UAB names 2021 President’s Diversity Champion Award winners

Established in 2006, the awards recognize employees, students and organizations that have helped create a more culturally diverse, inclusive university community through their achievements.
Written by: Ashleigh Aldridge
Media contact: Yvonne Taunton

champion.2Established in 2006, the awards recognize employees, students and organizations that have helped create a more culturally diverse, inclusive university community through their achievements.Three individuals and one student organization at the University of Alabama at Birmingham were honored with the 2021 President’s Diversity Champion Award during a virtual ceremony Feb. 18. 

Established in 2006, the annual award sponsored by UAB’s Office of the President and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recognizes employees, students and organizations that have helped create a more culturally diverse, inclusive university community through their achievements. Nominations are solicited from the UAB community for all categories, and awards are given for projects or activities that best reflect the implementation of unit and/or campus diversity goals.  

2021 Faculty President’s Diversity Champion: Tina Simpson, M.D., MPH

Simpson is a professor and vice chair of Faculty Development in the UAB School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and is actively involved in diversity, equity and inclusion activities at UAB as well as at the national level. Simpson is the departmental diversity liaison for the School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion. She has helped lead several diversity education initiatives within the Department of Pediatrics. Simpson led the 2017 Maternal and Child Health Bureau MCH-funded Diversity and Health Equity Peer Learning Collaborative, which was composed of eight teams from training programs across the country and designed to help MCH training programs more effectively address diversity and health equity. Simpson is a member of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine’s Diversity Committee and in 2020 co‑wrote a position statement regarding immigrant youth in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers and a manuscript calling for the use of anti-racism approaches to address health inequities.  

Because of her involvement with the Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services, Simpson has been recognized by the city as a “Hidden Hero.” She was honored by BHAM Black Pride as the first recipient of the “Dr. Tina Simpson Invisible Warrior Award.”

2021 Staff President’s Diversity Champion: Jordan Perchik, M.D.

Perchik began his diagnostic radiology residency in the UAB School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology on July 1, 2018. He developed an early interest in medical student education and mentorship and joined the Near-Peer student-resident mentorship program, the Radiology Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the international radiology outreach organization RAD-AID; he is now a resident leader in these organizations. He has mentored and connected with medical students and fellow residents of diverse backgrounds and experiences, facilitated their pursuit of meaningful research, and worked to address health disparities in radiology. Perchik’s efforts have improved inclusion and representation of women and under-represented minorities in the UAB Radiology Residency and have contributed to overall advances in resident wellness.

Perchik has also worked to improve transgender health literacy in radiology at the local and national levels. He, along with a supportive team in the UAB Department of Radiology, has recently published a systematic review of transgender research in radiology literature, developed sessions in transgender health literacy for the resident education curriculum, and advocates for equitable delivery of health care for transgender and gender-diverse individuals. 

champion.3Tina Simpson, M.D., MPH, Jordan Perchik, M.D., and Nia Taylor2021 Graduate/Professional Student President’s Diversity Champion: Nia Taylor

Taylor is a third-year dental student in the UAB School of Dentistry and is enrolled in a dual-degree program to pursue both her DMD and MBA degrees, with an expected graduation date of May 2022. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Taylor then came to UAB, where she graduated with a master’s degree in biomedical and health sciences in 2018. Since then, she has been actively engaged in student activities at UAB School of Dentistry; her current involvement includes serving as treasurer of the Student Research Group, program director of the Dental Business Club, an ambassador for the 2020-21 admissions cycle and president of the Student National Dental Association. Taylor has also volunteered as a dental student mentor to undergraduate students for the past three summers at UAB’s Summer Health Professions Education Program.

2021 Student Organization President’s Diversity Champion: MSHA DEI Student Council

The M.S. in Health Administration Diversity Equity and Inclusion Student Council in the School of Health Professions is a 27-person committee of the MSHA Student Organization established in the summer of 2020. That summer presented varying emotional predicaments; students were not only navigating the COVID-19 pandemic but were digesting an influx of media showing social injustices across the country. Class leaders decided to organize a Zoom forum where students could speak candidly, share experiences and ask honest questions.

The purpose of the MSHA DEI Student Council is to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion as fundamental pillars of the MSHA program, while also bringing heightened social awareness to the faculty, staff and students of the program. Using a collaborative platform as a foundation, the council is critical in helping faculty and staff integrate DEI into all aspects of the MSHA program, including the curriculum, admission process, lunch and learns, and guest lectures. The council ensures the perpetuity of a platform that calls attention to the diverse perspectives of current students and alumni.