In February, we pause to celebrate African American History month. This is a time to recognize the significant contributions of African Americans in our society. At UF Health Jacksonville and the University of Florida College of Medicine - Jacksonville, we honor our African American associates, faculty and staff, who lead in health care and positively impact our community.
Meet Gloria Cooper, a gift shop associate who has been with UF Health Jacksonville for 24 years. If you have ever visited the gift shop at the Downtown campus, you’ve probably experienced her warm and inviting personality. Cooper says it’s her mission to keep people encouraged and inspired.
What do you enjoy most about working at UF Health Jacksonville?
I love my team, we take care of each other. Since I’ve been here so long the people in the hospital are like family to me. I’m blessed to meet different people and help be a light of encouragement. You never know if someone is having a bad day or what they are going through, but a good conversation can help cheer them up. I’ve developed so many friendships and connections over the years just because I’m a friendly person.
What does your African American heritage mean to you?
We have come a long way and I feel things are much better than they were in my younger days. But I also believe there is still room for progress and growth. As a community, we can go further because it takes everyone working together for the greater good. I appreciate where I’ve come from and the changes I’ve seen over time for the better. I do what I can to lift my culture up. I try to instill this same appreciation into the younger generation around me.
What’s something positive you would like for others to take away from your culture?
I think what we do for the community can be seen and respected. Everyone just wants to be appreciated for who they are and it’s important we do our best to get along and help each other out when we can. In whatever I do, I just hope I have helped encourage someone to feel better about themselves.