This past weekend, the UVA Medical Alumni Association hosted Black Medical Alumni Weekend, welcoming back 85 alumni, students and guests to Grounds for a weekend of celebration, reconnection and recognition.
“The genuine friendships we form during medical school are like a covalent bond; instead of a bond between molecules, they are a lifelong bond between people.” ~ Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS, Senior Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion UVA School of Medicine
The weekend was designed by alumni volunteers of the Black Medical Alumni Weekend Planning Committee and Black Medical Alumni Engagement Group. Events kicked off on Friday with a walking panel and tour of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, a reception for donors of the Wood Nash Bicentennial Scholarship Fund, and a networking event for alumni and students at the Graduate Hotel. On Saturday morning, the group came together for a meaningful morning program of presentations, including remarks from Tracy Downs, MD, FACS, regarding the School’s DEI efforts and community engagement, an alumni and student panel sharing experiences of the Black community across generations, and a moving recognition ceremony of some of the community’s pioneers. This ceremony honored Edward T. Wood, MD ’57, one of the first two Black graduates of the School of Medicine, Bill Womack, MD ’61, Judy Pointer, Moses Woode, PhD, and Maurice Apprey, PhD. On Saturday evening, a gala event was hosted at the Omni Hotel to recognize the contributions of the former dean, David Wilkes, MD.
The event was three years in the making, having been postponed twice due to the pandemic. Anastasia Williams, MD ’98 summed it up in her remarks during the gala: “Over the past several years, we have each been stretched to our limits, challenged by the pandemic in more ways than we can count. Our colleagues have been put through the wringer. We’ve lost loved ones, some of whom should be in this room with us tonight. And yet, we come together tonight to celebrate, to remember, and to hold each other up. Because this is who we are. This is the community we have built.”
In addition to those mentioned above and among many others, noteworthy attendees included: Vivian Pinn, MD ’67, namesake of Pinn Hall and Pinn College; Sherita Hill Golden, MD ’94, who was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine; Joel Bruce, MD ’87, president-elect of the Medical Alumni Association; Taison Bell, MD, who moderated the alumni-student panel; and UVA School of Medicine Dean Melina Kibbe, MD.