At MLK celebration, speaker encourages support of ‘beloved community’

By Kristen O’Reilly and Bryan Goodchild

UMass Medical School Communications

January 27, 2014

The UMass Medical School community celebrated service in the name of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 27, honoring students, faculty and staff who represent Dr. King’s assertion that “everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

Keynote speaker Reed V. Tuckson, MD, used the words of Dr. King to encourage attendees to create and support a “beloved community” where the oppressed and the oppressor establish a different relationship, nonviolence is chosen over violence, and fear is mastered without paralysis.

“As Dr. King said himself, time itself is neutral. It can be used constructively or destructively. Progress comes through the tireless efforts of people willing to be coworkers with God,” said Dr. Tuckson, managing director of the health and medical care consultancy at Tuckson Health Connections. “Without that hard work, time becomes the ally of social stagnation . . . Brothers and sisters I suggest now is the time to get back to work.”

Chancellor Michael F. Collins presented Chancellor’s Awards to two members of the UMMS community who exemplify the institution’s commitment to diversity and civility. The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity was presented to Jeroan Allison, MD, MSci, professor and vice chair of quantitative health sciences, professor of medicine and associate vice provost for health disparities research, for his “passionate and principled support of fairness, equality and diversity principles.”

“In a relatively short time, you have emerged as an indispensable and inspiring leader on campus,” said Chancellor Collins. “With an unassuming presence and a quiet determination, you have set about protecting and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, access and understanding, establishing these as cornerstone values of the commonwealth’s public medical school.”

[From left] Deborah L. Plummer, PhD, UMMS vice chancellor for human resources, diversity and inclusion; Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Civility winner Michael Kneeland, MD, MPH; Chancellor Michael F. Collins; Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity winner Jeroan Allison, MD, MSci; keynote speaker Reed V. Tuckson, MD; and Milton Anderson, senior vice president/chief human resources officer at UMass Memorial Health Care.

The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Civility was presented to Michael Kneeland, MD, MPH, clinical professor of family medicine & community health and medicine, associate dean for allied health and interprofessional education, and interim associate dean for student affairs and continuing medical education, for his “principled actions that have enriched our academic community.”

“You embrace and embody the values that are at the core of our institution,” said Collins. “Through your actions, you have become a well-respected role model who raises the expectations for our civility standards and, more than that, makes this medical school a special place to work and to thrive.”

Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, announced the five student teams who won Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Student Awards. The students will use the $500 awards to tackle hunger with farm-fresh foods, help the poor quit smoking, teach young immigrants to eat healthy and exercise, encourage Latino youth to choose careers in science, and teach health education to teenagers in prison.
Read more about the projects here.

Jim Leary, vice chancellor for community and government relations, introduced a video [above] highlighting the 42,000 hours of service members of the UMMS community provided last year to the local community. He also reported that UMMS collectively donated the most money to the 2013 COMECC fundraising campaign, the only authorized charitable campaign for state employees. This year, donations to COMECC from UMMS employees were up 9 percent, representing $345,000—20 percent of the total raised by the entire campaign.

Related links on UMassMedNow:

Honoring MLK, students seek to strengthen community relationships

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