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More Than 200 Guests Turned Out for the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Fifth Annual "Celebrating Diversity" Dinner

Monday, February 06, 2012

 Dr. Myles and Dean Reece present Dr. Pinn with a certificate as thanks for her giving the keynote speech at the reception.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM ) held its fifth annual Celebrating Diversity reception and dinner on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at the Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards. The event was attended by over 200 guests, who gathered to honor the strides made in diversity at the School of Medicine and to raise money for the Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson Endowed Scholarship fund and other UMSOM diversity scholarships that provide financial assistance to minority students.

“This institution recognizes and reinforces the positive impact that takes place in a healthy and robust environment of diversity,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. “There are many positive outcomes when a community of students, alumni, faculty and staff members, from a multitude of  backgrounds and cultures, work together for the benefit of each other as colleagues, while pursuing ambitious goals for the benefit of all humankind. Indeed, our goal as a medical school is to advance knowledge and skills that will help all people, throughout our city and state and across the nation.”

Over 60 current and even prospective School of Medicine students were able to attend the event thanks to the generosity of the event's presenting sponsor, the Medical Alumni Association of the University of Maryland, Inc. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company was Gold Sponsor. Banks Construction, Mahogany, Inc., Associated Black Charities, and the Association of American Medical Colleges served as Silver Sponsors. Table sponsors were the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Family & Community Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery and Surgery, the Institute of Human Virology’s Division of Infectious Diseases and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Department chairs and faculty members were also in attendance for this inspiring evening, which featured remarks from Dean Reece; Ernesto Rivera, MD, director of Student Clerkships at Franklin Square Hospital and preceptor for the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Charlotte Jones-Burton, MD, MS, past member of the Medical Alumni Association; and Master of Ceremonies Otha Myles, MD, assistant professor, Department of Medicine and President of the Medical Alumni Association of the University of Maryland Board of Directors. Drs. Myles and Jones-Burton – both alumni of the School of Medicine – established this event  “to honor Dr. Donald E. Wilson, past Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, to establish the Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson Scholarship Fund, and to continue the School’s enduring commitment to enhancing the diversity of the student body and the medical profession,” said Dr. Myles.

Featured Speaker Vivian Pinn, MD, former Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and former Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, gave an inspiring speech about how she managed to succeed in medicine despite a variety of challenges, including a childhood where segregation was still an ugly reality and having to endure the trials of being the only woman and only minority in her medical school class at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

School of Medicine students Nicole Mahdi and Akin Oyalowo, who will both graduate this year,  spoke about how receiving scholarships has impacted their education. "Tonight, we gather to celebrate the opportunities for diversity at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine. This comes easy to me, because I've been celebrating for the past four years, ever since the day I learned that I would be receiving a Diversity Grant," said Oyalowo. "I've never won a lottery or sweepstakes before in my life, but I imagine what I felt was similar. My excitement stemmed not from the money itself, but the opportunities that it afforded....Receiving grant support from the University of Maryland enabled me to choose a career in medicine, without closing any doors of opportunity.”

The Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson Endowed Scholarship Fund is named in honor of Donald E. Wilson, MD, who served as Dean of the medical school from 1991 to 2006 and greatly increased the number of under-represented minorities among both the faculty and the student body. If you are interested in donating to this fund, or for more information about supporting diversity scholarships at the School of Medicine, please contact the Office of Development at 410.706.8503.

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University of Maryland School of Medicine
Caelie Haines
Manager, Public Affairs
(410) 706-7508

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 Michael Cryor, president of the Cryor Group and Chairman of the School of Medicine's Board of Visitors, with Dr. Donald Wilson.

 Ernesto Rivera, MD, director of Student Clerkships at Franklin Square Hospital and preceptor for the University of Maryland School of Medicine, delivers his speech.

 Akin Oyalowo is thankful for the diversity scholarship that has helped fund his education at the School of Medicine.

 Dr. Wilson, Dr. Myles, Dr. Jones-Burton, Dr. Pinn, Dean Reece, Michael Cryor and Larry Pitrof, executive director of the Medical Alumni Association.

 Dr. Jones-Burton, Dr. Rivera, students Nicole Mahdi and Akin Oyalowo and Dr. Myles.

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