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The City of Orlando recently honored Dr. Lisa Barkley, assistant dean for diversity and a faculty physician at UCF Pegasus Health, and Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UCF College of Medicine, with BLUEPRINT Women of Distinction Awards.

The awards honor outstanding achievements in career, community leadership and personal character.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City Commissioner Daisy Lynum presented the awards, which were also sponsored by Gamma Phi Delta, the national business sorority. “This year’s five honorees displayed not only the remarkable leadership skills that make Orlando a better place to live and work, but their success has inspired the success of the next generation of women leaders,” Mayor Dyer said.

Other honorees were Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Orange County’s school superintendent; Dr. Falecia Williams, president of Valencia College’s west campus; and community activist and business owner Tolan Trinh-Le.

The awards were presented March 7 during a fundraising event for the Orlando Medical Careers Partnership, a collaborative effort to bring healthcare jobs and training to the city’s underserved communities. The awards event raised more than $20,000 to help eligible students with tuition, books, and lab fees to attend Orlando Tech and Valencia College. The College of Medicine’s HEAL (Health Explorers and Leaders) program, which helps prepare students in Orange and Osceola counties for healthcare careers, is part of the medical careers partnership effort.

Dr. Barkley leads the HEAL program. In accepting her award, she emphasized the importance of mentors and “authentic” leaders in encouraging young people. “I am a physician today because mentors in my life encouraged me to dream big. They helped me to ask, ‘Why not me?’” she said. “They inspired me not to give up, to focus and work harder to get the skills I needed to graduate from college and medical school. They taught me how, when others said I couldn’t it—or my own heart plagued me with doubts—to ignore those feelings and take action. Step up. Focus. Keep trying. Just do it.”

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