PBHS's Lizeth Tamayo honored as diversity leader

Lizeth Tamayo (PBHS) is one of only six people honored as as a recipient of this year’s Diversity Leadership Awards, which recognize University faculty, students, staff and alumni who have shown a commitment to fostering justice and equality. Tamayo (Pierce Lab) is committed to addressing inequality in both her research and other leadership and career development activities.  For her dissertation, she is researching the interplay between genetic and environmental factors and their impact on complex disease risk in low-resource and understudied populations. More specifically, her project bridges multiple aspects of methodological training related to genome-wide association studies, gene-environment interactions, and the implementation of a public health intervention of returning genetic results. is honoring six members of the UChicago community

Tamayo is also a member of the Graduate Recruit Initiative Team, a student organization focused on sustainably improving the recruitment and retention of marginalized groups in STEM. Within GRIT, Tamayo helped create an advocacy team focused on international and immigrant students. She also co-authored a proposal to allow students in the Biological Sciences Division to satisfy one of their two Teaching Assistantship requirements through sustained involvement in diversity, equity, and inclusion work. These DEI Assistantships, or “DA-ships” were piloted last year. Tamayo serves on the BSD Diversity Committee and has dedicated significant time and energy to helping students and faculty better understand the experiences of underrepresented and international/immigrant students.

Tamayo is also co-founder of the National Association of LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) Alumni. LSAMP is an NSF-funded program focused on increasing the representation of marginalized groups in science, and NALA allows trainees to remain connected and serve as resources for one another. 

Tamayo completed her undergraduate studies in biochemistry and French at Augustana College and her Master of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Other 2023 winners are Prof. Monica E. Peek, alumni Bea Young, AB’60, MAT’64, and Rick Palmore, JD’77, staff member Tracye A. Matthews and College student Tyler Okeke. They were recognized during UChicago’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Celebration on Jan. 23 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. (Learn more about that event here.)

“Diversity is central to the University of Chicago’s mission of discovery and is a core value that we continuously seek to advance,” said Waldo E. Johnson Jr., vice provost of the University. “It is an honor to recognize these members of our academic community whose creativity has generated pathbreaking scholarship, fueled innovation, and promoted inclusive engagement within our campus community and beyond.”