School of Medicine Employees Receive Campus-Wide Diversity Awards

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

From breathing new life into the West Union to starting a departmental blog about diversity and inclusion, Duke employees are being recognized for their teamwork and diversity efforts over the past year.

Two of Duke’s highest honors, the Teamwork and Diversity awards, are presented every year to employees who foster collaboration, cooperation and open communication as a team or demonstrate a respect and value for differing backgrounds and points of view.

Peers and department directors nominate University and Health System staff and faculty and a Duke Human Resources committee choses the finalists.

On Tuesday, the 2016 award recipients were honored during a luncheon at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens’ Doris Duke Center. Diversity Award recipients received a $750 check and an engraved crystal bowl. Teamwork Award recipients receive a plaque and the choice of a team event not to exceed $1,000.

At the luncheon, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead discussed how Duke’s nearly 37,000 employees continue to position Duke’s reputation as the best in teaching, research and patient care.

“Once you hire 37,000 extremely skilled and motivated people, you still haven’t solved the problem of how you’re going to get the quality of work that we aspire to in this organization, and that’s where teamwork and diversity come in,” Brodhead said. “I salute everyone who is honored today for the way you exemplify the values we want everyone to care about in every workplace at this university.”

View full award list at Duke Today


Lovest T. Alexander Jr.
Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Community and Family Medicine

Lovest T. Alexander Jr. and Ben Reese

The Duke Physician Assistant Program has strong recruitment partnerships with 17 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), from Morehouse College in Atlanta to North Carolina Central University in Durham, thanks to Lovest T. Alexander Jr.

Since 1986, Alexander has served as an intermediary between HBCUs and the program, as well as introduces the physician assistant profession to underrepresented students. Now, 25 percent of Duke Physician Assistant Program students are from underrepresented minority groups.

He also serves as an advocate for minority students in both the admissions process and after enrollment, and helps minority patients in his clinical practice and teaches physician assistant and medical students.

“Mr. Alexander is a role model and sought-out mentor for faculty, staff and students at Duke and beyond,” Nicholas Hudak, an assistant professor and clinical coordinator for the Physician Assistant Program, wrote in a nomination letter. “(He) is steadfast and authentic in fostering positive interactions between people from different cultural backgrounds.”


Jennifer A. Goins
Program coordinator, Department of Immunology

Jennifer A. Goins and President Brodhead

“My friends and I don’t have to talk about race. My race doesn’t impact day to day life, really; gender maybe, but not race. This acknowledgement put the term white privilege into a real context for me.”

This introspection is from Jennifer Goins’ monthly blog for the Department of Immunology, which raises questions and shares personal revelations about race, diversity and inclusion. Goins shares stories about race conversations she has held with her young children to relevant videos and articles.

She has served as the Department of Immunology’s representative on the School of Medicine Inclusion Council for three years, bringing important discussions back to her colleagues by holding in-person meetings and writing blog posts. 

“Jennifer has been disarmingly open, sincere, and even courageous, in revealing to her audience her own struggles and insecurities in facing these issues, what she is learning, and how she is bringing those lessons to bear on her own young family,” Michael Krangel, the Mary Bernheim Professor of Immunology and chair in the Duke Department of Immunology, wrote in a nomination letter. “In essence, she has made her personal journey a public one.”

Diversity & Inclusion Blog