Keisha Gibson, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, and chief of pediatric nephrology, has been named vice chair for diversity and inclusion for the department of medicine.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Gibson to this new position, leading our commitment to nurturing an environment of diversity inclusion,” said Ron Falk, MD, chair of the department of medicine. “Please join me in congratulating her on this well-deserved appointment. She will provide vision and leadership in promoting a departmental culture that values and honors diversity, equity and inclusion.”

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“I’m really looking forward to, first, understanding all the wonderful things that people are already working on, and learning about what is working well, what’s not working well and where I can contribute,” said Gibson. “It’s really important for everyone to feel that what makes them individual and unique is valued and that people feel safe, especially when we consider what’s happening in the broader society.”

“Some areas in the department have been very active in promoting diverse, inclusive environments, but there may be others that haven’t been quite so active in this space. We want to build on programs and initiatives that are working well.”

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Gibson with kidney patient Harrison Barnett during a recent visit to UNC Children’s Hospital.

As a diversity and inclusion champion, Gibson supports community pipelines. She gives talks for various youth programs, leads a health and wellness ministry, and volunteers often with UNC student groups.

As chief of pediatric nephrology, Gibson champions kidney research, focused on identifying the biological basis for racial and ethnic disease severity, as well as treatment response disparities, in children and young adults with kidney disease. She’s also working with industries and regulatory bodies to increase the inclusion of children in clinical trials.

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Gibson with Lauren Creecy, PharmD class of 2020.

As an educator and mentor, Gibson has received many accolades. In May, she received UNC’s Academy of Educators award for Foundation Phase Teaching Excellence. In August, she received nephrology’s Maestro Award, for being a “wonderful mentor, teacher, researcher, clinician and friend.” In April, she was recognized as one of WRAL.com’s “Women of the Triangle.”  Most recently, Gibson was appointed secretary treasurer for the American Society of Nephrology.

Her words on kindness, spoken during the 2018 white coat ceremony, most set the tone for the leadership she brings.

Keisha Gibson, MD, MPH (Photo by Brian Strickland)
Gibson speaking at the 2018 white coat ceremony. (Photo by Brian Strickland)

“At a time when we find our community, country, and world for that matter consumed in divisiveness, focusing on kindness will provide us the path of unity we’ve been yearning…Leaders communicate a vision, engender trust and buy-in of those they are leading, and nurture a spirit of teamwork to enable realization of that vision. Leadership takes a true concern for others, and remember, concern for others is a fundamental component of kindness…We chose this career to fulfill altruistic desires to help others.”