Taylor Awarded Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., House Officer Award for Diversity

Third-year diagnostic radiology resident Kevin Taylor, M.D., M.S., was awarded the prestigious Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., House Officer Award for his commitment to enhancing diversity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) during the 17th Annual Watkins Lecture earlier this month. 

Established in 2008, the award is presented annually to at least one member of the house staff who has made contributions towards enhancing opportunities for minority house staff, recruiting underrepresented minorities in medicine (URM) to VUMC residency programs, and showing compassion for patients from culturally diverse backgrounds.

“I am glad to be a part of this very important endeavor at the Medical Center,” said Taylor. “Enhancing workforce diversity not only benefits the patient population, but may also increase overall profitability and value creation through the health care systems that intentionally embrace and implement it.” 

Taylor was considered for the award as a result of his participation in VUMC’s minority house staff organization, Minority Housestaff for Academic and Medical Achievement, which is sponsored by the Office for Diversity Affairs and led by André Churchwell, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs. He has participated in the recruiting fair at the Student National Medical Association’s Annual Medical Education Conference, and has also helped recruit applicants during VUMC’s yearly Second Look Weekend for URM residency applicants. 

“I want to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for recognizing me with the Levi Watkins Jr. M.D. House Officer Award,” said Taylor. “I am truly humbled and honored to receive it.”

Taylor has also supported the Department of Radiology’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts to recruit and retain URM students into its diagnostic and interventional radiology residency programs. Since the implementation of the Office five years ago, URM representation in Vanderbilt’s Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program has increased from 6.3 percent in the 2012-2013 academic year to 20 percent in the 2018-2019 academic year. The national average for URMs in ACGME diagnostic radiology training programs is 8.3 percent.



Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs, André Churchwell, M.D. (left), presents Radiology Resident Kevin Taylor, M.D., M.S. (right), with the 2018 Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., House Officer Award.
(Photo provided by Jeff Carr, M.D.)



About Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D.*

Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., M.D.’70, has made significant contributions toward increasing opportunities for underrepresented minorities in the sciences. A distinguished physician and researcher, in 1966 he became the first African American student to be admitted to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He graduated in 1970 and was selected a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. He continued his training at Johns Hopkins and Harvard. Watkins embodies the attributes important in serving as a renowned role model for those who pursue careers in medicine and the biomedical sciences. At the time of his death in 2015, he had retired just two years earlier from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was a renowned professor of cardiac surgery. *Source