Six honored as Outstanding Women for 2019

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UAB will honor six Outstanding Women during a special ceremony 4:30-6 p.m. March 20 in the UAB Alumni House.

For 26 years, UAB and subsequently the UAB Commission on the Status of Women have presented the awards during Women’s History Month to honor women in the UAB and Birmingham communities who have mentored or served other women, taken a courageous stance or overcome adversity to achieve a goal.

Recipients for the award are nominated by UAB faculty, staff and students, Birmingham residents, mentors and others from around the country and are selected by a committee of university and community women. The 2019 recipients who will be honored: 

Sandra Frazier 300Sandra Frazier Sandra Frazier, M.D.
Becky Trigg Outstanding Woman UAB Faculty Member   

Professor Sandra Frazier, M.D., medical director and assistant dean of Professional Development in the School of Medicine, provides confidential counseling and coaching for students, residents, fellows and faculty within the School of Medicine/UAB Medicine.

Colleagues credit her with encouraging women and promoting them to positions of leadership and also call attention to her service as a leader.

“She is one of the most selfless people we have ever met,” said Michele Holloway Nichols, M.D., professor of pediatric medicine. “She is on call 24/7 and, indeed, we have called on her for assistance on weekends, in the middle of the night, and while she was on vacation.”

One instance that comes to mind occurred this year. UAB’s Pediatric Residency Program faced one of its greatest challenges when 26 of its 30 new interns were injured in a bus crash. Holloway said they immediately called Dr. Frazier, who quickly gathered a team “to put the interns back together again.”

Holloway said Frazier and her team were instrumental “helping us to pick up the broken pieces. She has been there for us, at every turn. We view this time as a ‘horrific, beautiful’ time in our program where we saw amazing things happen, and we attribute much of this to Dr. Frazier and her team.”

Her “talent for re-centering and re-charging people is like none other. She offers a listening ear, a compassionate heart, a “can do” perspective, new “eyes”, and a fresh outlook. Dr. Frazier has been a lifesaver for us in every sense of the word.

Jamie Elliott 300Jamie ElliottJamie Elliott
Susan D. Marchase Outstanding Woman UAB Administrator

Jamie Elliott, center administrator for UAB’s Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center, has been directly involved with young scientists at many career stages, from students through junior faculty, working with them to develop and submit grants and generally develop their portfolios for career advancement.

“I can say with certainty that a strong voice of encouragement behind the scenes, like Jamie’s, is crucial to the success of women in an academic field that is still largely male-dominated,” said Assistant Professor Susan Birket, one of the junior faculty who has sought her advice.

Elliott, she says, also donates her time to Girls Inc, where she mentored young girls in need of additional assistance in the Birmingham City Schools district and most recently is active role with the Girl Scouts, designing STEM-focused events for her Daisy troop.

“She is a champion for empowering girls and women to overcome the challenges facing them, and she is a facilitator of that development,” said Jacelyn Peabody, M.D./Ph.D student and CFRC trainee.

CFRC Director Steven Rowe, M.D., says of Elliott: “She has been an important advocate for emerging women leaders in research within our center, whether at the level of faculty or more junior trainees, and both encouraged and engaged them to reach for their goals and achieve positions of leadership at the institution. Behind the scenes, she has instituted policies of peer review and evaluation that bring these ideals to fruition.”

Donna Andrews 300Donna AndrewsDonna Andrews
Outstanding Staff Member

After more than 20 years with the University Honors Program, Donna Andrews is the one everyone turns to and also its “personal, spiritual, intellectual and community center,” colleagues say.

“Donna has been a tremendous personal resource for students in the University Honors Program,” said its Director Mike Sloane. “She is a strong female voice and role model… [and] a strong advocate for the academic and professional success of our female students.”

“I specifically admire her unceasing effort to support women students, and women of color in particular, guiding them through their academic careers and helping them navigate the transition into the professional world,” said Steven Chappell, a program alumnus who first encountered Andrews in the ’90s and has remained in touch ever since.

“Having grown up in a poor and rural community outside of Gadsden, Alabama, Donna’s prospects were unlikely to have included the multiple degrees or the significant influence she has had in her career,” said Ada Long, Emerita Professor of English and founding director of UAB’s University Honors Program.

“It hasn’t been easy for her as often the only African-American student or staff member in institutional contexts… [but] she keeps on keeping on, though, always keeping her eyes on the prize and inspiring others to do so as well.”

Erica Webb 300Erica WebbErica Webb
Outstanding Undergraduate Student 

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.

“Erica's devotion to women's rights and her commitment to empowering women permeates every aspect of her civic and intellectual life,” said Ashley Kuntz, her professor and mentor. “Through all of these curricular and co-curricular experiences, Erica aims to make it easier for other women to achieve professionally.”

Webb volunteers as an advocate for sexual assault survivors at the Crisis Center — 700 hours and counting — and encourages political engagement as a member of the American Association of University Women of Alabama student advisory council. She 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.

“At every turn, she has ignored the naysayers and those who marginalize her perspectives and persisted in accomplishing the goals that are important to her,” Kuntz said. 

Bono TaylorTaylor BonoTaylor Bono
Outstanding Graduate Student

 Everyone agrees: Medical student Taylor Bono is a resilient, dedicated, goal-oriented and impressive young woman who views personal obstacles as challenges for improvement and success and capitalizes on these opportunities to help other medical students succeed.

Bono has approached setbacks with resilience and vigor, according to Kevin Leon, M.D., associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education. Taylor has embraced challenges, sought out support and succeeded in overcoming, he said. "More impressively," he notes, she has became "a role model for other students faced with adversity.”

Bono has developed a strong research career and has numerous accomplishments related to her science background, says co-worker Alex Edgil. She is the UAB School of Medicine liaison and outreach coordinator for the Association of Advocates for Women in Science and one of the driving forces for establishing its “Women in X” seminar series to bring together physicians and scientists for panel discussions for a medical and graduate student audiences.

Bono also volunteers weekly at the Equal Access Birmingham student-run free clinic to provide care for the underserved population of Birmingham and is a role model and teacher to the first- and second-year medical students volunteering in the clinic. 


Thurmond 300Sandra ThurmondSandra B. Thurmond
Outstanding Woman in the Community

Sandra Thurmond, vice president of Primary Care Services for Children’s of Alabama, supports women with her time, talent and treasure, those who know her say.

Thurmond has paved the way for numerous women to achieve – enabling them to take on new responsibilities and advance their careers – and has made time to mentor women through a number of organizations. A strong supporter of student learning, she is very active in UAB’s Health Services Administration program and provides mentoring opportunities and makes time to discuss ideas, programs or case competitions, nominators say. 

“Sandy showed her leadership and stewardship by becoming the first person to contribute to the account that will help [our Department’s UAB Women in Healthcare Leadership Initiative group] host educational sessions for women in the health care field,” said Randa Hall, assistant professor in the School of Health Professions.

Thurmond also has been “a great leader and promoter of women in the work place” by supporting work/life balances, offering flexible schedules and promoting female leadership throughout the Children's organization, said colleague Stacy White. She also provided significant opportunities for women through her involvement in the MOMENTUM Women's Leadership Program.

Finally, Thurmond has demonstrated her commitment to women’s health through support of American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, Open Your Heart and Circle of Red, a society of women with the passion, motivation and drive to influence change in the heart health of women in their community.