The UAB Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion provides strategic leadership for creating an inclusive organizational culture for patients, caregivers, business partners, and the communities we serve. Our initiatives focus on workforce demographics, education, pipeline development, and cultural competence, all of which are designed to support the diversity of our caregivers, increase acceptance of differences, and promote new ways of adapting to each other. We strive to identify and address structural barriers that limit opportunity and access to services.
We are committed to creating an environment where every caregiver has the opportunity and support to achieve their full potential, while focusing on our mission to improve the health and lives of those we serve. As we go about our work, we continually keep in mind that culture change is a process. Through our Diversity Council and Employee Resource Groups, we honor the diversity that makes UAB Medicine special.
Meet the Team
André Lessears, MBA – Chief Diversity Officer
André Lessears was named Chief Diversity Officer for UAB Medicine in early 2021. He leads a strategy of inclusive leadership to foster a sense of belonging, dignity, and respect among the health system’s patients and caregivers. He has more than 15 years of experience in implementing diversity and inclusion strategies at Cleveland Clinic Akron General, the city of Dubuque, Iowa, and Midwestern State University in Texas.
Prior to joining UAB Medicine, Lessears directed the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Cleveland Clinic Akron General, where he oversaw strategic initiatives that enabled the hospital to deliver care world-class care that was also culturally competent. During his tenure, he led a team that identified barriers to care for adults with developmental disabilities, which resulted in Cleveland Clinic Akron General being designated as one of the first Autism-Friendly Hospitals in the country. At UAB Medicine, Lessears chairs the UAB Health System Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council and serves as a member of both the UAB Equity Leadership Council and the UAB School of Medicine Diversity Council.
In 2021, the National Diversity Council named Lessears as one of the country’s Top 100 Diversity Officers, as part of an awards program for its annual Diversity & Leadership Conference. A skilled trainer and facilitator, Lessears has been honored for his work facilitating critical conversations on intercultural communication, unconscious bias, building inclusive teams, and effective diversity and inclusion recruitment and retention strategies. He has been recognized by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and was named a Rising Star by the Tri-State Business Times.
During his career, Lessears helped design practices and programs that have been recognized by the National League of Cities, DiversityInc, the Association of ERGs and Councils, and Black Pages International. He has led panels or delivered keynote addresses for the Ohio NAACP Conference, the Ohio Diversity and Leadership Conference, the Black Male Summit, the National Urban League Young Professionals, and the Civic Leadership Institute.
A graduate of Walsh University in Ohio, Lessears earned his MBA from the University of Dubuque. He holds a Certified Diversity and Inclusion Professional designation from the Cornell University School of International Labor Relations and a Qualified Administrator designation from the Intercultural Development Inventory.
Suite 416, John N. Whitaker Building
500 22nd Street South
Birmingham, AL 35233
Agee Baldwin – Program Coordinator
Agee Baldwin is program coordinator for UAB Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). He is a fierce advocate for historically excluded populations and a champion of health equity and justice. A native of Bessemer, Ala., Baldwin graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor of Science in biology. He earned his master’s degree in public health, with a concentration in health care organization and policy, from the UAB School of Public Health. He has over 10 years of experience in developing, executing, and supporting programs aimed at leveraging lived experiences to improve health care outcomes. Baldwin is always excited to engage in meaningful conversation around DEI. Outside of the office, he enjoys power naps, pretending to be a travel blogger, and baking.
Karen King – Executive Assistant
Karen King is the executive assistant in UAB Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). Originally from Selma, Ala., King graduated from UAB with a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies, and she earned an MBA with a concentration in strategic management from Northcentral University. She has over 15 years of experience in administrative support roles. King and her husband live in the McCalla area. Outside of the office, she enjoys cooking, writing, and traveling.