Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of health outcomes & biomedical informatics, received a 2019-2020 Superior Accomplishment Award in the Diversity and Inclusion category from UF Health.
The Diversity and Inclusion Award recognizes UF employees who demonstrate “exemplary conduct that fosters full participation by diverse faculty, students and staff, creates a climate of inclusion on campus or in the community, and promotes diversity to enhance educational, research or other work outcomes.”
“Dr. Cardel is the only person in UF Health who received an award in the Diversity and Inclusion category,” said HOBI associate professor Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., who nominated Cardel for the award.
In her letter of nomination, Staras praised Cardel for championing and promoting diversity in her research, in the classroom and in the workplace.
Cardel’s research focuses on understanding factors that contribute to the development of obesity and implementing treatment programs for obesity in underserved populations.
In the classroom, Cardel received a “Champion of Diversity Award” during the 2019 UF Graduate Student Research Day for her efforts to promote diversity among graduate students.
Additionally, Staras pointed out, “Since she joined the UF faculty as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2015, Dr. Cardel has formally provided mentorship to nine underrepresented racial and ethnic minority students.”
In the workplace, last year Dr. Cardel co-led the first annual Underrepresented Minority (URM) Rising Stars in Health Sciences symposium that took place at Indiana University. Early-career underrepresented minority scholars from around the country—including seven Ph.D. students, postdocs and early-career faculty from UF—attended the symposium to discuss research, networking, and career development during the three-day conference.
Additionally, Dr. Cardel and several colleagues wrote a journal article outlining specific strategies that universities can use to level the playing field between men and women in academia. The article, “Turning Chutes into Ladders for Women Faculty: A Review and Roadmap for Equity in Academia,” was published online ahead of print in the Journal of Women’s Health on February 11, 2020, to coincide with International Women and Girls in Science Day.
Complementing this effort, Cardel is working with senior leaders in the College of Medicine to implement policy changes to make the college a more equitable and family-friendly place.
“Her work goes above and beyond her job description,” Staras wrote. “While faculty members are encouraged to complete service to the university and their academic profession, most do so later in their careers, and the majority never organize a conference or attempt to affect institutional policy change.“
Cardel’s efforts to promote a more diverse and inclusive university began when she was a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), which recognized her contributions with the UAB President’s Diversity Student Award. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado Denver, Cardel founded the Diversity Initiative and Outreach Committee.
UF Superior Accomplishment Award winners receive cash awards of $200 each, a framed certificate and a commemorative coffee mug. They will be recognized at an awards banquet on Friday March 27.