February 7, 2017

Commemorating Dr. King through word and song at MLK Day morning reception

Andre Churchwell

Andre Churchwell

[This article provided by VUMC Human Resources]

Employees across Vanderbilt University Medical Center gathered on MLK Day to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and dream about the best ways they can fulfill his dream. This is the second year that the Medical Center has hosted employees at a morning reception to reflect and celebrate the life and legacy of King.

The morning program began with Traci Nordberg, chief human resources officer, welcoming employees and special guest, Dave Gordon, M.D., dean of the University of Akron College of Health Professions. Later that day Gordon gave the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture at Vanderbilt, touching on the theme of teamwork as it relates to health care diversity.

The crowd then heard from Andre Churchwell, M.D., who began as the VUMC chief diversity officer last year. Churchwell told employees that when he was charged to take this role, he recognized that for VUMC to be successful, he needed to view diversity and inclusion as a journey. “It is not something we will finish next month or next year,” he said.

He also shared his thoughts about King. He said that in our lifetime we have seen people like King and Nelson Mandela challenge us to reach for the best in the human experience. He talked about what diversity has done to make our organization the best. “Board rooms don’t look like they did in the 1960s,” was one example that he shared.

He also left employees with this parting remark: “As you return to your jobs and duties this morning, the function of education it to think deeply and correctly.”

The morning ended with employees enjoying inspirational performances by Kamyl Harvey, Jared Dalton, Lindsey Lomis and Myles-Amir Harlan — four artists who answered the call to share their talent with everyone that morning.

The MLK Morning program was a powerful and important reminder of the legacy Martin Luther King Jr. left and the impact it has had on celebrating the beauty of diversity at VUMC.

Participants in MLK Day morning reception

Participants in MLK Day morning reception