Three are recognized for their contribution to social justice

On Friday, Jan. 30, nearly 150 people attended the 2009 UCSF Martin Luther King Jr. Awards ceremony that recognized three members of the campus community who have championed efforts to promote diversity at UCSF. This year’s honorees are Katherine Flores, MD, assistant clinical professor of family and community medicine at UCSF Fresno; JoAnne Keatley, MSW, director of the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender HIV Prevention; and Bunly Pel, a fourth-year student in the School of Dentistry. Attendees heard remarks from the winners, enjoyed music from Bay Area Jazz trio the Mark Lee Ensemble, whose signature song for the event was “We Shall Overcome,” and ate chocolate cake. Each of the winners approached the podium with emotion before addressing the crowd. “I see the recognition I’m receiving here today as the cherry on the cake,” said Keatley, who has worked at UCSF and nationally to create awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health issues. “It is such a gift to be able to do work you are passionate about. It’s the work itself that is the gift.”

From left to right are JoAnne Keatley, director of the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender HIV Prevention; Bunly Pel, a fourth-year dental student; and Katherine Flores, assistant clinical professor of family and community medicine at UCSF Fresno.

Flores, who heads up the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research, gave credit to her colleagues. “Although I am honored to receive this award, it really belongs to my staff and program,” she said. For Pel, the award represented the work of leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and others who have sacrificed and struggled to offer a brighter future for the next generation. “I feel blessed about all of the opportunities I’ve had because of people who have come before me who cared about diversity in the health sciences,” said Pel. “This honor makes me feel like things have really come full circle.” The awards ceremony, the culminating celebration of a series of events, was hosted by Michael Adams, director of UCSF Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Photo by Susan Merrell