The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) held its tenth annual “Celebrating Diversity” reception and dinner on February 25, 2017 at the Baltimore Hilton Inner Harbor. The event was attended by nearly 300 guests, who gathered to honor diversity at UM SOM, recognize those who have helped increase its diversity, and to raise money for an endowed scholarship in the name of Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson, MD, MACP, AGAF.
“Throughout the year, we set aside special time to celebrate our ideals and priorities,” 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. “Tonight, we are celebrating the successful strides that the School of Medicine has made concerning diversity throughout its 210-year history, and to affirm the values of diversity to which we remain committed. This institution recognizes and reinforces the positive impact that takes place in a healthy and robust environment of diversity. The School of Medicine is strongly committed to the recruitment and retention of talented, culturally and ethnically diverse faculty, staff, trainees and students. Indeed, our goal as a research-intensive medical school is to advance discovery and cures, knowledge and skills that will be of great benefit to our state, our nation, and our world.”
During the 2016-2017 academic year, the School of Medicine awarded more than $4 million in direct support to our students. Of that total, more than $1.3 million was awarded in the form of diversity scholarships to 53 medical students. This year’s ceremony featured the introduction of the first Donald E. Wilson Endowed Scholar, first-year medical student Jasmine Blake. “Dr. Greg Carey, Dr. Rob Phillips and Mr. Kevin Lindamood served as the Wilson Legacy Scholarship review committee. They rigorously reviewed and ranked thirteen highly competitive student profiles to identify the top three nominees for this scholarship,” revealed Dr. Wilson. “I could not be more pleased with the selection of Jasmine.”
Before starting medical school, Ms. Blake earned a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a concentration in International Health Systems and two certificates in Maternal & Child Health and Health Communication. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Human Services from Towson University. At the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Ms. Blake serves as a community advocate and consultant at UMB’s Community Engagement Center. She is also the student representative for the University’s global health seminar series and a member of the Second Look Day committee at the School of Medicine.
“When I chose the University of Maryland I would have never thought I would be here as the first Wilson Legacy Scholar,” Ms. Blake told the crowd. “The day I received the award letter, I did not believe it was real. In fact, I called the Dean’s Office, the Financial Aid Office, the Admissions Office, every single office and person I could think of! For me, this scholarship means much more than the monetary value. I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember; it is a dream that has become so intertwined with who I am. Yet, I grew up in town where no one around me went off and became what I wanted to become. Many people never made it out of my small town to become anything close to my dream. As I went along my academic journey, I became afraid of my dream, doubtful of my dream, and I gave up on it more times than I can count.”
Yet here she is, nearing the end of her first year of medical school. “It was not until I received the Wilson legacy scholarship last summer that I felt truly sure of my decision. Receiving this award solidified that I belonged in the profession of medicine, that I belonged at this institution. Once I learned about the unique selection process for the scholarship, I knew that there was a group of people, inside and outside of the University, who without ever meeting me, saw my passions and found me worthy enough to receive an honor that they had worked years to bring to fruition. They believed in my dreams so strongly. They saw the greatness and potential in me that sometimes I don’t even see in myself.”
Many of those believers are faculty. Five years ago, to honor our faculty champions of diversity, an awards presentation was added to the Celebrating Diversity ceremony, to bestow the Dean’s Faculty Award for Diversity and Inclusion to a member of the UM SOM faculty. This year’s recipient was Wendy Lane, MD, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor, Departments of Epidemiology & Public Health and Pediatrics. A national leader in child abuse and neglect pediatrics, Dr. Lane was recently named one of Baltimore’s top pediatricians and one of only a small number nationwide specializing in child abuse and neglect. She directs Epidemiology’s Preventive Medicine Residency Program, Community Outreach for the MPH Program, and co-directs the Program in Health Disparities and Population Health, which seeks to advance health equity and population health through transdisciplinary research, education and service. Recently appointed as the new Chair of the State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, Dr. Lane has been a tireless advocate for improving the health care of children involved in the child welfare system. The Council is one of the three federally mandated citizen review panels required by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. It makes recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly to improve child and family serving systems in Maryland.
In addition, for years Dr. Lane has helped lead and evaluate the B’More for Healthy Babies program in Upton/Druid Heights, which connects expectant mothers in West Baltimore to necessary healthcare and psychosocial services. Dr. Lane also serves on the Child Protection Team at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and performs medical evaluations for suspected maltreatment at the Howard County Child Advocacy Center.
A new award was added to the ceremony this year – one that honors alumni for their diversity efforts. The inaugural Dean’s Alumni Award for Diversity and Inclusion was presented to Sandra Quezada, MD, MS, Class of 2006, who is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, as well as Assistant Dean for Admissions. Dr. Quezada assumed the role of Course Director for Medical Spanish in 2012. She redesigned the course curriculum to follow a systems-based approach that mirrors the main medical curriculum studied by students at the School of Medicine, and incorporated a clinical service component to the course.
Dr. Quezada also serves as the faculty advisor for the Latino Medical Student Association, and is a faculty mentor for the Student National Medical Association and the Women in Medicine student interest group. She is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and in addition to receiving this year's Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from the Gold Humanism Honor Society, she has been recognized as the 2016-2017 Outstanding Faculty Member by the Student National Medical Association. She is currently a member of the American Gastroenterological Association Diversity Committee and will serve as Chair of that committee from 2018-2021. She is also a member of the Diversity Advisory Committee at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
In receiving her award, Dr. Quesada underscored that the achievement of diversity is driven by the presence of opportunity. “We must continue to remove the barriers that prevent diversity from being realized,” she affirmed, “so that we can raise up that next generation of deserving students.”
Numerous current and prospective UM SOM students attended 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 and Dr. and Mrs. Donald E. Wilson were Gold Sponsors. Mahogany, Inc. and Express Care Urgent Care Centers were Silver Sponsors. Table sponsors were the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Family & Community Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Orthopaedics, Radiation Oncology and Surgery; The Institute for Global Health; Mr. and Mrs. Michael Cryor; Dr. Yvette Rooks; Shock Trauma Associates; the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center; and the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology was also a contributor.
If you are interested in making a contribution to the Dean Emeritus Donald E. Wilson Endowed Scholarship fund, please visit http://medschool.umaryland.edu/development/ for more information.
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