In The News

2015 Herbert W. Nickens Award

The AAMC is soliciting nominations for its annual Herbert W. Nickens Awards.  These awards honor individuals who advance the educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.  We encourage you to disseminate this call for nominations and consider colleagues and students for these awards.  The nomination deadline for the three awards below is May 1, 2015.

The Herbert W. Nickens Presidential Award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in promoting justice in medical education and health care equity in the United States.  The recipient receives a $10,000 award and present the Herbert W. Nickens Lecture at the Learn Serve Lead: The 2015 AAMC Annual Meeting.  Nominees may come from the fields of medicine, dentistry, education, law, nursing, public health, or social and behavioral sciences.  

The Herbert W. Nickens Faculty Fellowship recognizes an outstanding junior faculty member who has held the assistant professor position no more than three years and has demonstrated leadership in the United States in addressing inequities in medical education and health care; demonstrated efforts in addressing educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities; and is committed to a career in academic medicine. The fellowship recipient receives a $15,000 grant to support their academic and professional activities.

The Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarships are awarded to five outstanding students entering their third year of medical school who have shown leadership in efforts to eliminate inequities in medical education and health care and demonstrated leadership efforts in addressing educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.  Each recipient receives a $5,000 scholarship.

For questions, please contact Angela Moses at 202.862.6203, email, or visit /

Dr. Ronny A. Bell Appointed to the ADA National Health Disparities Committee

Bell Ronny A
Ronny A. Bell, PhD, MS, professor, Epidemiology & Prevention and Director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, has been appointed to the ADA National Health Disparities Committee.

The ADA Health Disparities Committee will advise development of evidence-based Consumer Standards that are based on the Association’s “Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes”. The committee will provide expert guidance in the areas of content development, community education, outreach and training, and program evaluation for type 2 diabetes focusing on high risk populations most burdened by the disease.

 Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity

NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and to apply that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. To achieve this mission, NIH substantially invests in research to improve public health; it also devotes substantial resources to identify, develop, support and maintain the quality of its scientific resources, including human capital.

 The purpose of this notice is to provide an updated diversity statement that describes NIH's interest in the diversity of the NIH-funded workforce. This diversity statement was informed by a literature review, the reports and deliberations of several internal NIH committees, as well as input from Institute and Center officials, program staff and external stakeholders.  (see Notice here



Congratulations and welcome Dr. Amber Brooks as a faculty affiliate of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.

Brooks Amber Keller

Dr. Brooks is assistant professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine in the Inpatient Anesthesia Department.  Her clinical interests are quality improvement, handoff communications, mobility, function, and pain in the elderly patient.


Charlene  Hunt - NCAIHBNovember is American Indian Heritage Month, and in North Carolina we have particular cause to celebrate. Our state has the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi. This includes one federally recognized tribe—the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians—and several state-recognized tribes. 

“The largest tribe in the state, the Lumbee, is based in Robeson County,” said Charlene Hunt, program coordinator for the North Carolina American Indian Health Board in the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity. “Our state also has large concentrations of American Indians in urban regions, and there are urban Indian centers in Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Fayetteville.” (more)

Faculty Staff/Affiliates Recognized For Years of Service


Faculty Affiliates

 Arcury Thomas A Bowden Donald WCrandall Sonia J 
Thomas A. Arcury, Ph.D  Donald W. Bowden, Ph.D Sonia J. Crandall, Ph.D 
Family Medicine - 15 Yrs Biochemistry - 25 Yrs Physiciant Assist. Studies - 20 Yrs 
 Freedman Barry I McMichael Amy Opara Emmanuel C 
Barry I. Freedman, M.D. Amy McMichael, M.D.  Emmanuel C. Opara, Ph.D  
Internal Medicine-Nephrology - 25 Yrs Dermatology - 20 Yrs.  Regenerative Med. - 5 Yrs 
 Owen Medge D Pichardo-Geisinger Rita O Quandt Sara A 
Medge D. Owen, M.D.Rita O. Pichardo-Geisinger, M.D.  Sara A. Quandt, Ph.D  
OB Anesthesia - 20 Yrs Dermatology - 10 Yrs  PHS-Epidemiology - 20 Yrs  
 Stewart IV John H Vitolins Mara Z Wells Gretchen L 
John H. Stewart IV, M.D. Mara Z. Vitolins, Dr.P.H.  Gretchen L. Wells, M.D., Ph.D  
Surgery-Oncology - 10 Yrs  PHS-Epidemiology - 20 Yrs  Internal Med-Cardiovascular - 20 Yrs  


