February 14, 2024

Black History Month, Part 2: A quick word with Adrienne Fowler Payne

Written by

Black History Month 2 1For Black History Month 2024, 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.

The four-part series discusses their memories, sentiments, and favorite Black/African American art during February.

For Part 2, we talked with Adrienne Fowler Payne, program director III of the Comprehensive Urban Underserved and Rural Experience Program (CU2RE), to understand her work and learn about her personal memories and art recommendations.

Creating pathways to health equity

CU2RE is a federally sponsored program “developed to address the primary care physician shortage in our state by providing medical education and financial support to medical students interested in serving medically underserved urban and rural communities in the State of Alabama,” Payne explains.

With many partnerships across the state and at UAB, CU2RE addresses six core areas related to interprofessional education, behavioral health, social determinants of health, cultural and linguistic competency, practice transformation, and telehealth.

The program currently has two pathways: Urban Underserved and Rural. Each exists for students interested in primary care and health equity with a heart for serving underserved patients.

Part of why Black History Month is so meaningful to the work Payne does for CU2RE is because it constantly reminds her that cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion are needed and should be required in all spaces, she explains.

A time to honor, love, and reflect

“Black History Month reminds me of the struggles my ancestors faced and the need for continued advocacy for equity, justice, and fairness,” says Payne.

“It reminds me that our lived experiences shape and define us, and when you are a part of a group of people who at one time were considered less than human, it stirs you! It also informs me that my personal and professional path may be different because of the ideologies of the past but I must and will persist without exception.”

When asked if she has any favorite memories, she says, “I enjoy learning from elders, and I engage with them to honor the past through stories from their lived experiences. It is to honor my grandparents who at one time picked cotton yet decades later raised me.”

“During Black History Month, I hold space for reflection, conversations, honor, and love for my community.”

This year's Black History Month theme is African Americans and the Arts. Payne is an art collector and says one of her favorite artists is Lynthia Edwards, a native Alabamian and UAB graduate.

When it comes to recommendations for those who want to be a better ally or supporter, Payne says to read John Lewis’s Good Trouble.

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.