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Locher named 2016 Becky Trigg Outstanding Woman UAB Faculty Member

March 17, 2016

Before her recent retirement, Julie Locher, PhD, MPH, former professor in the Departments of Medicine and Health Care Organization and Policy and Associate Director for Enrichment of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), was honored by the UAB Commission on the Status of Women with the 2016 Becky Trigg Outstanding Woman UAB Faculty Member Award in recognition of her having made it easier for other women to succeed, overcome adversity to achieve her goals, taken a courageous stance, and provided significant service to women.

For more than two decades, Dr. Locher selflessly and enthusiastically supported many women through her dedicated mentorship of more than 19 masters and doctoral students from several diverse scientific backgrounds, acting as an influential bridge-builder across campus while promoting interdisciplinary collaborations. Additionally, she served as primary faculty mentor for medical students completing their scholarly activity projects, as well as numerous post-doctoral fellows and faculty who have gone on to have successful careers as independent investigators and leaders within their organizations. More than 75 percent of Dr. Locher’s mentees have been women, and close to one-third have been from minorities underrepresented in the field of science.

This dedication to helping others is rooted in the acknowledgment that her own educational achievements have largely been driven by supportive teachers and professors who recognized her abilities and encouraged her to keep striving forward. Now a highly talented researcher and scientist, Dr. Locher grew up with limited means. She is the first member of her extended family to go to college and one of only two to attend graduate school.

Dr. Locher worked diligently at UAB to help women find their voices in the scientific community, recognizing that speaking up, as well as speaking out, can be particularly challenging. Most recently, she achieved this goal through the creation of a unique Academic Writing Group that encourages post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty to take risks, to share their successes, and to express obstacles to writing as well as to brainstorm ways to overcome them. Roughly half of group members have been women.

Dr. Locher’s creativity in teaching and mentorship as well as in her community service earned her the 2010 Champion for Change Award from AARP Alabama, the 2011 Dean’s Excellence in Mentorship Award, and the 2011 Faculty Service Award by the Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging. In 2013, she was further honored with Fellow Status by the Gerontological Society of America.