Exceptional Individuals Awarded for Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Congratulations to the 2023 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award recipients. Five remarkable individuals have been recognized for their outstanding commitment to the university’s shared values, especially the values of diversity and innovation, and inclusion and equity.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni who champion diversity at Ohio State are eligible to be nominated for the annual Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award. A selection committee deliberates in choosing five deserving recipients who are enhancing diversity, promoting inclusion and building Ohio State’s legacy.

In recognition of their commitment, recipients are chosen based on their demonstrated efforts of advancing diversity through curriculum, mentorship, programs or policies and making inclusion part of Ohio State’. Recipients are also honored for modeling Ohio State’s values and making diversity and inclusion a top priority in areas of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and economic or political status.

Congratulations to the 2023 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award recipients:

Headshot of Alexander AbreoAlexander Abreo
4th Year Student
College of Arts and Sciences, College of Medicine

Alexander Abreo is a creative, driven and intellectually curious student who has a passion for medicine and social justice. He is a Morrill Scholar, Harry S. Truman Scholarship National Finalist, and an active supporter of many Office of Diversity and Inclusion programs, serving as a student ambassador in alumni and donor engagement activity. Alexander cares deeply about mentorship and educating others in diversity and inclusion topics, focusing on inequities in medicine and healthcare. Alexander launched a podcast that features health experts and researchers as well as founded the student organization Buckeyes Racial/Ethnic Equity Awareness Centered in Healthcare (BREACH). Among many other activities in his campus and Columbus communities, Alexander provides emotional support and companionship for terminally ill patients at the James Cancer Hospital and a local hospice memory care clinic; and he initiated a project with free clinics in Columbus in which he photographs interactions between patients and healthcare workers to raise awareness of the necessity of free clinics in the U.S.

Headshot of Kent 'Kip' CurtisKent “Kip” Curtis
Associate Professor
College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
The Ohio State University at Mansfield

Dr. Kip Curtis is an inspiring, innovative leader who is well known for his advocacy and development of the Mansfield Microfarm Project. The project creates a more sustainable urban food system in under-resourced neighborhoods, breaks up food deserts and increases economic opportunities for people who have been socioeconomically marginalized. The project advances social justice and equity through sustainable agriculture to ensure the steady production of fresh produce and its distribution to local communities. Through establishing relationships with schools and community organizations, Dr. Curtis has expanded the program and is replicating his model in small cities across Ohio.

Headshot of Simone DrakeSimone Drake
Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor of English
College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English

Simone Drake is an accomplished scholar of Black popular culture, film, literature and visual art of the Americas and U.S. legal studies, whose interdisciplinary work examines constructions of race, gender, nation, and citizenship. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident through her accomplishments as an administrator, contributions to the university’s curriculum and culture, and achievements in outreach to diverse communities outside of the university. Simone expanded the profile of Black Studies at the university, including creating courses in numerous topics related to contemporary social and cultural concerns. Additionally, as chair of the Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS), her forward-thinking approach recruited more students to AAAS courses, as well as its undergraduate major and minor.

Headshot of Franklin OwusuFranklin Owusu
Administrator, Hospital Operations
Ohio State Wexner Medical Center/University Hospital

Franklin Owusu is respected for his authentic leadership and inclusivity, to influence cultural change. He is recognized for his achievements in the creation, mentorship, and leadership of the Buckeye Diversity Summer Internship program, which advocates for access, opportunity and empowerment of diverse talent. The program, now in its second year, exposes undergraduate students from underrepresented communities to a career in the health care industry and helps build a pipeline of high-potential and diverse candidates for roles at the medical center and beyond. Franklin has made a lasting impact as a leader, coach and collaborator with tremendous positive energy.

Headshot of Taru SaigalTaru Saigal, MD
Assistant Professor-Clinical
College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine

Dr. Taru Saigal demonstrates exceptional leadership to improve patient care with innovative clinical programs, services, and education. Through her compassion and initiative, she improved healthcare delivery and championed changes for minority patients. Dr. Saigal created the innovative Language Concordant Care program matching patients with Limited English Proficiency with physicians who speak the patient’s preferred language or shared native language. The program covers fourteen different languages under which hundreds of patients, immigrants, refugees, and natives currently receive medical care in their language. Additionally, she held leadership roles on several diversity committees and community health education in medical school. She has written and published many thought-provoking op-eds in leading national and regional publications and provides gender-affirming care at the OSU Transgender primary care clinic.

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