Rebecca Fisher, PhD, interim chair and professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, received the American Association for Anatomy’s Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. The award is presented to an AAA member who creates inclusive teams representing the rich diversity of the communities they serve.
“It’s an honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Fisher, who is also the director of the Gross Anatomy Laboratory in the Department of Academic Affairs at the college. “I joined the AAA in 1999 when I was a graduate student, and I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from my mentors and colleagues in the association.”
Dr. Fisher said her commitment to DEI has its origins in her childhood, where she was taught to respect and value different cultures and perspectives. “My mom is a first-generation Mexican American who grew up in East Los Angeles, while my dad, the son of a first-generation German American father and a mother with ties to the Mayflower, was raised on a farm in Oregon. I was fortunate to grow up in a family that spoke different languages and practiced different cultural and religious traditions, but I was also acutely aware of discrimination and the importance of the civil rights movement and social justice.”
Dr. Fisher joined the College of Medicine – Phoenix as a founding faculty member in 2006 and was responsible for designing the anatomy curriculum and the gross anatomy laboratory. She has been teaching in the Pathway Scholars Program since 2014. The master’s degree program provides academic support, leadership development and a dedicated community to pre-med students historically underrepresented in medicine. “In recent years, I’ve become more involved in designing the curriculum for Pathway Scholars students and serving as the director of a new clinical anatomy and physiology course for the program,” she said.
On the national level, Dr. Fisher served on the AAA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to create an action plan for committees, leadership, awards, communications and outreach. “This action plan served as a road map for the AAA’s DEI efforts, and I was fortunate to work on some of the resulting initiatives as a member of the inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.”
The AAA is a non-profit scientific organization founded in 1888. It has more than 2,000 members, including students, teachers and practitioners of the anatomical sciences.