Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Department of Pediatrics is committed to creating an environment where all faculty, fellows, residents and staff feel respected and valued regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. In partnership with the Heersink School of Medicine, we believe that diversity and inclusion are crucial to the pursuit of excellence in our three pillars: research, education and patient care.

As a department, we are working to establish initiatives to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive environment for our faculty, trainees and staff.

Department of Pediatrics Diversity Dashboard

Department of Pediatrics Diversity Leadership

Chrystal Rutledge, M.D.
Co-Director—Residency Program Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Associate Professor in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care

Michael Lopez, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director—Residency Program Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Neurology

Tina Simpson, M.D., MPH
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Faculty Liaison
Professor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council


The Pediatric Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council aims to:

  • Increase recruitment and retention of pediatric residents, fellows, staff and faculty from diverse backgrounds, particularly backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in medical and healthcare careers
  • Foster relationships amongst current pediatric residents, fellows, staff and faculty
  • Promote opportunities for mentorship amongst UAB medical students, pediatric residents, fellows, faculty and the broader community
  • Promote a culture of diversity and inclusion and cultural responsiveness amongst pediatric residents, fellows, staff, faculty, patients and other healthcare providers
  • Facilitate pipeline activities and participate in community engagement
  • Advocate for health equity in our community

This year the council sponsored recruitment activities for underrepresented individuals in medicine pediatric residency and fellowship applicants along with informal meetings of the faculty and trainees with students on visiting rotations from Meharry Medical College. The council has also facilitated a department-wide social justice book club to facilitate dialogue and foster a more inclusive environment. The faculty committee of the DEI Council compiled and disseminated resources to pediatric division directors regarding best practices for recruitment.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council Timeline

Thursday Thoughts

This open forum, held monthly on the first Thursday, allows for an open dialogue on issues such as systemic racism and health disparities, and their impact on our patients and other children and families in Alabama. It is open to all members of the department and facilitated by different members of the DEI Council.

Diversity Newsletter & FYI Friday Spotlights

This year, we transitioned from a DEI section in FYI Friday weekly newsletter to a monthly DEI newsletter to share DEI celebrations and awareness events and local and national training opportunities. Since getting to know our colleagues can be an excellent way to build an inclusive environment in the workplace, the Celebrating Diversity Subcommittee of the DEI Council now features faculty and staff in the monthly DEI Newsletter.

Black History Month Event

In February, the department hosted the inaugural UAB Pioneers in Pediatrics: Celebrating Black History Month. This event was created as a way to celebrate Black History Month and to provide an opportunity to learn about the history of diversity in the department and ways we can improve diversity, equity and inclusion. A few pioneers in the UAB Department of Pediatrics, Paul Amamoo, M.D., Derrol Dawkins, M.D., and Iris Fancher, M.D., participated in a panel discussion about their experiences at UAB, the impact of racism they have seen during their careers and ways to combat health disparities and systemic racism.

Diversity and Inclusion Microlearning Experiences (DIME)

To provide ongoing sharing of best practices to foster diversity and inclusion and promote health equity, a microlearning curriculum for faculty was developed, consisting of 10-minute educational presentations at regular faculty meetings. These experiences are also summarized in FYI Fridays with accompanying resources and in the Resident Newsletter to further enhance dissemination.

Health Equity Scholars Program

The aim of the Health Equity Scholars Program, led by Drs. Chrystal Rutledge, Morissa Ladinsky, and Tina Simpson, is to train pediatric and medicine-pediatric residents to lead advances in child health equity through a two-year longitudinal and experiential curriculum. In October, the inaugural group of scholars spent three days traveling throughout the Black Belt and to prominent places pivotal to the Civil Rights Movement to explore the historical context of health disparities and inequities within Alabama. They visited the Legacy Museum and National Museum for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, spoke with Selma High School students along with our UAB Selma Family Medicine colleagues, met a local wastewater activist, Ms. Perman Hardy in Lowndes County, and discussed the origins of medical mistrust by learning more about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study with bioethicist, Dr. Stephen Sodeke, at the Tuskegee Historic Center during their first immersive experience. Learn more on the Pediatric Residency Program page.