UF Health selects chief diversity officer

Courtesy UF Health

UF Health recently named Dr. Lakesha Butler the associate vice president for inclusion, diversity and health equity and chief diversity officer. 

Courtesy UF Health Dr. Lakesha Butler

According to a UF Health release, Butler comes from Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville School of Pharmacy where she served as professor of pharmacy practice and director of diversity, equity and inclusion. She will start her new position at UF on Aug. 22.

Butler will collaborate with diversity liaisons in the six health colleges, the UF Health hospitals in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Central Florida, and the Lake Nona campus in Orlando. She will also work closely with the UF’s chief diversity officer.

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During her 20 years of experience as a pharmacy professor, Butler published academic papers, textbooks and other research related to both pharmacy education and diversity-related topics. She is a frequently invited speaker at national conferences and meetings sharing inclusive best practices with health care practitioners and educators.

Courtesy UF Health Dr. David Nelson

While at Southern Illinois University, Butler developed and implemented the pharmacy school’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan which resulted in: Underrepresented minority students rising by 4% to 6% each year from 2014, inclusive educational strategies and new community outreach partnerships being established and sustained resulting in decreased disparities among various groups.  

“There are many individuals who’ve been dealt a hand that they do not deserve,” said Butler in the release. “My ‘why’ is that I want to do my best to create a different experience than I had for others including my children and to ultimately leave this world better than I found it.”

According to the release, Butler’s duties at UF Health will include developing a strategic plan for inclusion, diversity and health equity; promoting inclusive excellence for faculty, students and staff; facilitating the sharing of best practices and identifying opportunities for greater alignment across UF Health.

“She has a strong track record of leadership, clinical expertise and excellence in academia, along with a deep dedication to diversity and health equity,” Dr. David R. Nelson, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health, said in the release. “These attributes will allow her to guide a large organization like UF Health in this space, as we look to fulfill our own commitment to these values.”

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