In Memoriam Mary Guerriero Austrom, Ph.D.
Mary Guerriero Austrom, Ph.D., whose passionate advocacy for diversity at Indiana University School of Medicine helped create a more inclusive and welcoming environment, passed away on October 23 surrounded by her loved ones. She will be remembered for her empathy, tenacity and dedication.
As the school’s associate dean for diversity affairs, Austrom left an indelible mark on the culture of the school and other programs as she transformed the approach to diversity. She was committed to creating an inclusive environment where everyone could flourish. A key part of her vision was to integrate a focus on diversity and inclusion across every department of the school through the development of department diversity plans, and under her leadership, multiple new programs were developed for both learners and faculty.
Austrom was also the Wesley P. Martin Professor of Alzheimer’s Education and professor of clinical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry. She played a critical leadership role within the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center over nearly three decades, leading its outreach and recruitment core. She focused intensely on easing caregiver stress and bringing underrepresented communities to participate in Alzheimer’s disease research, forming an exceptional Community Advisory Board to guide and facilitate these efforts. She will be widely remembered for her influence on improving dementia caregiver education locally, nationally and internationally and will be greatly missed in the Alzheimer’s disease research community.
Dr. Austrom was a valued member of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s External Advisory Board for many years. She mentored several of our faculty and her insightful comments and observations will be deeply missed. Mary’s research, experience and insight helped advanced our programs at the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
Charles DeCarli, MD, UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center Director and acting chair, Department of Neurology, shares his thoughts about Dr. Austrom.
“On a more personal note, I have always admired Mary’s kindness, compassion (including actively helping disadvantage youth) and happy disposition. She brought both peace and grace to every meeting she attended as she knitted away with that wonderfully serene smile on her face. We often chatted about our children, two of whom shared the love of volleyball. She was a delight to know and I considered her both a colleague and a friend. We will miss her tremendously.”