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Adaora Adimora, 2011 Mary Turner Lane Award winner at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Established in 1986, the award recognizes people who make outstanding contributions to the lives of women students, faculty, staff and administrators at Carolina. It is named after Mary Turner Lane, founding director of the Curriculum in Women’s Studies and the first recipient of the award.
The University’s Association for Women Faculty and Professionals (AWFP) presented the award April 28 at the group’s annual meeting and spring luncheon at the Carolina Inn.
Adimora, a faculty member at Carolina since 1989, in 2009 became the first African-American woman in the Department of Medicine to achieve the full rank of professor.
A strong advocate for the advancement of minorities and women throughout academia, she has encouraged the expression of diverse viewpoints in solving public health problems.
“Many minority women today would not have completed their dissertations, pursued an academic research career and received grant funding without her continued encouragement, strategic guidance and constant support,” Ruth Moose, lecturer in the English and comparative literature department, said at the luncheon.
In 2009, Adimora was selected by The Root daily online magazine as one of the top 100 African-American leaders. The magazine was founded and edited by Harvard University professor of African and African-American Studies Henry Louis Gates Jr., and its feature “The Root 100” highlights the leadership and service of African-American men and women whose work impacts their communities and the world.
Adimora, who received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a medical degree from Yale University and a master of public health degree from Carolina, was honored for her research on HIV/AIDS, particularly her focus on the spread of HIV in minority communities. Her findings trace the rapid spread of HIV to poverty and racism as well as sexual behavior.
In 2008, she told a U.S. Congressional committee that AIDS in black men represented a national emergency because black men account for more than half of all AIDS deaths and about 45 percent of new diagnoses.
As the lead author of an article in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Adimora called continuing racial disparities in the HIV infection rate an “indictment” of the U.S. response to the epidemic.
And last year on World Aids Day, Dec. 1, Adimora was invited by the White House to participate in a panel discussion with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.