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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Wine Down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Mandatory Reporter Training. . . . . . . . 2 Leadership Institute. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Lactation Rooms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Michael Alston Guest Speaker. . . . . . 3 Women's History Month . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Sexual Assault Awareness. . . . . . . . . . 3 Community Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Religious Holidays. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 BSA Banquet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-6 History and Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

OFFICE OF EQUITY AND DIVERSITY TEAM Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP/AP Assistant Vice Chancellor Olivia Ralph, JD Sr. Compliance Consultant Lauren Rotonda, JD, MBA Sr. Inclusion Strategist Sophia Mosher, MPA Sr. Administrative Specialist, Strategic Programs Dominique Crockett, MHA Sr. Administrative Specialist, Compliance Assurance Kirsha Smith OED Assistant The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/ Section 504/ADA/ADEA/V institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services.



As the signature event for Black History Month, the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) hosted a Wine Down at the National Civil Rights Museum on February 15, 2019. In partnership with the Office of Special Events, OED provided hors d’oeuvres, a live band, and wine for nearly 200 guests. The event also highlighted student leadership from the Black Student Association, African American alumni from each UTHSC college, and UTHSC leadership, offering an opportunity for students, employees, and alumni to network. Featured student and alumni speakers included: Karen Merriweather Doctor of Dental Surgery Candidate Black Student Association, President UTHSC College of Dentistry: Class of 2019 Crystal Martin Walker, PhD, DNP, MSN-CNL, RN Assistant Professor | Health Promotion and Disease Prevention UTHSC Colleges of Nursing and Graduate Health Sciences: Class of 2011, 2015 and 2016 Victoria Mathis, DDS UTHSC College of Dentistry: Class of 2008 Tony Robinson, PharmD UTHSC College of Pharmacy: Class of 2016 Mario M. Ray, MD, FACP Associate Professor | General Internal Medicine UTHSC College of Medicine: Class of Class of 2003, GME 2006 Ashley Moore, OTR/L, C/NDT UTHSC College of Health Professions: Class of 2014 Lori Gonzalez, PhD, vice chancellor of Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs at UTHSC, and Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP-AP, CAHRI, Associate CIPD, assistant vice chancellor and Title IX coordinator, also made remarks, highlighting the importance of celebrating Black History Month and what that means at UTHSC. Many attendees took the opportunity to view the museum exhibit for a slightly higher ticket price, in addition to participating in the event. Trio Plus, a local band self-described as “a jazzy, funky, rhythm and blues kind of sound,” provided entertainment. 1



Each year, all UTHSC employees are required to complete Mandatory Reporter training. The role of a Mandatory Reporter is to report allegations of sexual misconduct that takes place on or off campus to the Title IX Coordinator, and the training demonstrates the importance of taking all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously

as a Mandatory Reporter. The training becomes available in April and must be completed by May 31, 2019. For the convenience of employees, the Office of Equity and Diversity provides two options for completing this training: online or faceto-face. Stay tuned for more information about this required training.




NOW AVAILABLE AT UTHSC Written by Amber Carter

The UT Leadership Institute recognizes and trains leaders within the University to develop their skills and understanding of leadership’s role in higher education. Leaders from UTHSC joined others from around the UT System to participate in and present parts of the five day training program.

The Offices of Equity and Diversity (OED) and Human Resources (HR) are working collaboratively with the campus administration at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to address issues related to pregnancy and breastfeeding on campus.

Similar to the academic rigor that produces top-notch researchers at the University, the institute provides a research-based foundation for UT administrators to be leadership experts. Participants practice leadership skills in a hands-on, experiential learning setting.

As a result, two new private spaces for nursing mothers are now available in OED (920 Madison, Suite 825) and HR (910 Madison, Suite 753). Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) offered the first dedicated lactation room on campus. It is located in the GEB in CB16.

Formed in 1981, the institute has graduated more than 1000 participants and has a lengthy list of accomplished alumni from around the state. Administrative leaders of each UT campus and institute nominate UT’s most promising employees for the Institute, which is held every other year. The UT president selects the final 40 to 50 participants. Good candidates include those who have a proven record of success and demonstrated the ability to manage and mentor others.

The lactation rooms can be used by nursing mothers across the UTHSC community. Email or stop by any lactation room location to sign in and use it.

During the institute, during intensive small group and large group sessions, participants cover topics such as personal leadership characteristics and styles, organization dynamics and campus culture and issues surrounding higher education. 2

“Having lactation rooms is one of many ways UTHSC demonstrates what inclusion looks like,” said Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP/AP, assistant vice chancellor for Equity and Diversity and Title IX Coordinator. “Through the engaged leadership of Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Dr. Ken Brown, the rooms in OED and HR are an example of thoughtful collaboration.”

