The University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford announces the appointment of Alesia Jones, PhD, as interim assistant dean for diversity and inclusion. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and serves as the director of behavioral science for the Family Medicine Residency Program.
A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Jones provides behavioral health services at the UI Health Mile Square Health Center – L.P. Johnson Rockford. She also facilitates the behavioral science curriculum for the family medicine residency program which includes education on mental disorders, cultural awareness training, patient-doctor communication and relationship building.
In her new additional role, Dr. Jones will work with the associate dean for diversity and inclusion to design and implement initiatives and programs focused on diversity and inclusion. She will serve as an advisor to the regional dean, Dr. Stagnaro-Green, campus and residency leadership to develop strategies to recruit and retain diverse faculty and trainees, develop curriculum that incorporate cultural competency and anti-racism efforts, and establish diversity and inclusion as a core and essential component of the campus and university. Dr. Jones replaces Pedro Rodriguez, MD, who previously held the position.
“The increasing diversity in our society requires a workforce that is able to meet the needs of our community in a culturally proficient and inclusive way. My goal is to advocate, support, and foster a commitment to diversity and inclusion through the development of programs and initiatives that will advance our curriculum, departments, and campus that will ultimately meet the needs of the communities we serve and improve the quality of the educational and social experiences of our students, staff, and faculty”.
Dr. Jones is co-chair of the newly created Ad Hoc Committee for Diversity and Inclusion that is charged with evaluating the present culture of UICOMR as it relates to racism, bias and discrimination and present recommendations and strategies to accomplish diversity, equity, and inclusion.
An accomplished researcher, Dr. Jones has published and presented research focused on the relationship between trauma (e.g., interpersonal, racial, homicide survivorship) and subsequent psychological, emotional, and behavioral consequences of trauma exposure. Her research also includes examination of healthcare delivery to trauma exposed individuals and improving the identification and response within the context of primary care.
Dr. Jones has been the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her research, clinical work and teaching including the UICOMR Distinguished Teaching Award; the Robert Magwood, Jr Award for Outstanding Service to Crime Victims; and 2011 Rockford YWCA Women of Achievement Professions Award. She has been awarded grants and scholarships from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, University of Illinois, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Prior to joining the UICOMR in 2009, Dr. Jones completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina focused on the assessment and treatment of traumatic stress among the civilian population.
“Dr. Jones brings a wide range of experience to this position that will help us enhance the programs and services of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” says Alex Stagnaro-Green, UICOMR regional dean. “We can and will do more to eliminate racism on our campus and to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all and I value Dr. Jones’ leadership as we move forward.”