Chancellor Gene Block sent the following message to the UCLA campus community today:

Across our nation, and indeed the world, institutions of every type are wrestling with how to vanquish structural racism and inequality. The success of UCLA’s efforts in this realm is central to the overall success of our university’s mission.

To help UCLA become a more equitable institution, to build upon our support for Black scholarship and teaching, and to help enhance the campus climate for all Black Bruins and their allies, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Vickie Mays as Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Black Life. This appointment is one of several commitments that Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emily Carter and I made to the UCLA community in our June 30 message, “Rising to the Challenge.”

A vital part of the UCLA family since 1979, Professor Mays is a highly regarded thinker, scholar and leader. Her work has focused on understanding the physical and mental health challenges of underserved populations, guiding policy to address these challenges and developing new methodologies to enhance the physical and mental well-being of vulnerable groups.

For the past 14 years, Professor Mays has directed UCLA’s BRITE Center for Science, Research & Policy, an NIH-funded center with approximately 60 faculty, staff, students and community partners working to eliminate physical and mental health disparities in racial/ethnic minority populations.

Professor Mays has long made vital contributions to university governance at UCLA. She previously served as assistant vice chancellor for research diversity as well as chair of UCLA’s Academic Senate and chair of the Undergraduate Council. She has chaired or served on a number of Senate and administration ad hoc committees and task forces focused on subjects ranging from responsibility-centered management to data governance. Her record of academic leadership and service on campus earned her the Academic Senate’s Lifetime Contributions Senate Service Award this year as well as its Lifetime Contributions to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award in 2019. For her academic work, Professor Mays has received the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research and Public Policy. This October, she will be awarded the American Public Health Association’s Carl Taube Award for her lifetime career contributions to mental health services research.

Professor Mays possesses an impressive combination of incisive intellect, deep leadership experience, substantive expertise and skillful advocacy. These qualities make her exceptionally well-qualified to work with leaders across campus to help guide and strengthen UCLA’s efforts to support our Black Bruin family and shine a light on the barriers to opportunity presented by anti-Black racism.

I am excited to have Professor Mays join my leadership team and greatly look forward to partnering with her.