Jul 10, 2020 4:00 PM


Dear Patients, Caregivers, and Community:

The tragic murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, catalyzed a national reckoning regarding racism that has plagued our country for centuries. The recent dialogue has only begun to reveal a deeper understanding of the pain inflicted and still experienced on a regular basis by our Black family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

At Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), we are familiar with tackling major and complex challenges, like cancer. We will similarly dedicate ourselves to tackling racism. Meaningful action is long overdue. We fall short of our vision to deliver a cancer-free frontier if we do not succeed in our efforts to achieve equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Black Lives Matter.

Our change process at HCI includes these new commitments and actions:

We will commit $1 million to establish an HCI Endowed Chair to expand Black representation on our faculty. This Chair will be dedicated to recruiting and providing ongoing support for a new cancer-focused faculty member at HCI.

We will establish an HCI Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Commission to make recommendations to the HCI on issues related to equality and justice. Areas of immediate consideration will include mechanisms for addressing workplace racism and discrimination; hiring practices; implicit bias and microaggression training for all at HCI; anti-discrimination and bystander intervention tools; staffing needs to support EDI recommendations; and mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability.   

We will establish an EDI fund, seeded initially with $250,000, to support recommendations of the Commission. 

We will expand HCI’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion with appropriate support to serve ongoing needs across all HCI mission areas. This will include the establishment of effective pathways to address workplace racism concerns raised by faculty, staff, and trainees at HCI in a safe and confidential environment.

We will make our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion a key pillar of our HCI 2025 Strategic Plan, which will be finalized this year. This will enable us to maintain focus and continue evaluating progress toward our EDI goals to deliver sustainable results.  

We will make a daily, visible, public statement of HCI’s commitment to actively counter racism and to advance a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion. HCI will display this commitment throughout information screens in our cancer hospital, administrative areas, public lobbies and restaurants, and research buildings. A summary of our commitments will also be available on our website, with updates on our progress. 

These new initiatives complement HCI’s existing efforts to support equity, diversity, and inclusion in the cancer community:

Collectively, these new actions and existing initiatives represent a starting point in our quest to achieve transformational change toward a diverse, equitable, and inclusive HCI community, broader University, state, and society. We must rise to this challenge together, with vigor and sustained commitment. 

Sincerely yours on behalf of the HCI Leadership,

Mary C. Beckerle, PhD
CEO, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Endowed Chair 

Neli Ulrich, MS, PhD
Executive Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute
Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor in Cancer Research 

John H. Ward, MD
Interim Senior Director for Clinical Affairs and Physician-in-Chief, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Margaret A. Amundsen Endowed Professor of Medicine

Media Contact

Ashlee Bright
Public Relations – Huntsman Cancer Institute
public.affairs@hci.utah.edu
801-585-1954

health equity

About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah. The cancer campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital as well as two buildings dedicated to cancer research. HCI treats patients with all forms of cancer and is recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. As the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West, HCI serves the largest geographic region in the country, drawing patients from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at HCI than at any other cancer center in the world, including genes responsible for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon, head, and neck cancers, along with melanoma. HCI manages the Utah Population Database, the largest genetic database in the world, with information on more than 11 million people linked to genealogies, health records, and vital statistics. HCI was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

Cancer touches all of us.

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