Drs. Beatrice Boateng, Ph.D., (second from left) and Martha Rojo, Ph.D., R.N., were joined following the awards ceremony by UAMS Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., (far left) and Billy R. Thomas, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion.

UAMS Translational Research Institute faculty Beatrice Boateng, Ph.D., and Martha Rojo, Ph.D., R.N., were among those recognized Wednesday at UAMS’ 2017 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Awards Ceremony.  Boateng won the faculty award, while Rojo was a faculty nominee. Both are dedicated to their work for TRI and making health care and research more diverse and inclusive at UAMS.

As an evaluator for TRI, Boateng works to improve diversity among researchers at UAMS. In 2016, she led a campus-wide survey to assess the institutional climate on diversity and inclusion, including its effect on the recruitment and retention of a diverse academic body.

Additional indicators of Boateng’s commitment to diversity are:

  • Her work with the UAMS Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) where she collaborates with the Graduate School to provide workshops on developing electronic career portfolios. This project supports underrepresented minority students in UAMS’ biomedical graduate programs.
  • Her service as a mentor on the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), which is made up of mentors and trainees nationally and provides trainees with evidenced-based mentorship.

“Dr. Boateng’s diversity efforts expand beyond individual characteristics to cross-professional inclusion,” her nomination letter states. In collaboration with UAMS’ Mary Aitken, M.D., and with the support of TRI, Boateng, an associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, has been working for more than two years to enhance mentorship at UAMS. She kicked off these efforts by facilitating a mentor training session led by visiting faculty from the University of Wisconsin and followed up by receiving facilitator training in 2016. In 2017, Boateng spearheaded the first independent training at UAMS, a one-day overview workshop for mentor development. Her efforts to include a diverse group of faculty in the effort and the positive impact it had on attendees was evident in their feedback.

Rojo serves on TRI’s Recruitment Unit Team, where she has led efforts to recruit research participants from the Hispanic community.

An assistant professor in the UAMS College of Nursing, Rojo “brings a focus and commitment in her many roles at UAMS with one common denominator: the priority to engage and integrate special populations into clinical research and educational outreach programs,” her nomination letter states.

Wednesday’s awards ceremony kicked off a series of UAMS events related to diversity and inclusion during September.