DR. MICHAEL ALSTON SERVES AS GUEST SPEAKER FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH Michael Alston, EdD, CCDP-AP, CAHRI, Associate CIDP, assistant vice chancellor and Title IX coordinator in OED, was an invited speaker for Black History Month at two Memphis area churches in February. The first invitation at Anointed Temple of Praise at 3939 Riverdale Road on Sunday, February 10. Dr. Alston was asked to reflect on his personal educational journey, and he emphasized his faith and will to succeed in high school, college and graduate school. Dr. Alston served as the invited guest speaker for the Janet Blayde-Reed Scholarship Banquet sponsored by Living Word Fellowship Church on Saturday, February 16, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at 5069 Sanderlin Avenue. During this presentation, Dr. Alston described the importance of education in his family while growing up in Brighton, Tennessee. The Living Word Fellowship also presented Dr. Alston with an award for being the invited guest speaker that evolved from a recommendation by Dr. Isaac Donkor, associate dean of student affairs and recruitment in the College of Graduate Health Sciences at UTHSC.

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH Every year, March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions to American history. To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Office of Equity and Diversity and the Women’s Resource Group will be collecting food and hygiene products as well as monetary donations to benefit the Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program during the month of March. The Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program is designed to support children whose parents are not able to raise them. These children may be cared for by a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other extended family member. The program provides continuous support and resources for caregivers. Items are available monthly to community caregivers in need. For information about the program, contact Rhonda FergusonWilkins at 901.448.3220.




Cereal Juice Pasta Peanut Butter Canned Tuna Canned Chicken Canned Vegetables Apple Sauce Tomato Sauce Beans Soup Rice

Cleaning Supplies Toilet Paper Dish Soap Toothpaste Toothbrushes Disposable Razors Feminine Hygiene Deodorant Shampoo & Conditioner Shaving Cream Body Wash & Soap Laundry Detergent

APRIL IS SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities about how to prevent it. In April of 2001, the U.S. began to nationally observe the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Throughout the month, organizations across the country host events and programs that aim to educate the public and reach out to survivors. This year’s campaign theme, I Ask, champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions. UTHSC will be observing the month through programs and events in April 2019. Stay tuned for more details. 3






March 1: St. David of Wales – Christian

The Orpheum | March 19-24

Featuring the Broadway classics "Tradition," "If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and "To Life," Fiddler on the Roof will introduce a new generation to this uplifting celebration that raises its cup to joy! To love! To life! For more information, visit

Intercalary Days end – Baha'i

March 2–20: Nineteen Day Fast * – Baha'i March 6

Ash Wednesday – Lent begins – Christian

March 17:

St. Patrick's Day – Christian

March 20: Equinox Ostara – Mabon * – Wicca/Pagan Northern and Southern hemispheres March 21: Norooz (New Year) – Persian/Zoroastrian

University of Memphis | March 28 The Junior League of Memphis welcomes all women to join us for our 4th annual community-focused, leadership conference – the Memphis Women’s Summit. The summit will span themes of professional, personal and community leadership to invigorate and empower us to elevate Memphis.

Naw–Rúz (New Year) * – Baha'i|

Hola Mohalla – Sikh

Magha Puja Day ** – Buddhist

Lord's Evening Meal – Jehovah's Witness Christian

Purim * – Jewish

March 28: Khordad Sal (Birth of Prophet Zarathushtra) ** – Zoroastrian

The one-day event includes: breakout sessions with local leaders, vendor booths focused on women’s issues and interests, a luncheon featuring a panel of top female leaders in Memphis and a keynote address. The Memphis Women's Summit is the only event dedicated to developing and empowering women. For more information, visit

April 3:

Laylat al Miraj * – Islam

April 9:

Mahavir Jayanti ** – Jain

April 14: Baisakhi (Vaisakhi) – Sikh

Palm Sunday – Christian

April 18:

Maundy Thursday – Christian

April 19-21: Theravadin New Year ** – Buddhist April 19:

Good Friday – Christian

April 20-27: Pesach * – Jewish April 20:

Lazarus Saturday – Orthodox Christian

April 21: Easter – Christian Robert R. Church Park | April 19-21 This year marks the 33rd Anniversary of the Africa In April Cultural Awareness Festival. It will showcase the Republic of Nigeria from an international perspective using a multiplicity of mediums education, economics, culture, fashions, arts/ crafts, music, history, and cuisines. Participants from Shelby County and Parochial Schools, area Colleges, Universities, Community Organizations, and Institutions will participate and enjoy a diverse cultural marketplace. Africa In April is four days of fun, festivities, and food with a different theme each day. For more information, visit

First Day of Ridvan * – Baha'i

Lailat al Bara'ah * – Islam

Palm Sunday – Orthodox Christian

April 29:

Ninth Day of Ridvan – Baha'i

* Holy days usually begin at sundown the day before this date. ** Local or regional customs may use a variation of this date. 4

(l to r) Tierney Jordan, Karen Ann Martin, Tamika Douglas, Chassidy Grimes, Bria Danielle Sharp, Karen Merriweather, Alicia Rogers, Kiera Crutcher



The Black Student Association (BSA) at UTHSC honored eight outstanding students Friday evening at its Annual Awards & Recognition Banquet.

