The second interview in this series dedicated to celebrating diversity is with Dr. Lori Pierce, Professor, Radiation Oncology, and Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs.
Headlines: Why is it important to celebrate/focus on Black History Month?
LP: Black History Month is important because it allows us to recognize those who came before us at a time when they would not have otherwise been recognized. Now I feel that the contributions of all people, regardless of their ethnicity, should be recognized year round and not just during a designated period like Black History Month.
Headlines: What does it mean to you to be a leader?
LP: To be a leader requires the integration of many qualities. A leader establishes principles to achieve standards of excellence for themselves and for those around them. They stress the importance of collaboration and teamwork to bring people together for a common cause. A leader helps to develop the talents of others through mentorship and the sharing of ideas. A leader always listens to those around them and integrates feedback into their thoughts and actions. A leader helps others to maintain focus and see a path forward that otherwise might be difficult to find. And a leader emphasizes fairness and the importance of doing the right thing at all times.
Headlines: How has past history impacted or directed your career path?
LP: I was always taught by my parents to take full advantage of opportunities presented to me, many of which were not available to people of color in prior generations, and to take the initiative to create new ones when possible. Determination, hard work, and never giving up were values instilled in me at a young age because they were values embodied by both of my parents. Neither my mother nor my father had the opportunity to attend college, and so creating the infrastructure for me to do so and to be successful was a priority for them both. That support helped to sustain and inspire me through my undergraduate years, medical school, and residency and in my career as a practicing physician. I hope I show that passion and commitment in my work today through my interactions with my wonderful patients, my involvement in breast cancer research, and my administrative role as Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs in the Office of the Provost.