UAB names its diversity champions for 2018

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Four individuals and one student organization were honored with the President’s Diversity Champion Award during a special gathering Feb. 15. The annual award recognizes employees, students and organizations that have helped create a more culturally diverse, inclusive university community through their achievements.

A new category also was recognized this year at the event: the President’s Choice Unsung Diversity Champion. This award recognizes people who make a substantive yet unrecognized contribution to the work of diversity, equity and inclusion at UAB, and whose bravery and courage inspire others to excellence.

Nominations are solicited from the UAB community for all categories, and awards are given in each of five categories for projects or activities that best reflect the implementation of unit and/or campus diversity goals. 

Congratulations to the 2018 recipients:

Edwin Cook REVEdwin Cook Edwin Cook III, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

 Associate Professor Edwin Cook directs UAB’s doctoral program in Medical/Clinical Psychology, which prepares students for careers in research and clinical care. His efforts to increase the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority students are remarkable — 22 percent of the students are African-American or Hispanic — and UAB’s program is more ethnically diverse than comparable ones and the existing psychology workforce. 

During his 31-year tenure he has helped create an environment that is respectful and accepting of diversity, led efforts to enhance diversity among the faculty and student body, supported the academic success of diverse students and helped develop departmental policies and procedures to ensure everyone is treated equitably and with respect.

These efforts have important downstream effects on improving the mental health of diverse populations struggling with mental health problems, who will be better able to obtain high quality services from minority psychologists or psychologists who are more knowledgeable about diversity.

Sherri Moultrie REVSherri MoultrieSherri Moultrie, MA, CRC

Human Resources

Sherri Moultrie coordinates the AWARE (Always Working to Advocate, Retain and Employ) program in Human Resources, an innovative partnership between UAB and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.  Through the partnership, she provides disability-management services to job applicants and UAB employees whose job performance, job stability or promotional opportunities are affected by a physical, mental or emotional impairment. 

Moultrie’ advocacy for the people she serves is as genuine as her empathy, and she serves each person with sensitivity and understanding. She fosters the trust and confidence needed to guide employees and supervisors through challenging situations.

Moultrie also has worked hard to increase the number of veterans among UAB’s workforce and helped develop a school-to-work transition program for students with disabilities within UAB Hospital. She engages with the community, internally and externally, in a meaningful way that supports UAB’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment.

Guzman Karlsson Mikael REVMikael Guzman Karlsson
Mikael Guzman Karlsson, Ph.D.

Graduate/Professional Student
College of Medicine

Mikael Guzman Karlsson, who is completing his M.D. /Ph.D. training in neurobiology, was raised in a multi-cultural/lingual household by a Swedish mother and a Bolivian father. Although born in Skövde, Sweden, he lived in the Andean city of La Paz, Bolivia, until age 13, when his family moved to the warm landscape of Southern California where he developed a keen interest in neuroscience and medicine.

Karlsson, a strong advocate of UAB’s neuroscience research program, has coordinated recruitment of minority students here in collaboration with organizations such as Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, which foster their success in attaining advanced degrees, careers and opportunities in leadership.

His passion for pediatric medicine and neuroscience has inspired him to pursue a career as a physician-scientist in child neurology, where he plans to devote time to clinical practice, research, education, and mentorship.

Mugdha Mokashi REVMugdha MokashiMugdha Mokashi

Undergraduate student
College of Arts and Sciences

Mugdha Mokashi, a senior majoring in neuroscience and pursuing a fast-track masters in public health, is president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association and has held leadership roles with student Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs and other campus organizations to promote equity, inclusion and justice.

Mokashi has volunteered at Birmingham’s Rape Response program as an advocate for women who have been assaulted, and this past year she founded the UAB chapter of URGE (Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity) to promote gender equity on campus and now serves on its national board.

She is equally passionate about creating equal access for women in STEM fields and has helped create a mentorship program for women at UAB. After graduating this spring, Mokashi plans to attend medical school to pursue a future career in reproductive health practice and policy research.

SNDA Photo REVUAB Student National Dental Student AssociationUAB Student National Dental Student Association

Student organization
School of Dentistry

The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) has a long history of working to increase the presence of under-represented groups in dental schools. Founded in the 1970s, the UAB chapter is dedicated to educating members in the social, moral and ethical obligations of the profession.

The UAB chapter is a strong inclusive chapter of diverse members working to improve the delivery of dental care to all people. Chapter members who work in the community have received several national accolades, including Albert Schweitzer fellowships and selection as Colgate-Palmolive Pre-Doctoral Scholars and ADA Foundation’s Underrepresented Minority Scholars.

In addition, members have been recognized for their local and national SNDA leadership positions, and the UAB chapter is committed to promoting a viable academic and social environment for under-represented students — regardless of race, ethnicity, social or cultural differences.

kathryn morgan REVKathryn MorganKathryn Morgan, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences
President’s Choice Unsung Diversity Champion

Professor Kathryn Morgan is the director of the African American Studies Program at UAB and the Equity Advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences. She received her bachelor of science and master of science  degrees in sociology from Texas Women’s University and her doctor of philosophy in criminology from Florida State University.

Morgan’s research interests include corrections — specifically probation and parole — correctional health care policy, race and crime and criminal justice policy. A recently developed line of research focuses on the death penalty and its application both nationally and in Alabama. Her expertise in criminal justice has informed the work of the UAB Forensic Science Institute. One of her most cited works examines “The Impact of Race on Parole Decision-Making.”