outcomes in minority populations,” she explains.

A reminder to avoid complacency

“Personally, Black History Month is an important reminder to acknowledge the known and unknown African Americans whose courage led to progress despite unimaginable obstacles. It is motivation to avoid complacency.”

Mayo says her favorite memories are recalling participating in Black History Month celebrations in elementary school and church.

“The school halls were filled with photos of African American scientists, leaders, and other heroes. We performed plays and recited poems affirming individuals and the community. It was an important month and was highly celebrated.”

between the worldMayo’s recommended reading

We asked Mayo about her favorite books by Black/African American artists and book recommendations for those who wish to be a better supporter/ally. For both she answered: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me.” The New York Times Bestseller and National Book Award Winner, as well as Pulitzer Prize finalist, was published in 2015. It is a non-fiction letter from a father to his son on the reality of being Black in America.

Celebrate Black History Month

Looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month and engage in meaningful dialogue? Check out this list of university-wide events for Black History Month.