 Winona Gilbert Photo 2 1-22-15Sarah - New Photo 2012
Winona K. Gilbert Sarah Langdon, MPH, CHES 
Maya Angelou Center for Health  Equity  Maya Angelou Center for Health  Equity 

Grant Opportunities

System-Level Health Services and Policy Research on Health Disparities (R01) - The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit innovative system-level health services and policy research that can directly and demonstrably contribute to the elimination of health disparities.  (more

NIMHD Academic Research Enhancement Award: Enhancing Health Disparities Research at Undergraduate Institutions (R15) -  The NIMHD encourages institutions that are eligible to apply for support through the NIH Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) program to submit applications for innovative research projects focused on minority health and health disparities. Awards are intended to support small-scale projects proposed by faculty members at eligible institutions to expose students to meritorious research and to strengthen the research environment of participating institutions. This initiative also seeks to stimulate interest in health disparities research careers among undergraduate students through hands-on participation in original research.

Technologies for Improving Minority Health and Eliminating Health Disparities (R41/R42) -  This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites eligible United States small business concerns (SBCs) to submit Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications that propose to develop    a product, process or service for commercialization with the aim of reducing disparities in healthcare access and health outcomes.  Appropriate technologies should be effective, affordable, culturally acceptable, and deliverable to racial/ethnic minorities, low-income and rural populations.  (more)

Innovations for Healthy Living - Improving Minority Health and Eliminating Health Disparities (R43) -  This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites eligible United States small business concerns (SBCs) to submit Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications that propose to develop    a product, process or service for commercialization with the aim of reducing disparities in healthcare access and health outcomes.  Appropriate technologies should be effective, affordable, culturally acceptable, and deliverable to racial/ethnic minorities, low-income and rural populations. (more)


Dr. Maggie Werner-Washburne, President SACNAS is coordinating an effort through the Office of the Director at NIH to identify individuals from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in and competitive for positions at NIH ranging from post-doc to faculty to Institute Directors.

Regents Professor
Biology Department 
University of New Mexico
President, The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) 


Help Us Keep You Healthy

The Lifestyle Intervention For the Treatment of Diabetes (LIFT) research study will compare the effect of Diabetes Self-Management Education to a Community Program aimed at weight loss and increased exercise, in managing risk factors for developing diabetes complications.

You may qualify for the LIFT study if you:

  • are 21 or order
  • have type 2 diabetes
  • are overweight or obese

For more information, call the LIFT Diabetes study team at 336-713-2914.

Melicia Whitt-Glover photoMelicia C. Whitt-Glover, PhD, principal investigator at Gramercy Research Group in Winston-Salem, was recently approved as an external affiliate of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.  Her research interests include the role of physical activity in obesity prevention and control among racial and ethnic minority groups.






Stacy Marshall Photo     William Bradford Photo
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Features Wake Forest School of Medicine Fellows Project

Wake forest School of Medicine Fellows, Stacy Marshall and William Bradford's project, Using Cooking Lessons to Empower Families, was recently featured across The Albert Schweitzer's Fellowships communication platforms.  Their dedication to empowering families to live healthier lives is certainly inspiring.  Read project here.

Angelou Center  Helping Diabetics Live Better

Bertoni Alain
LIFT Diabetes stands for the Lifestyle Intervention for the Treatment of Diabetes by Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.  The project is designed to reduce diabetes- complications experienced by many groups including African Americans.  The project’s is consistent with the late Dr. Angelou’s goals of bringing social justice and optimal health for all people.

The Center for Disease Control recently reported that since 2010 the number of Americans with diabetes has grown by 3.3 million people to 29.1 million or 9.3 percent of the US population, with one of eight African American adults having the disease.  Each year 1.7 million adults are diagnosed. Medical costs are twice as high and risk of death is 50 percent higher for those with diagnosed diabetes compared to people without the disease.  (read Winston-Salem Chronicle article here).

Click here for more information about the LIFT Diabetes Project at the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.

Center Affiliate Publishes Book on HIV Prevention Research 

Rhodes Scott Duane
HIV continues to be a profound challenge facing communities nationally and internationally.  Until a vaccine or a cure is found, prevention remains a most crucial line of defense. However, the successes made to reduce exposure and transmission have not benefited all communities equally. HIV continues to affect vulnerable communities, and HIV-related health disparities are growing.

Scott D. Rhodes, PhD, MPH, CHES, professor in the Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy, and affiliate of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, has written and published the book, "Innovations in HIV Prevention Research and Practice Through Community Engagement".  

