Rogel Cancer Center names first associate director for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice
New leadership role will focus on cultivating a diverse workforce, addressing bias and discrimination, and improving inequities in care.
ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center has named Erika Newman, M.D., as its first associate director for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. She will lead the center’s efforts to diversify the next generation of healthcare professionals and researchers, and to champion an anti-racist and just culture within the cancer center.
“This is a really important time for these efforts,” Newman said. “We’ve had a rough year with the health disparities underscored by COVID-19 and the events that have prompted a larger racial awakening across the country, including the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. So, this is an opportunity for us to take a look at ourselves, to take a look at our organization, and understand how we can contribute to positive change across clinical care, research, education and training, and service to our community.”
Newman, an associate professor of pediatric surgery at Michigan Medicine, received her medical degree from Georgetown University in 2001, and completed general surgery training at U-M and fellowship training at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital before joining the faculty at U-M in 2010.
Today, Newman maintains a busy clinical practice with broad expertise in the care of children with solid tumors as well as a basic-science research lab that focuses on understanding tumor-specific DNA repair mechanisms as novel therapeutic options for pediatric neuroblastoma. She serves as surgical director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s solid tumor oncology program.
“Dr. Newman has made tremendous contributions toward improving diversity, equity and inclusion at U-M — within the Department of Surgery as well as in her role as associate chief clinical officer for health equity for the University of Michigan Medical Group,” said Eric Fearon, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Rogel Cancer Center. “At the cancer center, all of our leaders remain responsible for supporting and promoting DEIJ efforts in the respective areas in which they lead. And this newly created position, along with Dr. Newman’s unique perspectives and leadership, will help advance these critical DEIJ objectives not just within the center, but also in collaboration with other efforts across Michigan Medicine and the broader U-M campus.”
Newman’s longstanding commitment to diversity and equity includes being a founding member of the Michigan Women’s Surgical Collaborative, a diverse group of academic surgeons with the mission of implementing strategies that advance women surgeons across disciplines. She also facilitated the development and implementation of the Michigan Promise within the Department of Surgery, a series of innovative initiatives aimed at improving faculty and resident excellence and strengthening the core culture to create a more open and inclusive environment.
In 2020, Newman was the recipient of a Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award in recognition of her work and leadership in the area of cultural diversity.
“My goal for this new role is to home in on DEIJ as a component of the cancer center’s core mission,” Newman said. “It touches everything we do from the way we take care of patients, to the way we recruit patients into clinical trials, to how we educate learners in the cancer space and how we build the pipeline of the next generation of leaders in the field.”
Her appointment was effective June 1.