The Washington University School of Medicine community gathers each year to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through a week of inclusive programming open to the WashU Medicine campus and community. As part of this commemoration, WashU colleagues were honored with the prestigious Drum Major Award on Tuesday, January 16, recognizing their outstanding efforts as advocates and upstanders. Notably, among the recipients of this esteemed award were two members of the Department of Anesthesiology: Enyo Ablordeppey, MD, MPH, FACEP, FCCM, and Erin Herrera, CRNA.
The Drum Major Awards, inspired by Dr. King’s 1968 “The Drum Major Instinct” sermon, celebrate WashU Medicine community members who embody the pursuit of justice, peace, and righteousness. The 2024 awardees were acknowledged for their advocacy and upstanding character, particularly in standing up against injustices and striving for a more equitable and just society.
Ablordeppey, the department’s Associate Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine, along with Herrera, the Associate Vice Chair for Well-Being and Assistant Director for CRNA Activities, have both played an instrumental role in advocating for equity, fostering a culture of inclusivity, and implementing innovative programs to enhance their colleagues personal and professional well-being.
“Enyo and Erin are true upstanders. Enyo is a fierce advocate for equity and inclusion in the department and in her liaison work, and has built and supported departmental programming to build affinity groups for peer support across areas of gender, URM status, and for other groups in need of a safe, supportive environment,” says Vice Chair for Professional Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Scott Markowitz, MD, MSOL. “Erin has provided curated training for others to develop skills of an upstander and ally, created a gratitude app for colleagues, and established a system for support and referral after difficult events. She courageously addresses privilege and challenges, fostering a safer, braver space for her colleagues.”
As the recipients of the Drum Major Award, Ablordeppey and Herrera have undoubtedly inspired others to follow their lead, creating a ripple effect of positive change within the department and the School of Medicine.