Celebrating Leadership in Diversity

Earl B. Higgins Award

Earl B. Higgins

Dr. Earl B. Higgins Awards

The Office of Equity proudly hosts the Dr. Earl B. Higgins Achievement in Diversity Awards annually. This award is presented to an MUSC Health employee, a University employee, and an MUSC student in recognition of exemplary strides and contributions in promoting diversity. A presentation and reception are held on the first Wednesday in April every year in honor of the nominees and award recipients.

First presented in April 1996, this award has become an annual event at the Medical University of South Carolina. The award is a tribute to the late Dr. Earl B. Higgins, former director of affirmative action and minority affairs at MUSC. Dr. Higgins was born in 1946 and passed away on August 30, 1992.

During his four-year tenure at MUSC, Dr. Higgins was a warrior for recruitment, retention, and enrichment programs that increased representation of minority students in all programs at MUSC. He also worked diligently to recruit minority faculty members and to ensure equal opportunities for all employees. He served as a mediator in race relations and gender issues. Dr. Higgins seized opportunities to promote a harmonious learning and work environment for all and built bridges between the university and the community it serves.
Until 2005, the criteria for the award favored individuals at senior administrative levels and/or in larger university departments or units. In the spring of 2006, the selection committee adjusted the criteria to make sure that potentially deserving individuals at each and every level of the university and authority would receive equal consideration for their good works in promoting and influencing diversity. Additionally, the committee agreed to honor and acknowledge the achievements of students promoting and influencing diversity and presented the first student leadership in diversity award on April 5, 2006.

Spring 2017, the Higgins Awards added a new honoree category, MUSC Health Leadership in Diversity. The added category provides an opportunity to be more inclusive in the recognition of diverse contributions from across the enterprise by particularly honoring those health care professionals who contribute significantly to our broad goals, which include Patients First and Embracing Diversity.  

Former Employee Recipients

Joanne M. Conroy, M.D. (1996), Anne O. Kilpatrick, DPA (1997), Sabra C. Slaughter, Ph.D. (1998), Layton MuCurdy, M.D. (1999), Jerry Blackwell, Ph.D. (2000), Thomas D. Waldrep (2001), Florence Maria Simmons, R.N. (2002), Raymond S. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. (2003), John Franklin (2004), Michael A. deArellano, Ph.D. (2005), Cynthia Cupit-Swenson, Ph.D. (2006), Jerry Reves, M. D. (2007), Liz Sheridan (2008), John Feussner, M.D. (2009), Deborah Deas, M.D. (2010), Carolyn H. Jenkins, DrPH (2011), Leonie Gordon, M.D. (2012), Etta D. Pisano, M.D. (2013), Ms. Deborah C. Williamson, SHA, MSN, CNM (2014), Cynthia Wright, Ph.D. (2015), B. DaNine Fleming, EdD (2016), Cristina López, Ph.D. (2017), Ebony Hilton, M.D. (2018), Myra Haney Singleton, EdD (2019), Natalie Johnson, MA (2020), Lindsey Hamil, Ph.D. (2021), Marvella Ford, Ph.D. (2022), Anita Ramsetty, M.D. (2023)

Former Student Recipients

Alexander Whitley, Ph.D. (2006), Aaron Embry, MS (2007), Dachelle Johnson (2008), Christanne Hoffman, M.D. (2009), Ryan Rhome (2010), Kelly Lambright (2011), Mary Alice Hughes, CDM (2012), Brandon J. Hagan, CDM (2013), Brittany Watson, COM (2014), Brandi White, CHP (2015), Robert Williams, COM (2016), Celeste Jilich, COM (2017), Keeland Williams, COM (2018), Malikah Christie, CDM (2019), Priscilla Burgess, COP (2020), Keena Ross, COP (2021), Sindasha Makins, CDM (2022), Xzavier Killings, MS (2023)

Former MUSC Health Recipients

John Sion (2017), Michael Denham (2018), Leah Ramos, MSN, RN (2019), Tim Brendle, DNP, RN, CNOR, NE-BC (2020), Iggy Pla, (2021), Eunice (Kay) Price Moore (2022), Jonah Burrell, BSN, RN (2023)

Selection/Nomination Criteria

The selection committee solicits nominations for individual employees of MUSC who have made a significant and positive contribution to campus diversity in three of the following five areas:

  • Student/employee recruitment, retention, enrichment, and/or relations
  • Improvement/enhancement of diversity through excellence in service to patients, families, visitors
  • Advancements in areas of diversity, including race relations, gender issues, disabled, aging, and international constituencies
  • Recognizes and takes initiative to act upon potential opportunities to significantly affect/influence the organization/work environment around diversity
  • Promotes improvements in the understanding of the benefits of diversity within MUSC and the community