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Hidden VUMC Figures event set for Oct. 16

Oct. 5, 2017, 9:35 AM

On Monday, Oct. 16, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) Office for Diversity Affairs will present “Hidden VUMC Figures,” a tribute to employees who have made significant long-term contributions to the Medical Center, often behind-the-scenes.

“I’ve been working on a historic timeline, initially of African-Americans, that will include all underrepresented groups at VUMC, and it recently struck me as we are trying to work on building a culture and environment around understanding the value of diversity and inclusion at Vanderbilt, I had something here that could help me begin to spotlight and honor these VUMC ‘hidden figures,’” said Andre Churchwell, M.D., Chief Diversity Officer.

The four honorees are James Phillips Sr., Audrey Hall, BSN, Howard Price and Dru Bratton-Newsom.

“It is an honor to be able to recognize these individuals who have served and continue to serve the Medical Center with distinction, dedication and commitment. Such individuals are the lifeblood of our organization,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

Phillips, who retired in 1995, was a Medical Center employee for 48 years and the longtime coordinator of Vanderbilt’s S.R. Light Laboratory Surgical Facility, where he was responsible for many successful experiments performed by surgical investigators.

Hall joined VUMC in 1964 and worked as a staff nurse in several areas, including the clinic, and became the first African-American head nurse at VUMC, working for Mildred Stahlman, M.D., professor of Pediatrics, a position she held until 1972.

Price joined VUMC in 1959, right out of high school. He started out in dietary services but advanced to the role of supervisor in the media glassware room in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, where he continues to work.

Bratton-Newsom began employment with Vanderbilt in 1966 where she worked as a ward clerk in the Emergency Department. For the past several years, she has worked in the Employee Service Center, where she continues to support and serve employees by answering their questions about benefits, pay checks, policies and more.

“We will be doing this over a period of years; it won’t be a one-time event,” Churchwell said. “We acknowledge in the context of those anonymous people who have worked here, there are those who are African-American in great abundance, but there are certainly others who have done great work who are of all races, ethnicities and cultures. We will be intentionally broad in our inclusion. We want all our employees to realize we value them.”

“Hidden VUMC Figures” will be held at noon in 208 Light Hall and is open to all Medical Center employees.

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