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 faculty and demonstrate HCI’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
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:
- HCI Compassionate Workplace, a program that fosters resiliency and supports the personal growth and development of all employees.
- HCI Geographical Management of Cancer Health Disparities (GMAP) program, which provides training and support for cancer health disparities researchers in our region.
- HCI PathMaker Programs, which promote laboratory-based opportunities and training for underrepresented students in cancer research.
- HCI Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity (HOPE), which advances cancer health disparities research with a focus on prevention in underrepresented populations.
- HCI Patient and Public Education, which facilitates education, access to treatment, patient navigation, prevention, and screening for underrepresented populations.
- HCI Community Advisory Board, which counsels on the needs of our communities and provides strategic input related to HCI’s mission to improve cancer outcomes for all.
- HCI Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which provides a nexus of expertise within HCI to advise leadership and promote a culture of equity and inclusion.
- HCI Cancer Screening and Education Bus, which brings expertise and screening to underrepresented populations across Utah, including rural and frontier areas.
- HCI American Indian Program, which provides culturally tailored outreach and education about cancer research, prevention, and care to all eight tribal nations in Utah.
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
Huntsman Cancer Institute
About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital and two buildings dedicated to cancer research. Huntsman Cancer Institute provides patient care, cancer screening, and education at community clinics and affiliate hospitals throughout the Mountain West. It is consistently recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The region’s first proton therapy center opened in 2021 and a major hospital expansion is underway. Huntsman Cancer Institute is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for staff, students, patients, and communities. Advancing cancer research discoveries and treatments to meet the needs of patients who live far away from a major medical center is a unique focus. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center, including genes responsible for breast, ovarian, colon, head and neck cancers, and melanoma. Huntsman Cancer Institute was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.