By Wendy Sarubbi | January 7, 2011 1:55 pm

The UCF College of Medicine recently announced the appointment of Dr. Lisa Barkley as the new assistant dean for diversity and inclusion. Dr. Barkley, whose specialties are family, adolescent and sports medicine, comes to UCF from Delaware State University, where she was associate vice president for health and wellness and the founding dean of the College of Health and Public Policy.

In addition to her work at the College of Medicine, Dr. Barkley is also working at Nemours Children’s Hospital, where she is developing an adolescent medicine program.

“Diversity and inclusion are cornerstone values at our medical school,” said Dr. Deborah German, UCF vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. “As we train the next generation of doctors, we want to encourage open communication and collaboration, promote cross-cultural understanding and engage the community to address health-care disparities. We want to appreciate the differences that each one of us brings to our collective team.”

Dr. Barkley said she sees her role as a “facilitator” who will help bring health equity to patient care, education, research and the community. “I hope to work with everybody across the college to make diversity and inclusion part of what we do every day,” she said. “I want to make sure that our M.D. program creates physicians who really work well with all people.”

She has met with the College of Medicine’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion to set up diversity goals The four goals are: recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty and staff; education and scholarship; demonstrating diversity as a core value at the college and community outreach and engagement. This week, the task force divided into four committees that are brainstorming current diversity and inclusion conditions at the College of Medicine, desired conditions and strategies.

After receiving her B.S. degree in Biology from Georgetown University, Dr. Barkley received her M.D. degree at Temple University College of Medicine. She has done research and presentations on topics ranging from eating disorders among competitive ice skaters to health disparities among African American adolescents.

She believes adolescents are one of the most underserved groups in American medicine because they are largely invisible. “But their age group is so important,” she said, “because this is where we can transition young people to become healthy adults.” To do that, she wants her new practice to change the model for dealing with adolescent patients from one that focuses on deficits and risks to a model that “helps kids build up their positive assets and help young people develop those assets.”

“Throughout my career, I have learned how to take care of people in all kinds of settings and take care of people facing all kinds of issues,” she added. “I’m excited that the UCF College of Medicine has done a great job picking students who are passionate and care a great deal about being good physicians and a faculty that is dedicated to building something greater than has ever been built before. It’s like living opportunity here.”

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