Four individuals and one student organization were honored with the President’s Diversity Champion Award Feb. 21. The annual award 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 in each of five categories for projects or activities that best reflect the implementation of unit and/or campus diversity goals.
Also, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine co-publisher Lenore Pearlstein was there to present the HEED (Higher Education Excellence in Diversity) Diversity Champion award to President Ray Watts. In November 2018, the magazine recognized UAB as a diversity champion and a role model that sets the standard for U.S. campuses striving for inclusive excellence.
Congratulations to the 2019 recipients:
Monica Baskin, Ph.D.
Faculty, School of Medicine
Monica Baskin, Ph.D., is a professor of Preventive Medicine and vice chair for Culture and Diversity in the Department of Medicine and associate director for Community Outreach and Engagement for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. Baskin is a licensed psychologist with an extensive research program that uses community engagement to better understand and address social determinants of minority health and health disparities.
Beyond her scholarly work, Baskin is a tireless advocate for diversity and advancing health equity. She sits on multiple university committees focused on equity, diversity and inclusion. She is part of the inaugural cohort of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders Program, and she chairs both the Jefferson County Collaborative for Health Equity and the new Jefferson County Health Action Partnership, which comprises more than 80 organizations and agencies working together to make Jefferson County, Alabama, a healthier place to live, learn, work and play.
Staff, School of Health Professions
Tamika Pilgrom began her UAB career in 2005 working with the REGARDS stroke study in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology to investigate the racial and geographical disparities between individuals who suffered from strokes and heart attacks. She also has managed the diversity and recruitment efforts for various Department of Health Services Administration graduate programs and helped implement the UAB Academy for Addressing Health Disparities through Health Care Leadership, a program focused on increasing the diversity of graduate students in health management and leadership.
Pilgrom, who earned a master’s degree in social work from Alabama A&M University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UAB, now works with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Community Outreach Office and is responsible for managing cancer-prevention programs. She is a two-time UAB Staff Council representative for the School of Health Professions and also served its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force.
Valene Garr Barry,
Graduate Student, School of Health Professions
Valene Garr Barry is a graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in the Department of Nutrition Sciences and a pre-doctoral fellow of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center. In her research, Barry, who earned a master’s degree in nutrition sciences from UAB, investigates methods for early detection of disease and the association between body composition and risk for cardiometabolic disease in women.
Barry champions diversity through mentorship and advocacy. She is an engaged member of the Executive Board of the Black Graduate Student Association and co-directs its BLUEprint Connect program, which pairs undergraduate students with graduate and alumni mentors. She also mentors students in UAB’s Women in STEM program and multiple off-campus programs. She is the graduate student representative for UAB’s School of Health Professions Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and a student representative for its Student Affairs Committee.
Undergraduate Student, College of Arts and Sciences
Erica Webb, a senior pursuing a double major in English and political science, is part of UAB’s Global and Community Leadership Honors Program. She developed a passion for public service as a means for improving gender equity and democratic participation while growing up in Alabama, and her goal is to become a human rights lawyer and develop policies that benefit women in rural areas.
Webb is a congressional intern for U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell and a third-year resident assistant with UAB Housing and Residence Life. She volunteers as an advocate for sexual assault survivors at the Crisis Center and encourages political engagement as a member of the American Association of University Women of Alabama student advisory council. Webb is president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UAB, an organization dedicated to reproductive rights and health care advocacy, and a student representative on the UAB Commission on the Status of Women.
Disability Advocates Organization
The Disability Advocates Organization, founded in spring 2016, is dedicated to helping UAB students see the able, not the label when it comes to disability advocacy. During the past two years, DAO has become an influential and effective organization on campus, encouraging inclusion and diversity through educational outreach.
DAO received the New Student Organization Award at the 2018 UAB Student Excellence Award ceremony in part for presenting healthy eating seminars for students on a budget. In fall 2018, the organization hosted an introduction to American Sign Language program; it was well received, and the DAO is collaborating with campus Disability Support Services to co-host a second seminar March 6 that is open to students, faculty and staff.