The UAB Medicine Office of Diversity and 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 and inclusion 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.
Santwan Robinson grew up in Birmingham, Ala., as the second of three children; she has an older sister, Tyesa, and a younger brother, Christopher. She is the mother of one son, who will start college in fall 2021.
Robinson graduated from West End High School and attended Jefferson State Community College for a year and half, with a planned emphasis in child psychology. When she isn’t in the Leadership Development Office, she enjoys attending poetry readings, playing pranks on family and friends, and watching silent movies. She has traveled throughout the states surrounding Alabama, but her dream is to one day buy an RV and travel all 50 states. Email Robinson at UABMedicineDiversityOffice@uabmc.edu.