Thursday, June 9, 2016


By Jermaine “JD” Jordan

What is DEI?
Many times a week I travel from the Medical School to the University’s hospitals and clinics. If you’ve made this trek, the most visible aspect of this journey is the class photos of the previous years’ Medical School graduates. What’s not as evident, but just as visible, is who the graduates are. The graduates all appear to be white males. It’s not until the mid-‘70s, when you begin to see more diverse graduating classes. And, the class that is truly representative of our country and our world has yet to be mounted on the wall.

Moving the Health System and University closer to being a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive institution is a priority of U-M President, Mark Schlissel, who says:

“The University of Michigan cannot be excellent without being diverse in the broadest sense of that word. We also must ensure that our community allows all individuals an equal opportunity to thrive.”

Last September, President Schlissel launched the Strategic Planning Process for the entire University. The goals are to engage students, faculty, and staff to create unit-focused strategic plans that address the following areas.

  • Recruitment, retention and development
  • Education and scholarship
  • An equitable, inclusive environment
  • Service

What does it mean for us?
Plans across the Health System are being coordinated through the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI). Ted Hanss, associate CIO for the Health System, has put together a representative group from that will lead conversations and activities with all of you.

The members of your DEI planning team are:

Michael Collins

Fusen Li
Hong Da

Michael McKenzie
Stephanie Dascola

Brian Rafferty
James Estill

Marissa Rivas
Ryan Henyard

Amitava Shee
Jermaine “JD” Jordan

Gracie Trinidad
Molly Kleinman

Mariama Weaver

Your DEI planning team has been meeting over the last few weeks, and we’ve put together several options we hope you’ll like.

Reading Program
To increase awareness and spark discussion, we have gathered articles that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, one of the articles talks about implicit bias and how that affects day-to-day work. If we receive enough interest, we can host lunch-n-learn discussions to talk about the articles.

Affinity Wall Week
The OHEI has requested us to consider several questions, including ways diversity, equity, and inclusion can improve UMHS; and what one thing would you like UMHS to commit to in order to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. In an effort to be creative and engaging, we decided to host an affinity wall. Starting July 11, each day there will be questions, and responses will be posted on the B200 windows. Employees not located at NCRC will have an alternative way to submit their answers (we’ll let you know more soon!).

I welcome and encourage everyone to participate in as many activities as possible. OHEI will also offer events that will help us continue to move toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive department, UMHS, and University of Michigan. Go Blue!  

For more information, to make suggestions, or join our local DEI team, please contact us: msis-dei-team@umich.edu. Learn more about the strategic plan, research, how to join the conversation, and much more on the University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website.

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