Noe endows diversity scholarship fund

Published August 17, 2020

Michael F. Noe, emeritus clinical professor and associate dean for community relations and clinical affairs in the School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP), has endowed a fund to provide scholarships supporting educational diversity, equity and inclusion in SPHHP.

The Dr. Michael F. Noe Diversity Scholarship will provide support to students from historically underrepresented populations — including Native Americans — who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need. A portion of the scholarship fund can also be devoted to student recruitment activities designed to engage diverse candidates.

“In my long experience working with people from minority populations, including American Indians,” Noe says, “I was regularly reminded of the impact of the various social and behavioral determinants of health on risk factors for disease, and the importance of having health care professionals from those communities involved in their care.

“Likewise, in the area of public health practice, individuals from those communities and cultures are better able to establish the needed rapport that enhances healing relationships and to provide informed leadership in addressing problems that add to the burden of disease,” he says.

“Unfortunately, people from minority populations are terribly underrepresented in all health professions, including public health practice. I hope that this scholarship will encourage and enable more students from minority populations, including American Indians, to enroll in a course of study offered among the wonderful programs in the School of Public Health and Health Professions.”

Noe retired in 2017 after providing more than 40 years of dedicated service to SPHHP and to UB. A member of the SPHHP faculty since 1975, he rose to the rank of clinical professor of epidemiology and environmental health, and clinical associate professor of medicine. His 14-year tenure as associate dean for community relations and clinical affairs fit well with his clinical interest in the graduate and professional training of physicians in preventive medicine, medical management, quality improvement in health care, geriatric medicine and long-term care, and in addressing the health risks of caregivers.

“This is our largest donation to date to promote a diverse graduate student body in our school,” said Heather Orom, associate professor and associate dean for equity, diversity and inclusion in SPHHP. “By graduating diverse public health professionals, we can contribute to a diverse health professions workforce.”

Dean Jean Wactawski-Wende says Noe has “a remarkable history of advocating for students and their success. This fund is tangible evidence of his support of the School of Public Health and Health Professions and our continuing efforts to grow the diversity of our student body,” she says.