Diversity Award winners pose with Lilly Marks, Don Elliman and Brenda Allen at May 6 luncheon

By Chris Casey | University Communications

AURORA, Colo. – Outstanding individual and collective efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus were celebrated Monday.

More than 50 people attended the annual Chancellor’s Diversity Recognition and Award Luncheon in the Trivisible Room.

Hosting the event was the Office of Inclusion and Outreach, led by Director Dominic Martinez, as well as Brenda Allen, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion. Allen, who took over leadership of The Office of Diversity and Inclusion last August, applauded the work of the Office of Inclusion and Outreach, saying, “This event is just one example of all the work they do.”

Scenes from the Diversity Awards luncheon:

Awards for outstanding work in the area of diversity and inclusion went to two students, a student group, two staff members and a faculty member.

Chancellor Don Elliman and CU Vice President for Health Affairs and Executive Vice Chancellor of the Anschutz Medical Campus Lilly Marks attended as well, with Elliman saying that promoting diversity is something both of them are passionate about. “We absolutely have to find ways to make sure that our faculty, staff and student body mirror the citizens of the state we serve and the region we serve,” he said. “… You all here today represent the best of those efforts and that’s a wonderful thing.”

Christian Valtierra, assistant director of the Office of Inclusion and Outreach, and Medhat Ahmed, office coordinator, introduced this year’s awardees. Ahmed included remarks about each awardee as he introduced them. This year’s winners:

Outstanding Student awards: Jim Do, a first-year student in the School of Medicine, and Sam Zakkour, a third-year PharmD student in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “The recommenders noted that Jim stands out because of his dedication and passion to helping students from every background succeed.” Of Zakkour, “one of his biggest achievements has been developing an HIV test that can be administered by a pharmacist-sponsored health fair.”

Outstanding Student Group award: The Silver Society, the University of Colorado Physician Assistant student organization in the School of Medicine. “A recommender noted that the actions taken by these students have contributed to the inspiration of a new generation of health care providers,” Ahmed said.

Outstanding Staff awards: Vicky Saulsberry, administrative assistant of the Office of Inclusion and Outreach, and Regina Diane Richards, MSW, director of diversity and inclusion in the School of Medicine and program coordinator for the BA/BS-MD Program, which is a combined pipeline program for diverse Colorado high school students to enter medical school. Of Saulsberry, an 18-year employee of the university, a recommender noted that “as she walks by from campus point to campus point, she will stop and talk to everybody because everybody knows her.” Of Richards, a nominator said, “Her impact on diversity goes beyond the university’s walls, and she is a key member in engaging the Denver metro community with her diversity efforts.”

Outstanding Faculty award: Terri Blevins, MA, director of student and career development in the School of Medicine and a faculty member in Family Medicine. A nominator commented, “I can think of a few faculty who actively support the goal of diversity through education. She has continually demonstrated her efforts toward diversity, and I believe this will only continue in the future.”

Allen noted that a key university strategic priority is to enhance diversity university-wide and foster a culture of inclusion. “I believe we are well on our paths … that we are seeking to transform the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus in terms of diversity and inclusion. I really applaud all of our honorees — every one of you deserve these accolades.”

(Photo at top: Pictured from left are student award winner Jelena Eddy (Silver Society), CU Vice President for Health Affairs and Executive Vice Chancellor of the Anschutz Medical Campus Lilly Marks, student award winner Sam Zakkour, student award winner Veronica Carillo (Silver Society), staff award winner Vicky Saulsberry, student award winner Jim Do, faculty award winner Terri Blevins, staff award winner Regina Richards, Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Brenda Allen, student award winner Chelsea Williamson (Silver Society), student award winner Kelli Cooper (Silver Society) and Chancellor Don Elliman.)

Contact: christopher.casey@ucdenver.edu

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