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Rutledge Chrystal WEB HeadshotI am pleased to announce that Chrystal Rutledge, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care, will assume the role of vice chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the Department of Pediatrics, effective Dec. 1, 2022. Dr. Rutledge has already been performing many of the leadership duties associated with this position, and this promotion is a recognition of the importance of DEI to the department as well as her outstanding leadership qualities. 

Dr. Rutledge is from Bessemer, AL and has a deep appreciation of the history of our community.  She attended Auburn University and then UAB Heersink School of Medicine before completing a pediatric residency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  She returned to UAB and Children’s of Alabama for her pediatric critical care fellowship and has been on faculty since 2014. 

She is now an associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care. In the last eight years, she has developed the Children’s of Alabama Community Healthcare Education Simulation (COACHES) program and is the co-director of the Pediatric Simulation Center. She serves an assistant program director in the Pediatric Residency Program, co-leads the Heath Equity Scholars Program, has organized the Diversity and Inclusion Micro-learning Experiences (DIME) segments for the pediatric faculty meetings and co-leads the department Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. In addition to these efforts, as the vice chair for Diversity,  Equity and Inclusion Dr. Rutledge will work collaboratively with the director of the Office for Faculty Development, the department’s chief wellness officer and the vice chair for Community Engagement to foster the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in the department.

I initially hesitated to name a vice chair for DEI because it was important to me that we not place the responsibility for DEI on one person or even one vice chair. Rather, my view was that we ALL need to make DEI a priority in what we do. However, I subsequently realized that having a leader for these efforts provides vital recognition of the importance of these efforts.  As Dr. Rutledge will show us, having a vice chair for DEI does not diminish but rather enhances the contributions of ALL to DEI.  I look forward to her continued leadership and could not be more pleased that she has accepted this role.