UF neurologist named first diversity editor of JAMA Neurology

ashley RawlsAshley Rawls, M.D., has been appointed as the first-ever associate editor of diversity, equity and inclusion for the journal JAMA Neurology.

In this role, Rawls, a clinical assistant profession of neurology in UF’s College of Medicine, will lead a number of efforts, including assuring the highest quality of papers accepted.

The diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, editor position is part of a new endeavor by JAMA Neurology and other JAMA Network journals, which are published by the American Medical Association.

“JAMA Neurology is a highly read and well-respected journal in neuromedicine, and I’m very excited to work with them in this capacity,” said Rawls, a graduate of the UF College of Medicine who completed neurology residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and a clinical movement disorders fellowship and post-doctoral research fellowship at Stanford University.

At Stanford, she served on the neurology department’s diversity and inclusion committee and was a Leadership Education in Advancing Diversity scholar in 2019. At UF, Rawls is co-chair of the neurology department’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.

“Seeing if there is a connection in different areas of neurology that could impact our ability to care for people of different demographics is something I think we should really look at,” Rawls said. “Those are things for us to bring to the forefront to make sure we’re not letting it negatively influence the care we give people.”

Michael Okun, M.D., chair of neurology at UF and executive director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health, said Rawls will bring a unique skillset in academia and advancing diversity to the new role.

“Dr. Rawls is the real deal when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion,” he said. “Not only has she been trained at Stanford and UF, but she laces up her shoes and goes directly into the community to better understand these challenges.”