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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr December 04, 2019

Five members of the UAB School of Health Professions faculty earned certificates for completing the National Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy (NIXLA). Members of the Class of 2019 are Dina Avery, DHSc, and Neena Xavier, M.D., with the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, Brenda Bertrand, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition Sciences, April Rollins-Kyle, MAEd, Department of Health Services Administration, and Sarah Tucker, Ph.D., Department of Occupational Therapy.

The participants are selected by their institution due to their demonstrated professional experience, leadership, interest and potential.

NIXLA is a five-week intensive program that equips diversity officers, deans, presidents, human resource officers, administrators and faculty who are dedicated to helping participants boost their strategic diversity leadership skills, disrupt the status quo at their institutions, and become innovative game changers around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Every year they accept 80 leaders from across the United States.

“Our team was able to learn innovative strategies to advance diversity and inclusion from astounding speakers across the nation,” said Avery, UAB NIXLA team leader. “The reading materials and case studies allowed us to have open discussions related to our individual institutional experiences, cultural biases, demographics of our students, and how we view our institutional culture.”

Based upon the discussions and assignments, the NIXLA team shared a common goal to focus on critical elements associated with the School of Health Professions’ recruitment strategies. Their goal is to identify areas of improvement, with student input, to decrease marginalization of underrepresented student populations.

The NIXLA project outcomes will be shared with the UAB Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The UAB DEI will be useful in providing facilitators to guide focus groups that involve SHP students. This collaborative effort of the UAB NIXLA team, SHP students, UAB DEI and the SHP DEI Committee will ultimately advance and identify best practices to recruit underrepresented populations among the School’s majors.

This is the second consecutive year SHP has NIXLA graduates. In 2018, Leandra Celaya, MSc, Department of Health Services Administration, Janelle Chiasera, Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, Gavin Jenkins, Ph.D., Department of Occupational Therapy, David Morris, Ph.D., Department of Physical Therapy, and Tracee Synco, Ph.D., Office of Student Recruitment, Engagement and Success completed the program and launched the SHP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

The DEI Committee, made up of faculty, staff and students, works collaboratively to promote these areas within the school and build capacity for embracing these concepts among our colleagues as well as our alumni. Learn more by visiting their website or by watching their overview video.

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