The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) honored nine individuals and one medical school for their outstanding contributions to academic medicine at an awards presentation Nov. 5 at the AAMC’s Annual Meeting in Boston.
George Hill, Ph.D., professor emeritus in Medical Education and Administration, and professor emeritus of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, received the Herbert W. Nickens Award. The award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to promoting justice in medical education and health care equity in the United States.
Nickens was the founding vice president of the AAMC Division of Community and Minority Programs, now Diversity Policy and Programs. His passionate leadership contributed greatly to focusing national attention on the need to support underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities in medicine.
Hill has devoted his career to encouraging diversity, inclusion and equity in the biomedical workforce and beyond. At Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, he was instrumental in transforming admissions and faculty recruitment to enhance diversity and inclusion. Later, he led similar efforts across all of Vanderbilt University, serving as the university’s first vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, a position from which he retired on July 1.
Hill is also an accomplished biochemical microbiologist and has mentored dozens of aspiring scientists and physicians. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies, in 1998.
“The AAMC Herbert W. Nickens Award is a recognition and honor I accept for all of my colleagues nationally, as well as here at Vanderbilt, who work tirelessly to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice within our academic institutions,” Hill said.
“Dr. Nickens was a role model we all should aspire to emulate, as there is a continuing, urgent and critical need for strong, courageous advocacy for justice and equality, which requires our persistent resilience and action. I am so appreciative of Dr. Andre Churchwell and the colleagues who nominated me for this recognition.”