LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2021) — University of Kentucky College of Medicine students Thailandria Daniels and Megan Stewart were recently awarded inaugural Department of Behavioral Science White Coats for Black Lives Fellowships.
The fellowships, initiated by Anita Fernander, Ph.D., former associate professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and supported by the department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, were developed to enhance medical students’ understanding of health disparities, political and social inequalities, and health care inequities experienced by Black Americans.
The fellowship was developed because the Department of Behavioral Science recognized political and social inequalities that have not only created significant health disparities among Black Americans but have led to health care inequalities experienced by Black people due to historical explicit bias and contemporary implicit bias across the health care system. The fellowship experience will enhance medical school training, increase the fellows’ understanding of how behavioral science research can help to address health disparities and enable students to be better prepared to care for underserved Black patient populations.
Over the course of 18 months, each fellow will work with a behavioral science faculty mentor on a research or community-engaged project that addresses the health of Black Americans. Fellows receive a stipend and will present their projects to the campus community in the fall of 2022.
Daniels (Laurie McLouth, Ph.D., faculty mentor) intends to focus on disparities in occupational stress between Black and white physicians in academic medicine and implications for advancing in leadership positions. Stewart (Jennifer Cole, Ph.D., faculty mentor) plans to focus on maternal health inequities among pregnant Black women, including health care inequities and decision-making around obstetric care providers.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.