Application link is now open for the Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants to Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion     

August 16, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Applications for the Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants are now open to those looking for funding toward a departmental diversity, equity and inclusion initiative at Michigan Medicine!  

This mini grant program was originally created in 2017 as an engagement opportunity for Michigan Medicine’s (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) DEI five-year strategic plan to provide an opportunity to acknowledge, inform, reinvigorate, and refocus departmental and unit efforts that promote respect for and learning about others. Faculty, staff, house officers, and learners with innovative programs or initiatives related to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Michigan Medicine are all encouraged to submit an application to receive mini grant funding up to $5000. Grant submissions should align with the strategic priorities of Michigan Medicine to enhance inclusion, increase diversity, and promote equity across the institution for our patients, faculty, house officers, staff, and learners. 

Funding Toward Sustainable Impact 

Since 2017, a number of Innovation Grants have been used as a catalyst to support DEI-related programs and initiatives at the departmental level. Over 200 applications have been received in eight cycles of awards with over 50 awardees. Applications are reviewed and awarded based on three main criteria – innovation, DEI and sustainability. 

Award recipients are recognized by the impact in three categories: people, process, and product. Previous recipients of the Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grant include: 

  • Spring 2017 Obstetrics and Gynecology recipients for Transgender Patient Care Training Videos 
  • Fall 2017 Gifts of Art recipients for Diverse Art Kits for Patients 
  • Spring 2018 student recipient for a peer mentorship program supporting mental health  
  • Fall 2019 UMH Interpreter Services recipients for short videos for Just-In-Time training for inpatient medical teams and patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) 

“The DEI grant allows us to develop resources to put the right information in the hands of patients and providers to improve communication, and therefore improve access to life-changing healthcare. Protocols in place to mitigate COVID-19 have tremendously impacted non-English speaking patients,” said James Cech, American Sign Language/English Interpreter in University of Michigan Health Interpreter Services. 

The Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants, formerly known as the DEI Mini Grants, began in 2017, as a part of the inaugural year of DEI 1.0 five-year strategic plan. The DEI Mini Grants were renamed to the  Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grants to honor the contributions of former Office for Health Equity and Inclusion Director, and Anti-Racism Oversight Committee co-chair, Phyllis M. Blackman, who retired in 2021. Phyllis was a catalyst for change and an advocate for diversity at Michigan Medicine and in our community. 

The Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grant application link is open until midnight September 21, 2022, and award notifications will be sent via confidential email October 2022. A public announcement of all awardees will be made at the annual Michigan Medicine DEI Symposium on October 21, 2022, at the NCRC Dining Hall. More information regarding the 2022 DEI symposium will be forthcoming. 

 Submit your Phyllis M. Blackman Innovation Grant Application here 

Please Review the Frequently Asked Questions included in the application and for additional questions, please contact