Earnestine Willis, MD, MPH, Kellner Professor in Pediatrics and Director of the College’s Center for the Advancement of Underserved Children, and Mikel Holt, president of Malik Communications and associate publisher of the Community Journal were chosen as the first two recipients of the Medical College of Wisconsin President’s Diversity Award.

The Medical College of Wisconsin’s President’s Office, in partnership with the Diversity Advisory Committee, established the President’s Diversity Award to honor individuals or groups from MCW and the community at large who have contributed to making the college a more inclusive and diverse environment.

“The Medical College of Wisconsin is committed to building a diverse, inclusive and equitable community that understands and celebrates individual differences and fosters appreciation and respect for all individuals,” said John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, president and CEO.

“This is essential to our mission, and we are thankful to everyone internally and throughout the broader community who helps to bring us closer to our goal.”

Dr. Willis received the award for her efforts and dedication to improve the health of under-served populations. Holt received the award for his efforts to help MCW connect with important community-based organizations, which has led to strong academic/community partnerships and the advancement of critical partnerships between MCW and underrepresented populations.

The Diversity Awards Selection Committee selects up to two award recipients each year – one in a Student/Resident/ Faculty category and one in a Staff/Community Partner category.

Other nominees for the award included:

“We were pleased to see such excellent nominations, and were awed and humbled by the various efforts made by these individuals towards diversity and inclusion at MCW,” said Judy E. Kim, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Past Chair of the Diversity Advisory Committee.

“The letters of recommendation for these individuals made us proud to know that they are a part of the MCW family and are making a wonderful difference here and beyond. All of them should be congratulated. I would like to thank President Raymond for initiating this award to recognize and further the efforts to make MCW more diverse and inclusive at every level. We hope to see more great nominations next year.”

One of the ongoing priorities of the Medical College of Wisconsin is to increase the diversity among our medical students, graduate student and residents and to provide support for their educational success as a foundation for a promising career.

Each year, the MCW community comes together to celebrate this important initiative at the President’s Diversity Reception, planned in conjunction with the Office of Student Affairs/ Diversity.

This year’s reception was an opportunity for students to meet the faculty, staff and community mentors who support them in their training, as well as for our community physician partners to be recognized for their powerful impact on our students’ lives.

“A diverse student body promotes the understanding and value of differences and allows students to achieve greater insights into medical conditions and treatment as they share viewpoints and experiences from differing perspectives,” said Dawn Bragg, PhD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs/Diversity.

“The Medical College of Wisconsin is committed to building diversity throughout our organization, celebrates individual differences and fosters appreciation and respect for all individuals.” This reception allowed us to publicly thank Dr. Willis, Mikel Holt and the many other internal and external contributors who help us move closer to that goal every day.”