The Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity presented the UTHSC Impact Awards to acknowledge and celebrate students, faculty, and staff members for going beyond the call of duty in their roles at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Winners of the Lichterman Award, the Chancellor’s Exempt Staff Award, the Student Social Justice and Diversity Healthcare Leadership Award, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Award were announced during a hybrid ceremony that took place at the Mooney Building Library and on Zoom.
The Thomas C. Lichterman Outstanding Employee Award is given to an employee based on their reliability, quality of work, and attitude and disposition in the workplace. Lichterman reached beyond his job description as a messenger at UTHSC for 11 years. His brother, John, presented the award to Lee Weaver, a senior IT technologist for ITS Instructional Services, who was described as dependable, knowledgeable, patient, and communicative.
“During a time of need, students have posted [Weaver’s] picture with a Batman symbol, because like a superhero, [he] has been a hero during the most troubling times with technology,” OIED’s Abigail Caritan said when announcing the award.
The Chancellor’s Exempt Staff Award recognizes non-faculty exempt employees who have demonstrated outstanding service or who have made significant contributions to the university community beyond what was expected of them. Debbie Jackson won the award for her work as the benefits director in the Human Resources department.
“Winning the Chancellor’s Exempt Staff Award is a wonderfully humbling experience,” Jackson said. “Being recognized and honored means I’ve succeeded in my goal to help make a difference every day.”
This year, 10 students from five colleges were nominated for the Student Social Justice and Diversity Healthcare Leadership Award, recognizing students whose actions promote the acceptance of diverse views, backgrounds, and experiences. Three winners were chosen: Drahea Martin from the College of Dentistry, Tiana Bridges from the College of Health Professions, and Brianna Hawkins from the College of Pharmacy.
“Winning this award makes me proud to reflect on the many underserved and uninsured patients that we as students get to care for regularly and the genuine relationships we build with them and their families,” Hawkins said. “The diversity and inclusion within our student class and the community we serve is a true testament to why UTHSC is so special.”
Janeane N. Anderson, Phd, MPH, assistant professor in the College of Nursing’s Department of Community and Population Health, was awarded the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Award. According to OIED, the award honors a UTHSC faculty member who demonstrates exemplary leadership and the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion through performance and conduct.
“I honestly count it a blessing to be able to work toward health equity and justice for high-impact communities that have historically and systematically been neglected in research, clinical practice, and social policies,” Dr. Anderson said. “I am thankful for this recognition and hope others will join me in using their talents and gifts to ensure that everyone is able to achieve optimal health and wellness in Memphis and beyond.”
The ceremony ended with remarks by Cindy Russell, PhD, RN, vice chancellor for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs (AFSA). She said to the winners, “Each of you has used your unique abilities, your talents, your interests, and your passion to build a better tomorrow, and for those efforts, we all thank you.”