 Included in the book:

  • Details of a multigenerational HIV prevention intervention in a rural southeastern community.
  • The challenges and successes of developing, implementing, and evaluating an intervention for higher-risk predominately heterosexual black men in college.
  • The history of gay community involvement in HIV prevention and its contributions to the theory and current practice of engagement.
  • Next steps in the integration of HIV-related policy change and research.
  • Community engagement within American Indian communities.
  • Keys to sustaining a CBPR partnership to prevent HIV within ethnic, sexual, and gender minority communities.

For more details about the book and to order, click here

Grant Opportunity

NIDDK Clinician Scientist Mentoring Award to Promote Workforce Diversity (K05)

The purpose of the Clinician Scientist Mentoring Aware to Promote Workforce Diversity is to provide support to mid-career health-professional doctorates or equivalent (See Section III) for protected time to devote effort to basic, epidemiological or outcomes research and to act as research mentors to early-stage investigators from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research. Candidates for this award should have independent, peer-reviewed, research upport at the time of award and possess a demonstrated record of mentoring individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. The candidate's research should demonstrate a sustained level of
research productivity in the research areas supported by the NIDDK. The long-term objective of his funding opportunity is to provide mentors with protected time to enhance mentoring opportunities for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, thereby ensuring the availability
of a pool of scientists from diverse backgrounds to facilitate research within the mission areas of the NIDDK.  (more)

Dr. Phyllis Yeboah Becomes Center Affiliate

Phyllis K. Yeboah, M.B.Ch.B., assistant professor, hospital medicine, has been approved as a Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity affiliate. 




Statement is First to Describe Hispanic Burden of Heart Disease and Stroke (Carlos Rodriguez, M.D., M.P.H.)

Hispanic-Americans need a culturally tailored approach to improve their heart health, according to an American Heart Association statement - the first to describe the burden of heart disease and stroke among the diverse population with origins in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Central and South America.

A diverse population, Hispanics carry a heavy burden of heart disease and stroke.  (more)

Dr. Rodriguez is an affiliate of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.


University of Miss press release

Myrlie Evers-Williams Lends Name to UMMC Institute Bolstering Health Equality; Will Collaborate With The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.

JACKSON, Miss. – Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, helped dedicate the UMMC Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities during a ceremony today at the Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center.

The launch of the institute represents a new partnership between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Jackson State University College of Liberal Arts, and signifies the renaming of the Mississippi Institute for the Improvement of Geographical Minority Health Disparities, created to close the gap between those who receive proper medical care and those who don’t.

The revamped organization will focus on three main areas of concern in Mississippi: child health disparities, minority men’s health and research training – issues that resonate with Evers-Williams, who spoke to a gathering of an estimated 130 people.  (more)



Latham Sadler Remembers Maya Angelou
Brenda Latham-Sadler, MD
, Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, is interviewed by WXII about how she will best remember her mentor Dr. Maya Angelou and the impact she had on her life and career.


The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

    The Kate B. Reyenolds Charitable Trust is pleased to announce our grants process for the August 12, 2014 grant application deadline. The basic programmatic interests and eligibility criteria will also hold true for the February 2015 cycle. The Poor and Needy Division’s financial and human resources continue to be committed to improving the quality of life and health of financially disadvantaged individuals in Forsyth County.

    We encourage grant applications from local organizations, as well as organizations located outside of Forsyth County, if the project serves financially disadvantaged Forsyth County residents. We will not accept applications for projects serving individuals outside of Forsyth County.  (more

    Dr. Allyn Howlett Becomes Center Affiliate

    Howlett AllynAllyn Howlett, PhD has been approved/accepted as an affiliate of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity. 

    Dr. Howlett,  professor in Physiology & Pharmacology, is actively involved in the Center Research Training and Education Core and her research and training experiences are an excellent fit with our mission.

    Welcome Dr. Howlett.


    Charlene Hunt Accepted Into The NC Native Leadership Institute

    Charlene Hunt - NLI

    Charlene Hunt, program coordinator for the North Carolina American Indian Health Board, was recently accepted into The NC Native Leadership Institute (NLI).

    The Institute is the only culturally tailored leadership training program in the state for current and emerging Native leaders who are interested in sharpening their leadership skills, expanding their networks, and fostering unity across all tribes and Indian communities in North Carolina.  Participants are selected through a competitive application process and receive a scholarship to cover expenses related to mileage, overnight accommodations, food, books and supplies. 




