Evans and Saint-Surin receive Inclusive Excellence Award

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Duke School of Medicine is honoring two members of the Department of Medicine as 2020 recipients of the Michelle P. Winn Inclusive Excellence Award.

Kimberley Evans, MD, associate professor of medicine (Nephrology) and chair of the DOM Minority Recruitment and Retention Committee (MRRC), receives the award in the faculty category.

Tamara Saint-Surin, MD, a 2020 graduate of the Duke Internal Medicine Residency Program, receives the award in the resident category. Dr. Saint-Surin is now doing academic primary care at UNC.

The annual award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to diversity and inclusion within the Duke School of Medicine community, is named for the late Michelle Winn, MD, associate professor of medicine (Nephrology) who passed away in 2014. Dr. Winn was respected and beloved by her colleagues and she was deeply committed to diversity and inclusion and to the careers of younger physicians and scientists who orbited around her.

Role model and mentor

Dr. Evans is being celebrated for her leadership efforts and a commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion within the Department of Medicine and in the greater community.

 “Her tireless work for the MRRC to reach a variety of audiences is vitally important to the priorities of the Department of Medicine to provide a safe, positive, and equitable environment for all,” says Kathleen Cooney, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine.

In a nomination letter that detailed the many ways that Evans has advanced diversity in the Department of Medicine, Laura Svetkey, MD, MHS, vice chair for faculty development and diversity, praised Evans for serving as a role model and mentor to many learners and colleagues.

“Dr. Evans has made a real difference both to the numbers and the experience of individuals from under-represented groups in the Department of Medicine,” she wrote, explaining how Evans has provided ongoing career development seminars, mentorship, informal coaching, sponsorship and advocacy for faculty, trainees, and medical students from under-represented groups.

As just one example of her effective leadership in diversity and inclusion, Evans spearheaded and hosts a “second look” visit for intern applicants from under-represented groups so they can learn more about Duke, meet other doctors of color, and be assured of a warm welcome if they choose to train at Duke. This initiative has been adopted by multiple other clinical departments.

Evans is also a leader in the Department’s Civility Champions initiative and in it’s current efforts to amplify diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts in the Department and School of Medicine.

As a friend and colleague of the late Winn, Evans is a part of Winn’s legacy of inclusive excellence.

Fostering community

As a medical student at the at the University of Virginia, Dr. Saint-Surin held local and national leadership roles in the Student National Medical Society. When she came to Duke for her internal medicine residency, she co-founded the GME-wide Minority Housestaff Council with pediatrics resident Shaunte McKay, MD. This cross-residency program group fosters community and brings under-represented in medicine housestaff together for social and leadership development activities.

“Tamara is a rising star, someone who brings the best qualities of Dr. Winn to the housestaff program,” says Aimee Zaas, MD, program director of the Duke Internal Medicine Residency.

Dr. Zaas recognized Saint-Surin for being a leader in championing civility across the residency training program and helping bring additional training to housestaff at the Durham VA Medical Center.

Dr. Saint-Surin served as the program’s national representative to the Student National Medical Association, and she sought leadership roles in bringing diversity to the residency program through recruitment.

Saint-Surin’s peers, likewise, praised her efforts.

“Tamara is a leader who is passionate and driven to create a more diverse and inclusive environment at Duke and beyond. She has spearheaded multiple initiatives that have led to programmatic changes to accomplish this goal,” said Nancy Yang, MD, a 2020 graduate of the residency program and now a fellow in Gastroenterology.