UAMS Holds Pride Celebration in Support of LGBTQ Community

By Chris Carmody

The LGBTQ+ Subcommittee of the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI) hosted the event, an informal affair where students and faculty members mingled over lunch and learned about LGBTQ resources available at UAMS and in Central Arkansas.

Gregory Robinson, Ph.D., associate professor of speech language pathology in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, said the celebration offered an important message for members of the LGBTQ community.

“Events like this are about showing that we’re accepted, that we don’t have to hide, that we are seen as valuable members of the UAMS community,” Robinson said.

“Today’s Pride Celebration is another example of UAMS’ commitment to all of this community — faculty, staff and students,” said Brian Gittens, Ed.D., MPA, vice chancellor of DDEI. “The division will continue meeting the need to develop programs and initiatives that foster a greater sense of belonging and create an environment where people of diverse backgrounds can express themselves freely.”

Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., UAMS provost and chief strategy officer; Michelle Krause, M.D., MPH, interim CEO of the UAMS Medical Center and interim senior vice chancellor for UAMS Health; and Thea Rosenbaum, M.D., MBA, chief clinical transformation officer for UAMS Health, were among the campus leaders who attended the event.

“We proudly celebrate members of Team UAMS from the LGBTQ community and their many contributions to our clinical, academic and research missions,” Gardner said. “Our academic health system serves a diverse population, so to be successful in reducing disparities and improving health — including among those in the LGBTQ community — we need the skills and commitment of a diverse workforce.”

Emily Freeman, MHSA, co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Subcommittee, said fostering a more inclusive campus requires a year-round effort. The subcommittee’s recent initiatives include adding pronoun placards to UAMS nametags and advocating for gender-neutral restrooms.

Earlier in October, UAMS hosted two other events in support of the LGBTQ community. A forum called “Being Queer at UAMS” featured a panel of employees who shared their workplace experiences, and a lecture titled “What the LGBTQ+?” focused on gender-affirming language and the importance of inclusivity in patient care.

“The idea behind all these events is that we want to make a safe space for the LGBTQ community at this university,” said Zachary Lewis, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine and co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Subcommittee. “There’s a lot of work that’s already been done. We want to increase the visibility of these efforts and continue finding areas where we can continue to educate and advocate.”