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Presidential Stronger As One Diversity Awards

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2024 Presidential Stronger as One Diversity Awards. The event highlighted the impact and achievements of the award winners and celebrated diversity and inclusion on our campus. More than a hundred people gathered in the Feldman Ballroom to honor the recipients and reinforce our commitment to making the University of Rochester an ever more inclusive place.

(L-R) President Sarah Mangelsdorf, Thomas Greenwood, Dr. Jahaira Capellan, Dr. Saabirah Campo, Dr. Caren Gellin, Dr. Jill Halterman, Elizabeth Davila, Karen Rogers, Dr. Marvin Doyley, and Dr. Adrienne Morgan at the 2024 Presidential Stronger As One Diversity Awards reception in Feldman Ballroom January 25, 2024. // photo by Matt Wittmeyer for the University of Rochester 


Advocacy and Action Award: Dr. Marvin Doyley

This award recognizes staff, postdoctoral fellows, or faculty who exemplify excellence in developing and sustaining an infrastructure to support equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Dr. Marvin Doyley, Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. When Dr. Doyley became chair, he established his commitment to diversity from the very beginning. He felt that diversity was an area in which he felt the department needed much improvement and worked tirelessly to change the culture and the practice in the department for the better.

Among the many reasons cited as evidence of his commitment, in 2020 Dr. Doyley formed the DEI committee for Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). The mission of the committee is to empower ECE faculty, staff, and students to identify areas for improvement in equity and inclusion.

In August 2020, Dr. Doyley applied to the National Science Foundation for the University of Rochester to become a site for Research Experiences for Undergraduates, an effort that was fully funded by the NSF. The first two years of the program were very successful, with more than 100 undergraduates applying each year for the research opportunities. So far, 21 students have successfully completed their 10-week research experience. The third year of the program will take place this summer.

Inclusive Workforce Award: Department of Pediatrics at URMC

This award recognizes a department, school, or program that aims to enhance recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, and/or students.

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, under the leadership of Dr. Jill Halterman, Saabirah Campo, Dr. Jessica Shand, Dr. Caren Gellin, Nicola Burroughs, and Thomas Greenwood, has made significant and measurable change in the inclusivity of its environment and the diversity of its staff.

The leadership of the Department of Pediatrics demonstrates a commitment to fostering an environment that embraces diversity through establishing a culture of intentional anti-racism through monthly department-wide DEI micro-learnings and enhancements that integrate DEI into their curriculum.

To bring the values of equity and inclusion to recruitment, the department utilizes guidelines developed by the AAMC to identify individuals who share a commitment to these values, actively enhancing diversity among medical center faculty and staff, as well as for patients and their families.

To help retain diverse departmental staff, leadership has implemented retention strategies such as conducting annual compensation equity reviews and assigning mentors to all junior faculty members. These strategies have proven effective; recruitment data show a significant increase in the number of under-represented medicine candidates interviewed and an impressive 36% of under-represented residents matching in the past year. These results exceed national pediatric resident diversity data.

*The award was received by Saabirah Campo, MD and Caren Gellin, MD on behalf of the Department of Pediatrics.

Change Maker Award: Dr. Jahaira Capellan

This award recognizes a student or students (undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral) and/or a student organization that aims to cultivate a fair and just climate, culture, and community with an equitable, diverse, and inclusive lens at the UR and/or its surrounding communities.

As a postdoctoral fellow, dedicated Family Nurse Practitioner, and tireless advocate for Latinx health and language equity, Dr. Jahaira Capellan exemplifies exceptional commitment, unwavering passion, and remarkable efforts in advancing equity and inclusion in research and healthcare. Her research has focused on better understanding the parenting practices and needs of the Spanish speaking Puerto Rican community of Rochester. In her doctoral work she explored Latin parenting skills, eventually helping build a more comprehensive understanding of Puerto Rican parenting and feeding practices which she hopes to use to formulate an intervention to help address the obesity epidemic amongst Puerto Ricans.

Dr. Capellan is also an active member of the Cancer Support Community and the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. Within these organizations, she has advocated for the importance of providing resources in Spanish. She is also an active member of the Latino Health Coalition. At the institutional level, she has advocated for the inclusion of Spanish payment information for participants who are enrolled in clinical studies. She is also interested in developing a Latinx research hub to help facilitate research with the Latinx community by building community partnerships, trust, and streamlining the Research Subjects Review Board process for those who want to do research with Spanish speakers. Finally, in her role as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Capellan has consistently demonstrated empathy, compassion, and respect for the diverse backgrounds and needs of her patients.

Bridge to Equity Award: Natalie Johnson

This award recognizes a member from a bargaining group who aims to initiate and lead action for eliminating equity gaps for disproportionately impacted people and communities at the University.

Natalie Johnson, a patient unit secretary on Unit 7-3400, has been an employee of Strong Memorial Hospital for over forty years. Over this time, Ms. Johnson has brought her professional skills, work ethic, and knowledge of University policies to help her fellow union members. Her colleagues describe Miss Natalie as “an incredible asset for our Bargaining Unit.”

Ms. Johnson brought her depth of understanding and commitment to her work as a union delegate for seven years and her recent work as Chief Nursing Delegate for the last four years. Ms. Johnson has worked to establish relationships with management that has proved beneficial for both the union and the medical center. Her commitment and dedication make her a role model to other delegates and union members.

*The award was received by Elizabeth Davila on behalf of Ms. Johnson.

Social Impact Award: Karen Rogers, founder and CEO of EE Pathways Health, Wellness, and Lifestyle Studio, LLC

This award recognizes a Greater Rochester community organization and/or member of the Rochester community who aims to address racial and social justice issues facing the greater community.

When Karen Rogers created EE Pathways (formerly Exercise Express), it became the only Black-owned Home and Community-Based Services provider in Rochester serving Medicaid recipients. Ms. Rogers improves the health and well-being of impoverished, under-served community members through community-engaged education, peer recovery, and exercise. However, her business is merely a base from which she does far more as a community leader, advocate, and role model.

In Monroe County as of 2014, Black and Latino individuals had higher rates than whites of the top five causes of premature mortality, including cancer, heart disease, injury, homicide, and diabetes. Disturbingly, those living in the poorest areas lived an average of 10 years less than those living in the richest county areas. EE Pathways works directly with those who have these striking healthcare disparities. Ms. Rogers does far more than run an exercise business in her community outreach, hosting community bike rides, food giveaways, and outdoor health fairs.

With URMC Psychiatry, Ms. Rogers is participating in three grant-funded projects to serve her community. Through these projects, she helps to provide primary care, health and social service navigation, and health and wellness activities to women who have experienced incarceration, trauma, and/or substance use disorders, as well as to underserved older and disabled adults.

In all of her activities, she is a role model of positive energy, drive, and strength for her employees, her clients, and her community and academic partners.

 Empowering Equitable Change Award: Mary-Frances Winters

This award recognizes a member of the Board of Trustees who aims to advance the University of Rochester’s mission by bringing an equitable, diverse, and inclusive lens to bear on their involvement at the University.

Mary-Frances Winters is an alumna and a trailblazer who has made an indelible mark on the history of this institution as the first Black woman on the Board of Trustees. Joining the board in 1987, Ms. Winters has she has given generously of her time, expertise, and experience for the betterment of our community. She is a CEO, an author, a nationally recognized thought leader, and a testament to what’s possible when passion meets purpose. Our University has benefited greatly from her involvement.



For information about previous year awardees, click here. For questions, concerns or comments, please email