Three Win Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards at UC San Francisco

Susan Kools, who created a culturally and developmentally appropriate HIV prevention intervention for youngsters ages 10 to 14 in rural Malawi, is among the three to be honored with the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award at UCSF.

Three members of the UC San Francisco community will receive 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards for their exceptional leadership in advancing the goal of achieving greater ethnic and cultural diversity at the university.
The winners will be honored at a ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 26, from noon to 2 p.m. in Cole Hall on the Parnassus campus as part of the University’s celebration of the late civil rights leader’s life and legacy.
The 2012 awardees are:
• Susan Kools, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor in the Family Health Care Nursing Department in the UCSF School of Nursing;
• Damon Lew, manager of UCSF’s Community Outreach Internship Program (COIP) in the University Relations office; and
• Angela Echiverri, a fourth-year student in the UCSF School of Medicine.
Susan Kools has advocated for diversity in the School of Nursing for more than 14 years. A fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, she is internationally recognized as an expert and leader in increasing representation of diverse students and scholars at all levels of nursing.
Kools co-founded the Diversity in Action Committee and has co-chaired it since 2001. Under her guidance, the committee developed and implemented a six-module training course to enhance faculty skill and sensitivity in promoting feelings of inclusion and developing an optimal environment for learning.
She served on the School of Nursing’s Recruitment and Retention Committee for many years and as chair in 2007-2008. For the next two years, Kools chaired the Academic Senate’s Equal Opportunity Committee and also served for three years on the UC system wide Committee of Affirmative Action and Diversity.
Currently, Kools is project director for Nursing Leadership in Adolescent and Young Adult Education Health Program, a traineeship to prepare MS and PhD degree students for clinical, education, research and leadership roles with adolescents and young adults.
Damon Lew reconvened UCSF’s Community Outreach Internship Program (COIP) despite a growing recession in 2010, and is largely responsible for its success. He took the initiative to identify a funding mechanism and to overcome several obstacles.
COIP, which recently graduated its second class of interns since Lew took over, provides mentors to San Francisco residents who want to improve their lives. All of them have been getting government assistance or are homeless. COIP offers training and work experience to prepare people for the competitive job market, secure jobs and become self-sufficient.
The program gives adults with little or no work experience the tools to thrive in a work environment through developing skills, and it makes a wide range of training activities available. After a two-week assessment process, participants spend 10 weeks completing hard and soft skill training, including computer classes, interview techniques and basic job training. They also receive regular training seminars during placement and participate in a mentorship program with employee mentors at UCSF.
Angela Echiverri, a fourth-year student in the School of Medicine, matriculated as a student in the extremely selective UCSF Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved, an innovative initiative that provides skills and support to diverse medical students with demonstrated interest in working with urban underserved communities.
She is a champion for issues of diversity and health equity on campus. Echiverri was one of the leaders of a group of students who successfully advocated for the establishment of a Multicultural Center at UCSF and the appointment of a vice chancellor for Diversity and Outreach.
UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, accepted both recommendations and also recognized Echiverri’s pivotal role in the effort by naming her this year as one of the student representatives to the UCSF Committee on Culture, Climate and Inclusion.
Echiverri had previously served on the Chancellor’s Committee on Academic Diversity, Subcommittee on Diversity & Outreach and on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Education Subcommittee. Since 2009, she has been a member of the Admissions Committee for the UCSF School of Medicine, an immensely time-consuming commitment. In 2009, she was honored as a UCSF Champion of Diversity.
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