July 13, 2022

Trailblazing UCalgary professors honoured with Calgary Black Achievement Awards

Jennifer D. Adams and Kannin Osei-Tutu named winners of STEM, and Medicine and Health categories
Jennifer D. Adams and Kannin Osei-Tutu
Jennifer D. Adams, left, and Kannin Osei-Tutu.

Two trailblazing University of Calgary faculty members have been honoured by the Calgary Black Achievement Awards.

Hosted by the Calgary Black Chambers, the awards showcase the work of Black people that make contributions to the growth and vibrancy of the city and who are deserving of recognition for making a difference in the community, as well as doing immaculate work in their respective fields.

Dr. Jennifer D. Adams and Dr. Kannin Osei-Tutu were honoured during the 2022 awards ceremony held June 10 at the Calgary Petroleum Club.

“I want to extend my congratulations to both Dr. Adams and Dr. Osei-Tutu, along with their trailblazing teams,” says Dr. Malinda S. Smith, UCalgary’s vice-provost and associate vice-president research (equity, diversity and inclusion). “The inclusive research, scholarship, and community engagement of these individuals are making a difference, and sparking change for Black and racialized people across UCalgary, the city, and beyond.”

To learn more about the 2022 Calgary Black Achievement Awards and the work Adams and Osei-Tutu have completed, visit the event’s web page.

STEM Award winner – Jennifer D. Adams

Jennifer D. Adams, PhD, an associate professor in the Faculty of Science, TIER 2 CRC Creativity & STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at the University of Calgary, received the Calgary Black Achievement Award in the STEM category for her work with underrepresented populations in the STEM fields.

“For me, this award means being recognized by the community, and that’s important because you do these types of things for your community and you hope they recognize, as well as benefit from it,” Adams says. 

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Adams worked as a manager of teacher education at the American Museum of Natural History before completing a PhD in urban education with a science, math and technology specialization at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Before joining UCalgary in 2017, she worked at Brooklyn College as an associate professor of science education. 

Adams has been a strong advocate for closing the racial and gender diversity gap, and the need for intersectional analysis in STEM education. She has directed scholarly attention to the historical, political and social contexts that systemically disadvantaged Black, Latinx and Indigenous students from becoming STEM scholars. She is a National Science Foundation Early Career Awardee and served as a consultant on equity-oriented projects with the American Museum of Natural History and the Center for Advancement in Informal Science Education. 

Adams is a member of the steering committee of the Canadian Black Scientists Network, where she is directing a project that will establish a national research, policy and practice agenda for equity for Black people in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). 

In the coming months, Adams will commence her appointment as an academic director (EDI in Research and Black Futures Strategy) with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In this capacity, she will mobilize research on the experiences of equity-seeking groups in STEMM to shape policy and practice that will advance racial equity in STEMM.

Medicine and Health Award winner – Kannin Osei-Tutu

Kannin Osei-Tutu, MD, the associate director of student advocacy and wellness and clinical assistant professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, received the Calgary Black Achievement Award in the Medicine and Health category for his work to address racism in health care.

“My true inspiration comes from my children,” says Osei-Tutu. “My work is an attempt at paying it forward and investing in our kids and the next generation, trying to make the world a better place for them.”

Osei-Tutu is a family physician and hospital medicine specialist. He is the founder and president of the Black Physicians’ Association of Alberta. On the national stage he is an adviser in equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism to the CEO of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as well as chair of the National Accreditation Working Group, to address anti-Black racism in postgraduate medical education (PGME) training programs in Canada.

In this capacity, he has engaged residents and medical leaders from across the country to effect meaningful change in the learning environment. Osei-Tutu has proposed a number of new accreditation standards designed to improve the safety and sense of belonging in the learning environment for all trainees, including Black and racialized learners. 

Osei-Tutu’s main project at the moment is the development of a novel and innovative mechanism for safe and effective reporting explicitly for trainees who are affected by racism, in addition to providing education and support to postgraduate deans to enhance institutional literacy of anti-racist best practices.

Osei-Tutu’s proposal has been endorsed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. He anticipates a national rollout of this initiative by January 2023. This will be a significant advancement toward the disruption of racism in Canadian PGME learning environments and will support the needed shift toward anti-racist practice and improved outcomes for all patients.

Kannin Osei-Tutu is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine. He is also associate director of student advocacy and wellness in Undergraduate Medical Education and a member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health.