Patricia A. Thomas Diversity & Inclusion Award

2015 Photo of Dr. Patricia Thomas

To acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of women faculty in the KU Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions. The KUMC Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) organization honors Dr. Patricia A. Thomas each year by presenting this award to deserving women who manifest Dr. Thomas' ideals of diversity and inclusion in academic healthcare education. The award was established in 2015.

Female faculty member in the KU School of Medicine, School of Nursing, or School of Health Professions. 

The candidate must exhibit evidence of:

  • Ambitions to include and empower others, regardless of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation.
  • Followed Dr. Thomas' creed "to make a real difference in the world we share."
  • Goals to increase the number of minority and underrepresented faculty, staff and students.

One award presented each year.

How to Submit a Nomination:

  • Letter from the nominator stating why the candidate is deserving, specifically addressing the criteria above, one page maximum.
  • Submit your letter in a single PDF document via email to Jordann Snow at by June 3, 2016. 
  • Include name, email address and department of nominee in your email submission.

Evaluation Process:

  • The WIMS Diversity Committee will review, score and select the recipient.
  • After final approval vote on the winner by the committee, the Diversity Committee will report the winner to the WIMS Executive Committee.
  • All candidates will be notified of the decision by the committee before the WIMS Annual Awards Dinner in August, where the award is presented.

Award Presentation: 
The recipient is formally recognized at the WIMS Annual Awards Dinner on August 18, 2016.

Award Recipients:
2015 - Awarded posthumously to Patricia A. Thomas, MD
2016 - Awarded to Pamela L. Scott, MS, Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs


Patricia A. Thomas, MD, MA, FACP, FASCP 1956-2015

The Inaugural Award, established by the WIMS Diversity Committee, was presented posthumously to Dr. Thomas, accepted by her husband and family, at the August 20, 2015 Annual Awards Dinner.

Dr. Thomas family accepting the award

A one-line personal mission statement accompanying her professional resume neatly characterized Patricia Thomas' caring attitude and lifelong ambition: "I will inspire and empower others, and myself, to make a real difference in the world we share."

Dr. Thomas was guided by this commitment since her earliest days in her hometown of Leavenworth, KS, where she and her four siblings were raised. She felt her calling was as a physician, so she began her medical training, eventually earning her M.D. from New York University Medical Center.

Dr. Thomas was a nationally known expert on pathology and cytopathology, with special interest and training in fine needle aspiration and breast pathology. Her research focused on early detection of benign breast lesions that might predict a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, as well as any racial or ethnic variations in breast cancer survival.

Nominated as a Local Legend of Medicine by Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS-3), Patricia chaired the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Kansas and served as the Associate Dean for KUMC's Office of Cultural Enhancement and Diversity (OCED). In this capacity, she strived to foster diversity. Under her direction, the office addressed issues relating to the art, science, learning and "humanness" of medicine.

Patricia also directed the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in Medicine and the Minority Resource Center at KUMC. As a respected teacher and campus leader, she co-directed an initiative to increase the number of underrepresented students in health professions. Thanks to her efforts, the School of Medicine received a $5.5 million endowment grant from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities for merit-based scholarships to minority students in the Greater Kansas City area.

A prolific researcher, Dr. Thomas published more than 110 articles and abstracts and made numerous presentations. Recipient of the University of Kansas Student Voice Award for Excellence in Teaching (2002-2003), she received many other awards and citations honoring her and her work. "Medicine is the perfect combination of the things I like to do: study science, make a difference and make decisions that help people," she said. "The most important thing to me though, is my family. That I can have a family and be a doctor is what inspires me."

Last modified: Oct 12, 2016