Alumna inspires DEI award

Photo of Helping Hands durring COVID
Pictured from left: UABSON Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship Marie Bakitas, honoree Shameka Rodgers Phillips, T'Anya Carter and Nancy Wingo.

By Amanda E.H. Pritchard

A new award at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing has been established to honor a recent PhD graduate. The T’Anya Marye Carter Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award honoring its namesake, T’Anya Carter, PhD, CRNA (PhD 2021), was created because of Carter’s passion for research, diligence, determination and collegiality to her peers in the UABSON PhD program.

“When T'Anya graduated, I thought we needed to honor her in some way,” said Nancy Wingo, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Instructional Innovation. “It seemed appropriate to hold her up as an example for future PhD students who have some of her same qualities. Establishing a DEI award was the perfect way to do this.”

The first recipient displaying similar qualities was Shameka Rodgers Phillips, PhD, MSN, FNP-C, (BSN 2014, MSN 2016, PhD 2022).

“This award is one of the most significant awards I have ever received because it honors someone I truly admire and is based on a topic I am passionate about,” Phillips said. “Dr. Carter is a person that not only desires change in the world but makes change in the world. She inspired me and others to speak about our experiences, inspire change and lead action steps toward reforming DEI in our school and beyond. Her inspiration led my colleagues and me to develop the School of Nursing PhD Student DEI and Advisory Council, which I chair.”

Regarding what made Phillips a standout for the award, Carter said, “Shameka is a force. She has a wellness focus about her. She’s a real genuine person who wants things to be better and she puts in the work to make it better. That’s one of the things the award exemplifies. When you persevere, good things will happen.”

Echoing Carter’s sentiment, Wingo added, “Shameka’s nomination letters clearly outlined that she had so many of the same qualities as T’Anya—grit and determination, a leadership presence within her cohort and an advocate for social justice.”

Continuing the DEI mission, Phillips says it’s important to show that everyone is valued, appreciated and belongs. “As nurses, we interact with people at some of their lowest and highest moments. So, not respecting and caring for everyone equitably goes against the oath that we made as nurses. Furthermore, a person’s identification and background should not limit how we value their contributions and presence or limit the care we give.”

Phillips recently moved to Washington state to begin the Child Health Equity Program for Post-Doctoral Trainees at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Carter currently works in Dallas as a CRNA and is working to open the Carter Institute for Recovery to provide a place where health care providers can seek treatment for drug and alcohol addictions and/or receive support to combat stress, burnout and Covid fatigue. Carter is continuing her UAB education by earning a certification in Mixed Methods Research.

Upcoming Events