Creating inclusivity, celebrating differences

November 25, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

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Diversity, equity and inclusion champions across Michigan Medicine work diligently to not only celebrate initiatives, but to elevate the diversity and uniqueness that shines among employees.

This fall, the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and U-M Medical Group (UMMG) demonstrated outstanding examples of Michigan Medicine’s commitment to DEI.

At the heart of difference: CVC showcases employees

The “We are CVC” campaign is the Frankel Cardiovascular Center’s ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion campaign aimed at acknowledging the visible and invisible aspects of an individual’s identities. Identities that are not only accepted at the CVC, but welcomed and celebrated.

“By recognizing individual differences — and highlighting similarities — people can better connect with their peers and create deeper and stronger bonds,” said Pedro Coracides, an Office of Patient Experience employee who serves on the CVC DEI Committee.

The “We are CVC” campaign began in March 2019 with a call to all faculty and staff for photos of themselves with words they would use to describe their identity. A photo mosaic and video was created from those submissions and was showcased at this year’s Celebration of Excellence. Of the submissions, 10 individuals were selected to be featured in elevator artwork that is showcased on the employee elevators on floors 2-5 of the CVC. A photo mosaic featuring all the submissions is now stationed on floor 2, near the UH/CVC connector.

“As a staff member that partners with the CVC, it is so wonderful to see the dedication all levels of the CVC have toward diversity, equity and inclusion for patients, families, faculty, staff and learners,” said Coracides.

The effort was funded through a Frankel CVC micro grant initiated by Chandu Vemuri, M.D., and received substantial input and feedback from the entire DEI steering committee. The Frankel CVC leadership team proudly supported the effort — and the message it sends.

“It seems like the world has been getting more divided in some ways, but here we’ve worked to bring us all together,” said Vemuri. “That says a lot, it is hard to do this day and age. That is what this committee should be proud of.”

Chief Administrative Officer Stefanie Peters, and the CVC directors, were also proud of the work being done. As Peters said, “We strive to ensure that CVC members and the communities we serve feel welcomed, valued, and seen.”

If you want to see all the submitted images, you can find them at committee’s website (

Driving success: UMMG recognizes DEI Drivers

UMMG Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Drivers are the individuals who weave overarching diversity and inclusion goals into the ambulatory care unit or department where they work. The drivers are volunteers who are committed to championing and exhibiting DEI behaviors as an example to not only their coworkers, but all whose lives they impact daily.

Recently, the UMMG Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee held its inaugural DEI Driver Retreat to recognize the drivers, celebrate efforts and provide further education and resources to enhance the incredible work they are already performing.

“It is not always easy to allow our teams to engage in this work,” said Migdalia Musler, chief operating officer for UMMG, “and at times it may seem disruptive. But this work is important, so managers have been asked to remove all barriers related to the work that the DEI Drivers are doing.”

This year’s retreat — entitled “Evolution of Conscious Allyship” — focused on the importance of partnership, as the organization strives to build a more inclusive and equitable environment.

UMMG DEI committee members, Office for Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) staff and drivers led activities throughout the day, and the event was anchored by a keynote panel discussion focused on implementing conscious allyship. The panel included:

  • Feranmi Okanlami, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine, OHEI
  • Peggy Sheagren, director of operations, University Human Resources
  • Ladele Cochran, manager, Michigan Medicine’s Ypsilanti Health Center
  • Will Sherry, project lead manager, Student Life, Spectrum Center
  • Moderated by Pedro Coracides, Office of Patient Experience

“There are a few questions to ask yourself in regards to allyship,” said Sheagren. “Some of those questions are ‘Am I honestly open to hearing, truly, what others have to say? Am I open to their feedback and to getting earnest solutions?”

The retreat also offered an opportunity for drivers to network with one another and share common themes and experiences.

Throughout the day, drivers partnered into small groups and created conversations around diversity that sparked from personal experiences.

The event concluded with recognition and kudos for outstanding DEI Drivers. Recipients who received notable recognition included:

DEI superstar site: East Ann Arbor Psychiatry; Drivers: Sandra Glover, Sue Wonnacott and Hilary Garcia

DEI site special recognition: Brighton Center for Specialty Care; Driver: Aaron Franks

DEI Driver certificates of appreciation:

  • Jasmine Lee, PM&R Commonwealth
  • Jessica St Amour, Dexter Health Center
  • David Brandt, Howell Health Center

DEI Driver of the Year: Rusty Ward, Canton Health Center

Congratulations to this year’s honorees, UMMG’s DEI Drivers, the CVC DEI steering committee and all other employees and volunteers for the work they put in to make Michigan Medicine more diverse, equitable and inclusive!