Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Message From CEO

“Huntsman Cancer Institute is committed to a culture that is just and fair. We are committed to be an anti-racist community that does not tolerate racial discrimination, injustice or bias, including major or micro aggressions against people of color. We will fall short of our vision to deliver a cancer-free frontier if we fail to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion at HCI. We must rise to this challenge together, with vigor and sustained commitment.”

– Mary Beckerle, PhD; CEO of HCI

At Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), we are deeply committed to being an anti-racist cancer center. The values of equity, diversity, and inclusion are integral to our pledge to put the patient and community first as we strive to reduce the cancer burden in our state and region.

We denounce racism of all forms and are dedicated to tackling discrimination against our patient populations and our employees. We commit to creating meaningful changes that will result in a more just, equitable, and inclusive environment.

In July 2020, we announced the following commitments and actions:

  • Commit $1 million to establish an HCI Endowed Chair to expand faculty and demonstrate HCI’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • A Commission on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to make recommendations on issues related to equality and justice.
  • Funding of $250,000 to support recommendations of the Commission.
  • Expansion of HCI’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion with appropriate support to serve ongoing needs across all mission areas.
  • Incorporation of equity, diversity, and inclusion as key pillars of HCI’s 2025 Strategic Plan.
  • Frequent visible, public statements of our commitment to actively counter racism and advance a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

These new initiatives complement HCI’s existing efforts. Collectively, they represent a starting point in our quest to achieve transformational change toward a diverse, equitable, and inclusive HCI community, broader University, state, and society.

What is equity, diversity, and inclusion?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core tenets that guide our efforts to combat racism at HCI.

Equity – An anti-racist environment that ensures fair treatment and unbiased access to opportunities for all members of the HCI community, recognizing and redistributing power to encourage each individual to achieve their unique potential.

Diversity – A workplace representative of multiple backgrounds, identities, skills, and abilities in the members of the HCI community.

Inclusion – An anti-racist culture where all members of the HCI community are actively welcomed, celebrated, supported, and valued because of our differences.

Ultimately, the intersection of equity, diversity, and inclusion is belonging. In a workplace characterized by belonging, each member of the community is welcomed as their unique self; feels invested, personally valued, and safe; shows respect for their co-workers; and acknowledges other members’ contributions as important.

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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Update

Commission on EDI

HCI has established a Commission on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to actively counter racism and focus on major EDI issues at our institute. Commission members represent the breadth of perspectives across the HCI community. The Commission is charged with making recommendations related to racial equity and justice to the Office of the CEO and HCI’s executive leadership team. To help support these recommendations, HCI has established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund, seeded initially with $250,000.

Our current commitments and the work of the Commission are just the beginning steps. We realize there is no quick fix to address and rectify the systemic racism and injustice that has existed in our country for generations. Yet we are committed to do this work in a way that holds our institution and ourselves accountable for making real and sustainable change.

Areas of Initial Focus

Clinical Policies

To create clinical policies that protect employees from discrimination by patients.

Education, Training, and Awareness

To educate, train, and raise awareness of equity, diversity, and inclusion for the HCI community with a zero-tolerance for racism.

Hiring and Retention Practices

To identify and recommend best practices in hiring and retention in the HCI community and to achieve a diverse faculty and staff that values and celebrates equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Safety and Refuge

To provide members of the HCI community who face discriminatory mistreatment a structure for reporting, support, and advocacy.

Trainee Concerns

To recommend practices that address trainee concerns regarding transparency, accountability, and safety and advance HCI’s mission to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion within our community.

Vision, Definitions, and Culture

To define equity, diversity, and inclusion within the context of HCI’s mission and vision and further educate and empower each member of the HCI community regarding our dedicated commitment toward equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Commission Membership

Co-Chairs

Bradley R. Cairns, PhD
HCI Chief Academic Officer and Chair, Department of Oncological Sciences

Kolawole S. Okuyemi, MD, MPH
HCI Senior Director of Equity and Inclusion and Chair, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

Members

Mary-Jean (Gigi) Austria, MS, RN, OCN
Nurse Manager, HCI Clinical Staff Education

April Carlson, LCSW
HCI Social Worker, Surgical Oncology

Samuel Cheshier, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery

Scott Clark
Multidisciplinary Team Outpatient Oncology/Urology Patient Coordinator, HCI

Swapna Gudipaty, PhD,
HCI Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Oncological Sciences

Garrett Harding
Associate Director, HCI Community Outreach

Emma E. Houston, MBA
Member, HCI Community Advisory Board

Krystle Osby
HCI Graduate Student, Department of Oncological Sciences

Katherine (K-T) Varley, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Oncological Sciences

Ex-Officio Members

David Wetter, PhD
HCI Senior Director, Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity Research
Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity
Professor, Department of Population Health Sciences

José E. Rodríguez, MD, FAAFP
Associate Vice President, Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, University of Utah Health
Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

Staff

Ellen T. Wilson, PhD
Director, HCI Research Development

Andrew K. Langi
Program Manager, HCI Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Anna Marsden, MBA
Programs Manager, PathMaker Programs, Office of Cancer Training and Career Enhancement and Office of Diversity and Inclusion