    Dr. Ronny A. Bell Wins Alumni Award

    Dr. Ronny A. Bell
    , professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest School of Medicine, recently received the 2014 UNC University Diversity Alumni  Award.  Dr. Bell received his bachelor’s degree from UNC-CH in public health and nutrition. His primary research and clinical interests are chronic disease prevalence and risk factors, with particular emphasis on ethnic minority populations. He serves as chair of the North Carolina American Indian Health Board and as a member of the American Indian Alaska Native Workgroup for the National Diabetes Education Program. Dr. Bell is a member of the Lumbee Indian tribe of eastern North Carolina and serves on the advisory board for the UNC American Indian Center. (more)

    Diabetes Lecture Presented by Leonard E. Egede, MD, MS 

    Dr. Leonard E. Egede, Allen H. Johnson Endowed Chair, Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Health Disparities Research, Medical University of South Carolina, gave a lecture on April 4, 2014 entitled, "Technology-Assisted Case Management: An Innovative Approach to Diabetes Management".  This lecture was a part of the Irene Wharton Diabetes Lecture Series.

    Dr. Ronny Bell Delivers Zollicoffer Lecture at UNC Chapel Hill 

    Dr. Ronny Bell delivered the 34th Zollicoffer lecture at UNC Chapel Hill on February 21st, 2014.  Dr. Bell's lecture was entitled, "Health Disparities Among American Indians in North Carolina."  The Zollicoffer Lecture is held in recognition of the legacy of Dr. Lawrence Zollicoffer, the fourth African American graduate of the UNC School of Medicine and founder of the Garwyn Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, and is held in conjunction with a community service day and a banquet.  The event is sponsored by the UNC Student National Medical Association and the UNC School of Medicine.                                                       Zollifer Photo 

    Pictured from Left to Right:  Dr. Michael Zollicoffer, son of Dr. Lawrence Zollicoffer and chair of the UNC Board of Visitors, Dr. Bell, and Dr. Cedric Bright, Assistant Dean of Special Programs and Admissions in the Department of Medical Education at the UNC School of Medicine.

    Dr. Kathryn Weaver Wins Award

    Weaver Kathryn EDr. Kathryn Weaver was selected as the Early Career Investigator in Clinical Sciences in the 2014 Faculty Research Awards.   This is well-deserved recognition of Kate's accomplishments and her critical contributions to the success of other scientists.

    Awards will be presented (and awardees will briefly present their work) on May 13 from 11:30-2:00 in the Commons Conference Room in the Nutrition Building

    Dr. Weaver is an affiliate of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.


    Latham-Sadler To Be Honored at Black History Month Event

    Latham-Sadler Brenda ABrenda A. Latham-Sadler, MD, associate professor of family and community medicine and associate dean of student inclusion and diversity, will be honored at the Salem Lodge No. 139 Black History Month Community Awards Banquet & Robert A. Miller Scholarship Gala in Winston-Salem on February 22. Latham-Sadler is among several female community leaders that have been selected.

    The theme for this year's event focuses on women's contributions that help empower, uplift and improve the lives of those within the local community. In choosing to honor leading women and women's organizations, the Gala Planning Committee recognizes the change agents that women like Latham-Sadler have become in the community.


    Wharton Gladden Announces Major Gift to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center 

     (Greensboro, NC) November 5, 2013 - Boutique real estate investment banking firm Wharton Gladden & Company will partner with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to present an annual lecture series on diabetes research and prevention. The announcement came at the company's 10th anniversary party, held Friday, Nov. 1, at the Piedmont Club in downtown Winston-Salem.

    The $10,000 grant to fund the Irene Wharton Diabetes Lecture Series comes from the Power of One Fund, the charitable fund that Wharton Gladden established in 2009. The fund is administered by the National Christian Foundation in Raleigh.

    More than 75 clients and friends of the company attended the event, which was part of the club's monthly "First Friday with Friends" series.

    In his remarks to guests, Managing Director Algenon Cash looked back on the company's founding in 2003 and his decision to name the firm after Irene Wharton and Franklin Gladden, who largely inspired and mentored him.

    "Quite frankly, I never would've made it out of that little shotgun house in East Winston if it hadn't been for these extraordinary people," Cash said. "By naming the company Wharton Gladden, we honor not just their names, but the principles they lived by. Namely, that it's not enough that you just live; you have to live and serve. That's the kind of company we've built over the last 10 years."  (more)

    wharton-gladden photo 
    Pictured above:

    Algernon Cash, Managing Director, Wharton Gladden
    Alanna Linden, President, National Christian Foundation (Raleigh Branch)
    Andrea Jenkins, Major Gifts Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
    Ronny Bell, Director, Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, Wake Forest School of Medicine
    Don Bowden, Director, Center for Diabetes Research, Wake Forest School of Medicine


    Dr. Ronny Bell discusses National Health Disparities Month on WXII 12 news

    Watch Video


    Last Updated: 02-04-2015
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