By Wendy Sarubbi | September 24, 2014 3:06 pm

Dr. Lisa Barkley, the College of Medicine’s assistant dean of diversity and inclusion, received a “Women of Distinction” award September 22 from UCF’s Center for Success of Women Faculty. Dr. Barkley was honored for her efforts in social justice and sustainability, specifically, for her work to “prepare tomorrow’s doctors to be culturally competent, compassionate leaders who will improve healthcare for all.”

Dr. Barkley was one of three honorees. Dr. Gabriela Rios, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric in the College of Arts and Humanities was honored for her leadership in bringing diverse students together for community efforts. Dr. Martha S. Lue Stewart, professor in the College of Education and Human Performance, was honored for her work with exceptional, multicultural and urban students.

The awards were presented at the university’s Welcome Reception for Women Faculty.

Dr. Barkley pioneered the College of Medicine’s Health Leaders program, a pipeline that exposes students from medically underserved communities to career options in research and healthcare. The program began with Orlando’s Jones High School and has now expanded to two middle schools and high schools in Osceola County. The first cohort of Jones students who completed the three-year Health Leaders program graduated last June. All are going to college – some on full scholarships – and all are planning to major in health-related studies. “This program is really connected to our mission at the College of Medicine, which is to be a premiere medical school that’s here for us all,” Dr. Barkley said.

This year, a key priority for the College of Medicine’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), which Dr. Barkley leads, was to make inclusion a stronger part of the overall college culture. CDI initiated a series of initiatives to help faculty, staff and students better understand, communicate and engage in an ever-changing world. Dr. Barkley brought the 2014 Central Florida Diversity Learning Series (CFDLS) to the medical school. The executive diversity training program is designed to help the region understand how to create and sustain more inclusive organizations and communities. Companies including Disney, Universal Studios, Darden Restaurants and Florida Hospital send teams to the series of six highly-interactive workshop sessions. This year’s topics include gender identity, inclusive mentoring and intergenerational communications. In January, the college began bimonthly Lunch and Learn sessions presented by the CFDLS presenter for faculty, staff and students on a variety of diversity and inclusion topics. The CDI also created a Diversity Champion program to recognize colleagues who support diversity and inclusion throughout the medical school.

“Diversity and inclusion are core values at the College of Medicine,” said Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean Dr. Deborah German. “Dr. Barkley is a champion who teaches us through example to celebrate the differences that make us stronger. She is incredibly deserving of this Women of Distinction award for social justice and sustainability.”

In addition to serving as assistant dean, Dr. Barkley, who is board certified in family, sports and adolescent medicine, cares for patients at UCF Health, the College of Medicine physician practice. She also leads the “Culture, Health and Society,” longitudinal curricular theme (LCT), one of several relevant, interdisciplinary topics that are woven into the medical school curriculum. That particular LCT is based on the idea that to deliver high-quality healthcare, a physician needs a deeper understanding of the sociocultural background of patients, their families and the environments in which they live. And students must also develop a keener understanding of their own backgrounds and beliefs to serve others.

Dr. Barkley said she is “honored” by the Women of Distinction award. “I never thought of myself as an activist,” she said. “I just advocate for things I feel passionate about. I’m honored that some of those things ‘stuck’ and have made a difference.”



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