Psychiatry hands out first DEI Legacy awards

Last month, the Department of Psychiatry handed out the inaugural DEI Legacy awards. The award is presented to faculty, staff or trainees who exemplify a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in service, teaching, and/or advocacy for a long-lasting legacy.

Ali DeLizza, PhD; Michaelyn Everhart, MD; Laura Schutte-Lundy, LIMHP, LADC; Sheritta Strong, MD, DPAPA; and Madeline West, MD, were the initial five honorees.

Dr. DeLizza said she honored to win the award with four other women in medicine.

“Lots of work still to be done for equity, inclusion, and more diversity in mental health care, but with these ladies on the job, I have faith we can make a difference,” Dr. DeLizza said.

In 2021, Dr. Strong was named Assistant Vice-Chancellor of Inclusion at UNMC.

“The inaugural DEI Legacy Award represents major cultural changes over time that are not just performative but strategic and structural,” Dr. Strong. “I’m thankful to be one of the first recipients and motivated to continue to ‘be the change we wish to see.’”

In 2020, Dr. DeLizza and Schutte-Lundy were named co-chairs of the DEI Committee in the Department of Psychiatry.

Schutte-Lundy was honored for her work on the DEI committee with not only the Legacy Award but also the Reba Benschoter Inspirational Leadership Award.

“So proud of my DEI co-chair,” said Dr. DeLizza. “She’s an incredible leader in this department and absolutely deserves all of the recognition for the countless hours she spends working to make it a more inclusive and excellent place!”

Dr. Everhart, a second-year resident, was honored for, among other things, her work on social media.

“Being selected for the DEI Legacy Award is truly an honor,” Dr. Everhart said. “I admire each of the other awardees and all the amazing work they are doing every day. I am delighted to be included among this list of women paving the way for their legacy, and I am feeling motivated to continue fighting the fight.”

The award was created in 2021 after recommendations from the DEI Committee and Department of Psychiatry Chair Howard Liu, MD, MBA.

“What an impact each of these leaders has made on the culture of our department! Bravo to our DEI Legacy winners for helping us become a more inclusive and welcoming table for everyone,” said Dr. Liu.

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