Friday, May 28, 2010

MAO celebrates URM graduates and their accomplishments

TAKING CAREER STEPS: The URM graduates at the MAO reception

WITH ITS largest ever graduating class, the MGH Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO) marked the graduation of 44 underrepresented minority (URM) residents and fellows May 13 at an evening reception held at the Cambridge Multicultural Art Center. The graduating class reflects the most diverse group of residents and fellows in MGH history.

Offering warm congratulations to the class of 2010 was MAO Executive Director Elena Olson, who described several key accomplishments during the past year. These include the recruitment of 26 new URM residents in 15 programs in 2010, the creation of a MAO Facebook page for alumni to keep in touch and the launch of planning for an inaugural MAO alumni reunion to be held Feb. 11, 2011, in recognition of the MGH bicentennial.

Olson also gave special recognition to the Organization of Minority Residents and Fellows (OMRF), a subcommittee of the MAO. The 2009-2010 OMRF board, which is chaired by Karen Winkfield, MD, includes Fola May, MD, Andrea Jackson, MD, Audley Osbourne, MD, and Josue Vazquez, MD. The group has participated in recruitment and career development of URM trainees as well as outreach to the Boston community. This past year, the OMRF also organized the Haiti Relief Gala, raising more than $35,000 to benefit individuals affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. For their contributions, each OMRF leader was presented an Award for Service. Olson then announced the incoming OMRF board members: Taison Bell, MD, Oluseyi Ojeifo, MD, and Ken Shelton, MD. Osbourne will remain a board member as the 2010-2011 OMRF chair.

As a highlight of the event, Winfred Williams, MD, MAO Advisory Board co-chair, associate faculty member of the MGH Center for Human Genetic Research and senior transplant nephrologist, provided remarks. Williams, who is the founding director of the MAO, explained how he had been in the graduates' shoes more than 20 years ago and had been both "scared and excited" by the prospects of the future. He offered encouragement to the graduates: "So, as I reflect upon my career and those who I have seen develop around me, I have a simple message: 'In order to succeed in the world of academic medicine, you must be creative, tenacious and find good people to work with and leaders to support your work and ideas. This – in addition to good luck and timing – is the key to success no matter what health care career you choose.'"

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