Faculty, staff lauded as ‘inclusive leaders’ at annual DEI Symposium

April 26, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

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This past Tuesday, Michigan Medicine’s Office for Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) hosted its third annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Symposium in Ford Auditorium.

“By being here, you are showing your support for all of the incredible diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives happening across Michigan Medicine,” David J. Brown, M.D., associate vice president and associate dean for health equity and inclusion and associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, told the audience of more than 100 faculty and staff members. “Our mission, with all of your support and engagement, is to truly foster an environment of respect that honors the well-being, individuality and dignity of all who work, learn and heal at our academic medical center.”

Promoting DEI

The half-day event kicked off with welcoming remarks from Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the U-M Medical School, executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of Michigan Medicine.

Following Runge, Carol Bradford, M.D., executive vice dean for academic affairs, chief academic officer at Michigan Medicine and Charles J. Krause Collegiate Professor of Otolaryngology, discussed the importance of inclusive leadership within the organization.

“When we talk about ‘inclusive leadership,’ we mean everyone — each and every single one of you can be a leader in your own area — and your support here today is significant,” Bradford said. “It is an inclusive leader’s mission to make sure all people feel valued and have the opportunity to thrive.”

The event also featured a keynote speech by Ana Maria Lopez, M.D., M.P.H., associate vice president for health equity and inclusion at the University of Utah Health Sciences and director for Cancer Health Equity at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Lopez touched upon best practices for elevating DEI within complex institutions like Michigan Medicine.

“The work we do as DEI promoters can be challenging, but we must always remember that it is important,” said Lopez. “By having this opportunity to share what works best for us, we are collectively leveraging the special bond we all share as like-minded social justice advocates who work toward moving the needle.”

Honoring team members

The symposium also rewarded six Michigan Medicine community members with DEI mini-grants, as well as four Outstanding DEI Advocate awards, given to a faculty member, staff member, learner and team at Michigan Medicine who consistently goes above and beyond to elevate DEI within their individual units.

In order to be considered for a mini-grant, each submission had to align with the university’s Year 2 DEI strategic goals and priorities and demonstrate how a clearly-defined DEI-related problem can be addressed through innovation and creativity.

Phyllis Blackman, director for OHEI, and Alfreda Rooks, director for Community Health Services, presented the recipients with awards up to $5,000.

“Although we are awarding six winners today, I commend all of our applicants, as their creativity and innovation in regard to DEI are commendable,” Blackman said.

Congratulations to the following mini-grant awardees:

  • Daniel Michele, Molecular and Integrative Physiology: His team plans to purchase portable neuroscience lab toolboxes to improve a program aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and math to elementary school children in Ypsilanti.
  • Claire Collins, Office of Medical Student Education: Collins will use funds to improve a peer advocacy program designed to enhance the well-being and mental health of medical students.
  • Alexandra Bouza, Pharmacology: This grant will assist with a summer youth program that will introduce pharmacology to high school students from Detroit, Ypsilanti and Southfield.
  • Elliott Brannon, Department of Learning Health Sciences: This grant will support the promotion of a web-based program where individuals are randomly paired to “meet and greet” over coffee or lunch to facilitate connections and relationships across U-M.
  • Reginald Beasley, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: Beasley’s team will invite a nationally-known speaker to bring sensitive topics to life by addressing them in an innovative, creative, performance style.
  • Jill Becker, Neuroscience Graduate Program: Becker will use funding to produce a skit entitled “No Offense,” which centers on the relationship between advisor and advisee in a lab setting and explores ways that sexual harassment is experienced by both individuals.

The inaugural Outstanding DEI Advocate Award winners were:

  • Faculty member: Durga Singer, pediatrics
  • Staff member: Steve Vinson, ambulatory care
  • Trainee: Halley Crissman, ob/gyn
  • Team: Gender Identity Workgroup-Ambulatory Care

Check out the photo gallery above for a closer look at Tuesday’s event!