College of Graduate Health Sciences Growing up in Jamaica, Martin earned a teaching diploma and worked as a teacher for three years before completing her BSc and MSc degrees in communication disorders at Western Carolina University. As a Speech and Hearing Science PhD student, Martin has completed three research projects and is working on her dissertation. Martin has presented her research in conferences throughout the country, including to the American Auditory Society, the CI Crash Conference, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and the American Academy of Audiology. In addition to her research, Martin serves as a course instructor for undergraduate students and works part time as a clinician.

Held in the OD Larry Dining Hall of the Student-Alumni Center, the banquet included a keynote address by Judy C. Martin, PhD, FNP-BC, chief nursing officer for the Shelby County Health Department since 2003. Dr. Martin received her PhD from the UTHSC College Nursing, and is the first African American to earn a PhD in nursing from a Tennessee university. Students honored were nominated by their colleges for scholarship, leadership, and community service. They are:

KAREN MERRIWEATHER College of Dentistry

Merriweather has been recognized with several scholarships from the College of Dentistry. She is an active mentor for Tennessee Institute for Pre-Professionals (TIP), which works with prospective health science students. She is certified in a formal training in poverty medicine called Serving the Underserved. Recently, Merriweather was a volunteer in the Mid-South Mission of Mercy, and is an active member of the American Student Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association, the secretary of the Student National Dental Association, the D4 representative of the American Association for Women Dentists, a Spanish tutor for the Hispanic Student Dental Association, and president of the Black Student Association.


College of Health Professions Crutcher has served as the president of the Pi Theta Epsilon, Delta Zeta Chapter, Occupational Therapy Honor Society. She completed the Serving the Underserved poverty medicine training program. Crutcher has excelled in her fieldwork placements at Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System in Jackson, Mississippi, and Southern Hand Centers in Memphis. She has been described by her fieldwork educators as “a joy to supervise,� and as a student who demonstrates outstanding professionalism and initiative. 5





classmates as a SASSl-approved tutor for multiple first- and second-year courses and for Step 1 board preparations. She is a tour guide for Medical School admissions at UTHSC. Grimes completed a summer research fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and has a cumulative GPA at UTHSC of 3.78. The College of Medicine recently honored her by naming her the Dr. Ed Reed Scholar, an award given on the basis of merit and diversity.

College of Health Professions Douglas, a senior Master of Health Informatics and Information Management student, was selected by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) as one of 25 students across the country to serve as an ambassador at the organization’s 90th Annual Meeting in Miami. Douglas is a licensed medical technologist and works full-time at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Diagnostics Laboratory. She volunteers with the Music City Riders United, a group that advocates for bus riders, bus drivers, and mechanics in Nashville. Douglas has done more than 150 hours of community service and has been involved with more than 20 community events and speaking engagements about pedestrian and commuter safety in Nashville.

BRIA DANIELLE SHARP College of Nursing

Sharp has emerged as a leader in her college serving in many key roles including secretary for the Student Nurses Association, member of the Nursing Honor Council, and vice president of the Nursing Student Government Association. She is also active in community service projects supporting institutions including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Nashville’s Hope Lodge, and Lipscomb Missions. In addition, she serves as a student tutor and volunteer for the College of Nursing.


College of Health Professions A student in the Cytotechnology/Histotechnology Program, Jordan is involved in a number of service initiatives at the university, as well as in the community. She is a UTHSC Honor Council representative. She is a volunteer for the Angel Tree project, which raises money for children whose parents are in prison. She is also a volunteer for Feed the Homeless, the AARP Seniors Meal Pack Challenge, and the Summer Feeding Program at Zion Temple Church of God in Christ. She serves as a camp instructor in the Elder Clarence L. Randle Summer Institute. She is a graduate of Tennessee State University and is giving back to her alma mater by being a virtual mentor in the Tennessee State University TLSAMP mentor program.

ALICIA ROGERS College of Pharmacy

Rogers will graduate in May with her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, as well as a certificate in Nuclear Pharmacy. She has served as president of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA, 2017-2018) and vice chair of the Operation Heart Committee for the College of Pharmacy’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) chapter (2015-2016). She also holds memberships in Phi Lambda Sigma and Kappa Psi pharmaceutical fraternities. Rogers been the recipient of the Cardinal Health Nuclear Scholarship (2018), the University Scholars Scholarship (2016, 2017, 2018), and the Tennessee Diversity Scholarship (2015).

CHASSIDY GRIMES College of Medicine

Grimes has served as the class secretary during all four years of her training. She also elected to serve her


UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY OF HEART DISEASE IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY To kickoff Black History Month, in conjunction with National Wear Red Day, the Office of Special Events and the Office of Equity and Diversity hosted a luncheon featuring Dwight Dishmon, MD, an interventional cardiologist for UT Methodist Physicians and assistant professor in the UTHSC College of Medicine. Dr. Dishmon discussed the effects of high blood pressure on the heart and supplied demographic data about groups most affected by heart disease.

For more information, please contact: Office of Equity and Diversity | 920 Madison Ave. | Suite 825 t 901.448.2112 | f 901.448.1120 6

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OED March-April 2019 Diversity Matters Newsletter  

OED March-April 2019 Diversity Matters Newsletter  

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