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School of Medicine Celebrating Diversity Dinner Supports Funding for Student Scholarships

Monday, February 03, 2014

 Dean Reece and Dr. McCarthy presented Dr. Strickland with a certificate and award honoring his commitment to diversity.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine held its seventh annual Celebrating Diversity reception and dinner on February 1, 2014 at the Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards. The event was attended by more than 200 guests, who gathered to honor diversity at the School of Medicine, recognize those who have helped elevate the School’s diversity profile, and to raise money for the Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson Endowed Scholarship fund and other UMSOM diversity scholarships that provide financial assistance to students.

“Tonight we are celebrating the successful strides that the School of Medicine has made concerning diversity throughout its history,” 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, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “This institution recognizes and endorses the positive impact that takes place in a healthy and robust environment of diversity. We are committed to recruiting and retaining a talented, culturally diverse faculty, staff, trainees and students. The goal of our medical school is to advance knowledge and skills that will be of benefit to our city, our state, and, indeed, our nation.”

Camille T.C. Hammond, MD, MPH, Class of 2001, and her husband Jason Hammond, MD, were the honorary chairs of the dinner. Speakers included Michael Cryor, Chairman of the Board of Visitors; Danielle Baruch, a fourth-year medical student; and keynote speaker Oxiris Barbot, MD, Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City.

“Diversity is a constellation of inputs and outputs that make it easier for individuals and systems to reach their fullest potential,” said Dr. Barbot in her speech. “At the individual level, the inputs include formidable experiences, and the outputs include our interpretation and expression of those experiences as a way to structure our lives.” If someone experiences negative input, that can have a direct effect on their output. “The most important question I ask students is ‘What matters to you?’ Everything else I can teach you, but I can’t teach you the things that matter. That is why it is so important for us to create these learning and teaching opportunities, because it never ends. We always are able to learn more and more and improve and tighten those webs of inputs and outputs.”

Diversity is not to be feared, said Mr. Cryor. “It is wonderful to see the extraordinary commitment you have made over the years and to celebrate the commitment you will continue to make to the world of minority medicine,” he told the audience. “The School of Medicine is constantly seeking opportunities to enhance diversity. Diversity is our friend. Many people think of diversity in ways that undermine the significance of what it means. We are all enriched by the volume of difference here that adds up to a very wonderful product. We do not compromise on quality here.”

Ms. Baruch is a perfect example of that. In a heartfelt speech, she thanked the donors who had made it possible for her to attend medical school. “It not only motivated me to excel in school, but it also reinforced my commitment to service, which I have been able to sustain during my years here at Maryland,” she said. Baruch also stressed the importance of diversity in helping patients relate better to their physicians. “We are able to connect and celebrate what we have in common. Our patients play a major role in how we care for them. The dialogue we have, the treatments we recommend, and the relationships we build are all influenced by this.”

For his role in expanding diversity in the graduate studies program, Dudley Strickland, PhD, Assistant Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Director of the Center for Vascular & Inflammatory Diseases, was presented with the second annual Dean’s Faculty Award for Diversity and Inclusion. He was nominated by Sharron Graves, MS, Director of Strategic Recruitment, Outreach and Retention in the Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS), and Margaret McCarthy, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and who praised Dr. Strickland for expanding diversity by not only taking a chance on students other programs considered high-risk but staying personally involved in their education to assure their success.

“Our task is to train the next generation of scientists, which is a really awesome task when you think about it,” said Dr. Strickland. “Dr. Martin Luther King said that ‘education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.’ That is exactly what we are trying to do here in our graduate program.”

Numerous current and prospective School of Medicine students were able to attend the diversity 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 a Gold Sponsor. Banks Construction and Mahogany, Inc. were Silver Sponsors. Table sponsors were Mr. and Mrs. Michael Cryor; the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, OB-GYN and Reproductive Sciences, Orthopaedics and Surgery; the Office of Policy and Planning; the Program in Trauma; the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center; and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Dean Emeritus Donald Wilson, MD (far right), and Otha Myles, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine (far left), with a group of high-achieving students who came to the dinner as guests of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Kappa Phi Lambda, Columbia, MD Chapter.

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 Dean Reece and Dr. Hammond presented Dr. Barbot with a certificate of appreciation after she gave her keynote speech.

 Danielle Baruch brought her proud mother as her guest at the dinner.

 Dr. Benjamin Lawner from the Department of Emergency Medicine with Dr. Yemi Adebayo, an Emergency Medicine resident and 2013 graduate of the School of Medicine.

 Alumni & Friends: Dr. Otha Myles, Class of '98; Chester Ray; Michael Cryor; Dr. Percy Boateng, Class of '98; Dr. Stacie Garret-Ray, Class of 2000; Dr. Aaron Bates, Class of '98; and Dr. Peter Reyes, Class of '98.

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