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Ida Gray Awards highlight DEI Day

From left: Dr. Todd Ester, Dr. Henry Temple, Carlotta Fantin-Yusta, Dr. Ken May, Teresa Patterson, Cheryl Quiney, Dean Laurie McCauley.

Multicultural Affairs Committee co-chair Cheryl Quiney (right) gives a hug to Dean Laurie McCauley after presenting an award of appreciation from the MAC for the Dean's Office contributions to the committee. At left is MAC co-chair Dr. Henry Temple.

Members of the MAC who attended DEI Day join Dean McCauley.  From left: Dr. Ken May, Carlotta Fantin-Yusta, Gail Oljace, Sandra Alias, Peter Liang, Dr. Henry Temple, Dean McCauley, Cheryl Quiney, Dr. Todd Ester, Mary Jo Gray, John Girdwood, Jae Han, Milad Karim and Emily Yanca.

Multicultural Affairs Committee celebrates 20th anniversary

Ann Arbor, Mich., Feb. 22, 2017 -– A celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Multicultural Affairs Committee was the backdrop Wednesday as the School of Dentistry presented its annual Ida Gray Awards.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Day ceremony honored the many MAC members and school administrators who have worked over the last two decades to create a welcoming atmosphere for the diverse community of students, faculty, staff and patients.

This year’s Ida Gray Awards were presented to Dr. Ken May, faculty; Teresa Patterson, staff; and Carlotta Fantin-Yusta, student.  The award honors individuals who have contributed to the advancement of diversity and who have improved the climate for work, learning, research and patient care.  The award is named for Dr. Ida Gray, the first African American woman in the country to earn a DDS when she graduated from the School of Dentistry in 1890. She was also the first black woman to practice dentistry in Chicago.

May, associate professor in the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences and Division of Prosthodontics, was cited for his longstanding commitment to diversity in working with students, colleagues and patients.  The nomination included his clinic work with underserved populations, including Native Americans, and his mentoring of numerous minority student groups.  He is also a past director of the school’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Recruitment Initiatives.

Patterson, a staffer in Dental Stores, was lauded as someone who embodies the core values of the Ida Gray Award, contributing to a climate of care, acceptance and welcoming. One nominator called her “the most caring person at the Dental School.” Others said she seems like a family member and that her positive attitude transfers to those she helps as she does her job.

Fantin-Yusta, a third-year student, has quietly but persistently taken on the role of making the school a better place, nominators said.  “She constantly works to create the climate of care and acceptance and welcoming that we’re celebrating today,” one of the nominators said. “It’s genuinely about creating an environment that is accepting of everyone, especially marginalized groups, and that’s the bottom line.  Very, very admirable.”

Dean Laurie McCauley said the formation of the MAC 20 years ago, which followed a cultural audit at the school, was ahead of its time. “For most of the people in our school, it’s part of the fabric of who we are.  You may just say, isn’t this what everybody has?  I can tell you, no, that’s not the case.  Our MAC has been held up on campus as being an exemplar of what a unit should be.”

In a video recounting the history of the MAC, Dr. Todd Ester, director of diversity and inclusion, applauded the efforts of the many contributors over the years.  “It was very important to have a place where staff, faculty and students could come together, learn together, celebrate together and challenge ourselves to be the best we can be,” he said. “Through that creation of the MAC and working together and hearing diverse perspectives from all various entities and constituents here in the school, … we have grown to be an amazing committee.”

The group coordinates many activities throughout the year, including events celebrating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Women’s History Month Tea, a Taste of Culture food event, Veteran’s Day observance and a regular slate of Continuing Education and “Getting to Know You” lunch-and-learn topics throughout the year. It publishes “The Multicultural Mirror,” an electronic newsletter that explores the many cultures brought together at the school. The MAC also is currently engaged in developing a Cultural Competency Training module for the school.

Cheryl Quiney, patient care coordinator in Patient Services, was one of the original co-chairs of MAC when it was formed in 1996 and is a current co-chair with Dr. Henry Temple.  She and Dr. Marita Inglehart have served on the MAC since its origin.  As Quiney led the program Wednesday, she said looking back at the archives and photos for the 20th anniversary caused her to reflect on the substantial accomplishments and impressive commitment by the School of Dentistry community. “It was amazing and heartwarming to look at those pictures and remember what was going on at that time,” she said. “We’re family and I’m thankful.”


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The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.
 
Contact:
School of Dentistry writer Lynn Monson at dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.