Dr. Lisa Barkley, a physician at UCF Pegasus Health and the College of Medicine’s assistant dean of diversity and inclusion, received a “Women of Distinction” award September 22 from UCF’s Center for Success of Women Faculty. Dr. Barkley was honored for her efforts in social justice and sustainability, specifically, for her work to “prepare tomorrow’s doctors to be culturally competent, compassionate leaders who will improve healthcare for all.”
Dr. Barkley was one of three honorees. Dr. Gabriela Rios, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric in the College of Arts and Humanities was honored for her leadership in bringing diverse students together for community efforts. Dr. Martha S. Lue Stewart, professor in the College of Education and Human Performance, was honored for her work with exceptional, multicultural and urban students.
The awards were presented at the university’s Welcome Reception for Women Faculty.
Dr. Barkley is board-certified in family, adolescent and sports medicine. After coming to the medical school in 2010, she pioneered the College of Medicine’s Health Leaders program, a pipeline that exposes students from medically underserved communities to career options in research and healthcare. The program began with Orlando’s Jones High School and has now expanded to two middle schools and high schools in Osceola County. The first cohort of Jones students who completed the three-year Health Leaders program graduated last June. All are going to college – some on full scholarships – and all are planning to major in health-related studies. “This program is really connected to our mission at the College of Medicine, which is to be a premiere medical school that’s here for us all,” Dr. Barkley said.
“Diversity and inclusion are core values at the College of Medicine,” said Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean Dr. Deborah German. “Dr. Barkley is a champion who teaches us through example to celebrate the differences that make us stronger. She is incredibly deserving of this Women of Distinction award for social justice and sustainability.”
In to caring for patients and serving as assistant dean, Dr. Barkley leads the “Culture, Health and Society,” longitudinal curricular theme (LCT), one of several relevant, interdisciplinary topics that are woven into the medical school curriculum. That particular LCT is based on the idea that to deliver high-quality healthcare, a physician needs a deeper understanding of the sociocultural background of patients, their families and the environments in which they live. And students must also develop a keener understanding of their own backgrounds and beliefs to serve others.
Dr. Barkley said she is “honored” by the Women of Distinction award. “I never thought of myself as an activist,” she said. “I just advocate for things I feel passionate about. I’m honored that some of those things ‘stuck’ and have made a difference.”